The absolute best Nintendo songs of all time
As soon as we finish the list…
Whenever I’m approaching the second half of my work day and I need a little pick me up — I go straight to video game soundtracks. They take me to a place of joy, nostalgia and escapism that really helps get you through a Friday afternoon.
There are so many great video game songs from so many fantastic composers, but being an enormous Nintendo fan since my parents bought me my first console — a SNES bundle with Super Mario All Stars and Super Mario World — my heart will always lie with Nintendo franchises.
So I set about putting together a list of the best 50 Nintendo tracks of all time.
But I need your help.
With the help of Hamish Dinsdale, we’ve put together a list of the first 25 tracks. This is where you come in. We’re only half way through the list and need your help to fill the last 25 spots!
How to join in
I’ve posted a thread on our Facebook Group for you to post your recommendations. The 25 with the most likes get added to the list.
There are just three simple rules:
- Must be from a game on a Nintendo system.
- Can be third party but must be Nintendo exclusive. This means it cannot be a multi-platform game at time of launch — but games that have since gone multiplatform (eg Banjo Kazooie) are fair game.
- Remixes are acceptable, but preferably Nintendo made remixes (see Smash Bros)
To ensure some variety (and to stop us filling the entire list with Zelda and Mario), we’ve made sure every track in the first 25 comes from a different game, but you can suggest whatever you think this list is missing. Even if that means five more Super Mario Galaxy tracks…
And so you can enjoy this list whenever you like, we’re adding the full playlist of songs to YouTube which you can find here https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLo-PfjtizeghLxcFUxG4E3l-6gyOHuO8m&disable_polymer=true
So in no particular order — here are our picks:
The first 25 songs
Gusty Garden Galaxy — Super Mario Galaxy
If we’re starting a Nintendo playlist, we’re starting strong. Jumping straight into the orchestral masterpiece of a soundtrack that is Super Mario Galaxy. Choosing which piece was difficult but as much as I desperately wanted this to be Rosalina’s Observatory or the Bowser Battle Music, flying through the sky on floaty fluff seeds to this track was just too magical to miss.
Parade — Nintendo Land
A quickly forgotten launch game for the Wii U — Nintendo Land had some amazing homages to famous Ninty franchises. However calling down the parade train made me believe a real Nintendo theme park existed. Momentarliy.
Spicy Calamari Inkantation — Splatoon 2
Splatoon and Splatoon 2 have SO many great songs. After some debate we settled on this fantastic climactic track with the singing superstars.
Jump Up, Super Star! — Super Mario Odyseey
It would have been impossible to create a best of playlist without Pauline in there. And the level this song accompanies in New Donk City just makes the song all that more magical!
Main Theme — Arms
Ooooh oh oh oh. Oooh OOH oh oh. OH OH OH! Love it.
This game had such a fantastic, energetic tone to it’s soundtrack that just made you want to jump in the ring and get your arms out!
Super Bell Hill — Super Mario 3D World
Following the orchestral soundtrack of Super Mario Galaxy was always going to be a tough act to follow but the Big Band beats of SM3DW carve out a unique angle that is just as memorable.
Together We Ride — Fire Emblem
The Fire Emblem soundtracks are always fantastic but this remix track from Smash Bros always gets me hyped for a brawl!
Waluigi Pinball — Mario Kart DS
Love this track, so much. Love the energy, the excitement, the frantic quality of it, perfectly accompanies the feeling of racing around a giant pinball table avoiding flippers and green shells!
Moon Theme — Ducktales
Took a long time deliberating over this one, adding it back into the playlist… and then taking it out again. But humming it for a day straight made me realise it’s more than deserving of it’s place on this list.
Fi’s Farewell — The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
This emotional piano piece is just beautiful from start to finish. It has a delicate, whismsical, American Beauty quality to it that makes my arm hairs stand on end!
Moon River — Bayonetta 2
Some years passed between the cult PS3/Xbox 360 success Bayonetta and the shocking reveal of Bayonetta 2 as a Nintendo exclusive. Her sass somehow feels right at home next to the all-star cast of Nintendo characters in Smash Bros, and this iconic version of Moon River beautifully balances her sweetness and the fast paced action of Bayonetta.
Main Theme — Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door
Back when Paper Mario was a good game (sorry!) I would find myself sitting on this title sequence for a good few minutes before actually loading my save! Be right back, need to dig out my Gamecube…
Flower Garden — Yoshi’s Island
This track epitomises everything Yoshi for me. Fun, light, playful, just like Yoshi himself as you set off on an new adventure together!
Title Theme — Animal Crossing: Wild World
It was difficult to choose a song from Animal Crossing. Do I choose 2am, 4am, 6AM? What about K.K.? In the end though it had to be this iconic opening music. Relaxing doing some fishing on a warm spring day, or snuggled up by the fire in Autumn. Perfect.
Title Theme — Mario Kart 8
Mario Kart 8 was the first in the series to use live recorded music and it really elevates the soundtrack from some catchy background music to truly memorable, incredible music. The large variety of courses meant a large variety in music was needed, but they managed to pull it all together with an exciting top-tapping big brass jazz ensemble.
Story Theme — The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Maybe this is cheating, maybe it’s just because I watched this trailer so many times while waiting for the game (and the switch!) to release and waiting in line at preview events that I can’t get it out of my head, maybe I don’t really care why — all I know is this track is incredible and I need more of it please Nintendo!
Corneria — Starfox
Lylat Wars on the N64 (with a bundled Rumble Pak!) just blew my mind when I was a kid. Being able to fly around a 360 degree world in your mission to take out Star Wolf and Andross was just incredible. The first level music will always be the most iconic for me, probably because I ran that level so many times! (I guess I should be thankful!)
Pokémon Centre — Pokémon Red & Blue
(I hope you don’t mind us using a remix for this one!) What better Pokémon song to use than the one that’s never been replaced since the first Pokémon games on the Game Boy. Thanks, Nurse Joy (Dun dun, dun-dun dun!)
Athletic Theme — Super Mario World
I absolutely love the frenetic quality of this SMW track and the way the track layered if you were riding Yoshi at the time (kicks in about half way through)was mind blowing to me — and it sounded so detailed compared to the old NES mario games right?!
Main Theme — Super Smash Bros Brawl
Checking the smash bros website every, single, week, for news, tidbits, snippits of new soundtrack, character announcements, new levels. The hype for this game was unreal. To capture all of that excitement, Nintendo hired legendary composer Nobuo Uematsu to blend it together with a symphony orchestra!
Mute City — F-Zero
We’ve indulged a little here and included the Mario Kart 8 remix, but the tone of this song stands through even in this jazz version — fast, frantic and exciting from start to finish, just like the game.
Gaur Plain — Xenoblade Chronicles
This song is the perfect, string accompaniment for traversing the lush terrain of this enormous open world with Shulk, friends and their hilariously bad British accents.
Stickerbush Symphony — Donkey Kong Country 2
It would be criminal to have a list of top Nintendo songs without including the best of composer, David Wise. A song that captures the atmospheric feeling of that hard-as-nails level so well.
Song of Storms — The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Did anyone else use to visit the windmill in Kakariko Village and just listen to this piece. Going around, and around, and around…
Main Theme — Metroid
And last but certainly not least, our favourite girl Samus. The Metroid soundtracks always have this amazing flexibility, switching from fast paced action to ethereal exploration, and this classic and iconic main theme remix does both.
That’s it! That’s our top 25! It was so, so difficult to keep it to 25 songs.
But that does mean that Pikmin didn’t make the list.
Or anything from Super Mario Galaxy 2
Or Metroid Prime.
Or Super Mario Sunshine.
Or Wind Waker…
Not trying to sway the vote.
Over to you gaymers! Can’t wait to see the final 25 songs!