This Incredible Link's Awakening Song Is Actually From Its Commercial

Image: Nintendo / Kotaku

Welcome to Morning Music, Kotaku’s frequent hangout for folks who love video games and the cool-ass sounds they make. Today’s column is all about a reinvigorating classic that didn’t actually make it into the game it was used to promote.

Link’s Awakening (playlist / longplay / VGMdb) is one of the greatest games in the Legend of Zelda franchise when it comes to music, and “Ballad of the Wind Fish” is its crowning jewel. It’s an instrumental part (no pun intended) of the handheld game, both in key gameplay moments and for purposes of storytelling, so when it came time to promote the Switch remake (playlist / longplay / VGMdb), Nintendo wisely chose to tempt fans with a reimagined version of the track featuring actual vocals.

Nintendo / GameXplain (YouTube)

I was already a huge Link’s Awakening fan, but this sealed the deal. The breathy vocals of Japanese folk musician Ichiko Aoba, the haunting etherealness of the piano melody…this song was made for me. I would listen to the brief snippet from the commercials on repeat. Luckily, the full track was eventually uploaded to the remake’s listing on the official Nintendo website, giving music channels the opportunity to reupload it for easy consumption.

Nintendo / Dystify Music (YouTube)

Nintendo also recorded “Ballad of the Wind Fish” with English and Korean vocals, and while both have the same wonderful qualities as the Japanese version, they don’t quite match up. Still, they’ve provided a nice change of pace during my long, looping sessions with the song.

Here’s the English-language version:

Nintendo / Dystify Music (YouTube)

And here’s with Korean vocals:

Nintendo / Dystify Music (YouTube)

While they may seem like shoe-ins for the credit sequence, these tracks never appeared in Link’s Awakening on the Switch. And strangely enough, the Japanese track has mysteriously disappeared from all Nintendo channels. The original TV spot can no longer be found on the company’s YouTube or Twitter feeds, and the full song has been removed from the official website.

Perhaps there was some sort of dispute between Nintendo and Ichiko Aoba. Maybe the rights were only for a limited period of time. Or maybe Nintendo is just being Nintendo about the whole thing. In any case, the odd disappearance only makes the song’s ghostly qualities all the more compelling.

That’s it for today’s Morning Music! Do you have any favorite video game tracks that never actually made it into a game? Or anything else on your mind this Monday morning? Let us know in the comments, and see you soon!

Staff Writer, Kotaku


Julia Q.

OT: I gave myself an early gift for the holiday. TW: Suicidal mentality

Specifically I quit lyft on late saturday night. My week, short as though it may be due to a snowstorm was very thin in terms of just how much business was available, was extra dangerous having to drive around on unplowed, mushy and frozen roads on brakes that, when need to be relied on, stutter and lock up (this is a 2019 hyundai). Saturday was worse. It started with a trip to hospital, with suicidal woman who was refused admittance because they didn’t have mental care. She asked to be taken to a random location where she’d call an ambulance to another hospital. I did not have the time but I went offline and had her stay in the car while she made the call. Suddenly there was an officer knocking at my window, asking me what was going on. I hadn’t realized just how bad my own mental health got, between living alone for three months and spending days not talking aloud, waking up from dreams of having a normal, functional life with people in it to waking up to dark silence. To having to work nonstop for a company where there was no human communication between worker and corporate, where I had to put my own life on the line, for a car I don’t own, and a few measly dollars on top. All these feelings came rushing to the surface as I’m looking at this officer, who’d just been called by the woman who actually was in danger. Or, at least the woman in immediate danger. She was directed to another hospital that was at best, 25 minutes away. I told the EMT’s and the officer that I’d take her. (Ambulances are expensive and they weren’t looking to do it anyway). I listened to her and drove her to the hospital. I didn’t charge her anything. I went about my business, which had only netted me 51 dollars in the four hours I’d been out. I had the option to work another eight hours but it was already past 9:00pm, and I would’ve had to work an entire Sunday. I was already physically and mentally exhausted. I called my mom, just for some... semblance of validation, I was met with competition and the demand that I stick it out because I wasn’t the only one who needed me to keep the car despite her not living with me anymore. My mental state took another hit, and I found myself sobbing on the shoulder of a road not far from the city, in the dark. I called my friend. We agreed that, at best I should take a couple of hours to, at the very least regain composure. I took the rest of the night off, knowing what that meant and after talking with my girlfriend, I came to the conclusion I had to quit, despite the loss of the car. my mental health improved drastically yesterday but still needs work, but for the first time in six months I feel like I can breathe a little bit easier now.