The Nintendo Switch Really Needs More Music

Unlike its predecessors, the new Nintendo Switch has a boring operating system. Not only does it lack Nintendo's characteristic oddball playfulness, it's also nearly silent. There's no music. It's a shame.

The 3DS and the Wii U, Nintendo's two most recent gaming systems, both had incredible menu music. If you've been using a Switch for the past few days, you may have already started to forget just how good those devices sounded. Here's a refresher.

Wii U owners, give this a listen:

Aaaaah. It's so relaxing! You can almost hear the pitter-pat of little Mii feet as they crowd into the plaza. It's so much more musically interesting than your average "welcome to the spa" music like you get on the PS4 and the notably dull PS Vita.

The 3DS did something similar with its main menu music, and I actually wrote an entire article dedicated to the handheld's many melodies. There was separate music for the home screen, the eshop, the system settings menu, the Mii plaza, and even the health and safety information page.

And they were all good! Seriously, here's the 3DS health and safety music:

Not only is that music just generally nice to listen to, it also makes me feel healthy and safe? It's on-brand and everything.

For comparison's sake, here's what the Switch sounds like:

Yes, that is a still image of the Switch home screen. You can just look at it and not hear music, and you'll have the same experience as actually using a Switch. In fairness, the Switch does have some nice built-in sound effects, a collection of snaps and chimes that make using the console a little bit more sensorially satisfying than your average Android touchscreen device. But it's still a big step down.

It can't be easy to compose system music for a video game console. It's music that millions of people will listen to every day, but if they notice it, the composer's usually done something wrong. Nintendo has never taken this challenge lightly, and I'm surprised to see them skip it with the Switch.

Given Nintendo's history and musical pedigree, I'm still hopeful that the Switch will get an update that adds a melody or two. And I can understand why they might want to launch with a stripped down, functional operating system before they began adding things. In a year, my Switch might serenade me as I browse my friends list and look for things to buy. Give us the tunes, Nintendo.


    Please write an article about how iPhones have no background music in a few weeks and watch the comments. It'll be great.

      Apple's decision re-invented background music. It was brave, and bold. We know you'll love it.

        When they invent it next year, they'll sue Nintendo for copying them.

    Apologies if I've missed 'em, but will we eventually see Kotaku UK's original stuff about Switch/etc piped down to us, I know we usually get it, but it did seem like the US team's stuff more often than not has been newer/got here quicker.

    Not that I have an issue with that, I'm glad we're getting posts like Hamilton's about the Wii U.

    In 2017.

    Despite it being around for almost five years.

    Amidst discussions of its successor.

    Really :D

    Good lord no, menu music is the pits. Switching it off on the Vita is the first thing I do after a restore. I often change themes on 3DS based on which has the least irritating music.

    Unlike its predecessors, the new Nintendo Switch has a boring operating system. Not only does it lack Nintendo's characteristic oddball playfulness, it's also nearly silent. There's no music. It's a shame.

    Ask and you shall receive.

    [Sends Kirk Hamilton a Switch preloaded with Celine Dion music]

    It does feel weird having no music on the home screen, I kinda like the eShop loading music and the 'tweet' noise you get when you go to your profile

    notably dull PS Vita.

    You are dead to me Kirk, you monster!

    The Switch main-menu feels like it was thrown together in a week. I'm pretty confident there will be a massive update in the next month or two that brings it up to speed.

    Meanwhile... Square-Enix's amaaaaaazing "PlayOnline" platform that I think they originally wanted to be the go-to portal for all online games - it only ever had Final Fantasy XI on it - had a TONNE of background-music options. This one was the default tune, and it makes me ache with nostalgia.

    Last edited 09/03/17 11:59 pm

    no. The shit drives you mad after a while. Better to remain neutral

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now