This year sees the 30th anniversary of a game, so inspirational it's become pretty much as indispensable a component of pop culture as.. say... air in our lungs.
The Legend of Zelda has inspired so many people over the three decades the franchise has been with us, so what better way would there be to celebrate a groundbreaking achievement than having a look at 10 things that make this one of the most special games and franchises to ever release.
Many happy returns, Hyrule!
1. The Triforce Is Based On The Mitsuuroko Symbol
As ubiquitous as the Master Sword, confusing Link with Zelda and the color green is with the iconic franchise, the Triforce is one of the most iconic symbols in pop culture. But did you know the the three triangles is the symbol of the Hōjō clan, who were a majorly powerful family from 13th Century Japan. Mitsuuroko translates to "three dragon scales."
2. Ocarina of Time Was Almost Entirely First Person
Super early into OoT's development, the legendary Shigeru Miyamoto had his heart set on having the game play out in first person. But after the dynamic between young and teen Link was added he thought against the original plan, because he thought it better that we, the gamers, should see Link's transition.
3. The Legend of Zelda Had Its Own Handheld Console
Back in 1989 when Nintendo's Game & Watch pocket consoles were all the rage, a Zelda one, based on the NES' classic The Legend of Zelda, was released. This carries particular resonance, because it was the last handheld console Nintendo would release up until the game changing GameBoy.
4. Link's Awakening Was... Censored?
Ever stringent with censorship, like the SNES' Mortal Kombat having no blood in it, but your neighbor's Genesis version did and that sucked, Nintendo decided to censor Link's Awakening, which is madness. Cast your mind back to when you first meet Schule Donavitch, the red alligator with a penchant for painting hippos.
Well in the American version, the hippo model was covered up with a towel, whereas in the Japanese release, everything was clearly on display! But it's not that exciting to be honest, it's a hippo.
5. The Number Of Zeldas Is Too Damn High
We all know the influence of the authors Fitzgerald spans far and wide across the globe, but did you know that the franchise's titular Princess was named after Zelda Fitzgerald? Well, you do now!
6. There Would Be No Legend If Not For Miyamoto's Parents
Zelda creator Shigeru Miyamoto hails from Sonobe, Japan -- a small town just outside of Kyoto, and was raised by parents who didn't have much in the way of money.
For entertainment, Miyamoto-san would explore the woodland near his home, wandering through caves and the like. And through these adventures came the ideas of Hyrule, Hyrule Field and the franchise's epic dungeons.
7. Super Mario Bros. And Zelda Share A Lot In Common
Made at the same time with Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka presiding over development, a lot of ideas for Zelda actually came from Mario, and vice versa. Because Miyamoto-san was head honcho on both games, goons such as the piranha plant made appearances across the board.
8. A Miyamoto Scorned
Rendered grumpy by test gamers' complaints about The Legend of Zelda being too confusing and difficult, Miyamoto-san actually managed to conceive one of the most famous moments in video game history, and a now insanely tired meme/in-joke.
In the early version of the game you actually started with a sword, because it's dangerous to go alone, but Miyamoto-san decided to force gamers to use their brains and earn the weapon after tackling the tricky first dungeon. Thus, the infamous scene with the creepy geezer chilling in the cave in-between two fireballs was born!
9. The Franchise's Title Was Way Less Misleading In Japan
You may think playing a game called Zelda that isn't actually about a person called Zelda would be kinda confusing, well you're right! The franchise had a much easier title to get to grips with in Japan, which was 'The Hyrule Fantasy: Legend of Zelda'. But 'The Legend of Zelda' was deemed to sound more mysterious for western audiences, and the rest is history.
10. Zelda Was Originally A Dungeon Making Tool
in a similar vein to the standout hit that is Super Mario Maker, Zelda was to be a dungeon building sim. Before the NES was conceived, Nintendo's big hit in Japan was the Famicom Disk System that ran on rewritable floppy disks. Nintendo wanted us to create our own dugeons and share them between friends.
But in the end Nintendo deemed themselves better dungeon makers than you and I and canned the idea. How rude!