How on earth are you supposed to pick just one standout music track from Nintendo’s history? Surely an impossible ask, right?
Well, you fine folks certainly stepped up to the challenge. We recently asked you to tell us your favourite music from a first-party Nintendo title, and boy, did we get responses! We got nearly 300 comments at the time of writing; we can’t highlight every single suggestion of them here, so we’ve whittled it down to 35 community picks, along with an additional five from NL staff.
You can check out every contender in the list below — with staff picks topping and tailing each page — before heading to our poll at the very end to make your final choice. There’s a lot on the line here: Will ‘Aquatic Ambience’ come out on top, or will ‘Kraid’s Lair’ surprise everyone and beat out the competition? Only you have the power to turn the tide of battle in what is surely the most definitive contest in the history of this here internet. Definitely!
So strap on a pair of comfy headphones, and let’s get started!
Best Nintendo Track Nominations – The (Long) Shortlist
Dragon Roost Island (The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker) – Ollie Reynolds, Staff Writer
So I had my choices narrowed down to three options: Windmill Hills from Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Phendrana Drifts from Metroid Prime, and Dragon Roost Island from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. All three tracks caused me to pause and sit in quiet contemplation while I was playing each respective title, and it was honestly agonising trying to pick a favourite out of the three, but ultimately it simply had to be Dragon Roost Island.
Dragon Roost Island is a spectacular location in The Wind Waker. Home to the Rito race and the great Valoo, it contains the game’s first proper dungeon (I never counted the Forsaken Fortress as a dungeon, personally) and serves as the first true test of skill for our hero, Link. Such a pivotal location needs a striking musical score to accompany it, and composer Kenta Nagata really knocked it out of the park with this one.
It’s become a firm favourite amongst fans in the years since The Wind Waker’s release and Nintendo has certainly noticed, going so far as to utilise the theme’s core melody for Breath of the Wild‘s Rito Village score. This one will stick in my memory for the rest of my life, and it’s going to take something truly special to dethrone it.
Paula’s Theme (Earthbound) – -wc-
The only pick from Earthbound, Paula’s Theme perfectly encapsulates the weird vibe of the game with its ethereal synth tones.
Space Junk Road (Super Mario Galaxy) – Starpoint
Of all the music from Super Mario Galaxy, Space Junk Road is perhaps the one that represents the true endless beauty of outer space.
Gourmet Race 64 (Super Smash Bros.) – Manxman64
Imagine listening to this one while on a run; surely its fast tempo and bonkers beat is enough to give your performance a hefty boost!
Music A (Tetris) – ThePizzaCheese
Arguably the most iconic music track of all time, but is it the best? Hmm.
Character Select (Super Mario Bros. 2) – Erigen
If you need something to just put a huge grin on your face for the day, then we reckon it’s this gem right here!
Good Egg Galaxy (Super Mario Galaxy) – Ganner
Ooof, this sweeping orchestral track was certainly proof that Galaxy is a wholly different beast to its predecessor, Super Mario Sunshine.
Id Purpose (Fire Emblem: Awakening) – BranJ0
Very ‘Fire Emblem’ in its composition, Id (Purpose) brings the emotion with its beautiful and epic melody.
2am (Animal Crossing) – Aozz101x
You could conceivably pull any hourly music from Animal Crossing and it would be a standout track, but 2am certainly brings those chilled-out, funky vibes.
Title Theme (Wii Sports) – Jim Norman, Staff Writer
This was not a decision to be taken lightly and I agonised between two tracks: 1) A Zelda tune that I genuinely believe to be one of the best pieces of music of all time, and 2) the Wii Sports title theme. You know where I am going with this.
There is no single track, no motif, no theme that is nearly as tied to my gaming past as the Wii Sports title music. This isn’t a tune to create atmosphere, build a location or represent a particular idea, oh no, it’s what plays in the background while you argue with your brother about whether to hit up bowling or baseball in the next game – and isn’t that what gaming is all about?
The jazzy drums! The piano riff! That final clarinet statement of the central phrase! Kazumi Totaka had no right to go this hard on the silly sports game, but oh boy am I glad that he did. Play on title music, you’re the best.