Why You Should Pre-Order Link's Awakening Digitally

The brand new remake of Zelda: Link's Awakening will come out on September 20, giving both new Zelda fans an easy way to play Link's classic Gameboy adventure, and old fans the opportunity to replay the game in an updated and modern package. For those planning on pre-ordering the game, Nintendo has followed suit with some of their past major first party releases and included enough incentives to make a digital purchase a no brainer for most players over buying the physical version in advance of its release.

Namely, there are two advantages to a digital pre-order: Gold Points and an earlier release time. Up until Link's Awakening is actually made available on the eShop, all pre-orders will quality for double Gold Points in some regions. While the USA eShop appears to not offer the deal, the regular amount of Gold Points are even then still consequential. As a $60 game, each purchase will reward $3 worth of Gold Points, which can essentially be considered a $3 discount assuming those points are eventually used on another game. In states that don't charge sales tax on digital purchases, this amounts to a significant savings of sales tax + $3, or $6 (or more, depending on sales tax laws) savings in countries offering double points, over buying a physical copy.


While lately many first party Switch games have been discounted by $10, even at release, at Walmart stores, the Link's Awakening remake is not among those. Even if it were, you would be forced to shop at Walmart to get the deal.

Additionally, pre-purchasing the game digitally will most likely provide access to the game around 12 a.m. EST. This is never a guarantee with digital Switch releases, however this is almost always the case with large, first party titles. In my own experience, Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the Necrodancer didn't unlock until 11 a.m. on release day, while Astral Chain and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate were both available at midnight, and the latter two (despite the first being a Zelda game) are more akin to Link's Awakening in price and significance.

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On the other hand, there are still a couple reasons to go physical—first and foremost, file size. While Link's Awakening isn't huge for a first party Switch game at 5.8GB, it still takes up a significant amount of the Switch's HD. An additional SD card is still a must for digital-only Switch owners. Plus, anyone for whom a tangible copy of the game holds value may find that the advantages of a digital purchase are only nominal and not equal to just how sweet it is to hold a game cartridge in your hands.

Nintendo likely prioritizes digital purchases since they essentially make more money per purchase without having to produce a physical object. If physical games are and always have been your jam, disregard all of this and follow your heart. However, if you're looking for simply the better option and have no preconceived allegiances, a digital preorder is the clear way to go.

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