The Legend of Zelda series

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The Legend of Zelda series (often shortened to just "Zelda") is a series of video games, created for Nintendo by industry legend Shigeru Miyamoto, and first published in February 1986. In Japan it is known as ゼルダの伝説 (Zeruda no Densetsu), and shortened to ゼル伝 (Zeru-Den). The games are primarily set in a fantasy world, in the Kingdom of Hyrule, although some have been set in different countries or other equally fantastic worlds. The gameplay consists of a mixture of action, adventure, and role-playing, occasionally with minor platform elements. The series is known for its beautiful and inspiring settings, creative gameplay, stirring original music, and high overall production values. It is widely considered one of the most influential video game franchises ever created. This also claimed the #1 spot on G4's "100 Greatest Games Of All Times".

Overview

The Legend of Zelda games feature, as their central character and protagonist, a young man named Link. Link is frequently called upon to rescue Princess Zelda, for whom the series is named. The main antagonist in the series is a powerful Gerudo known as Ganondorf, or Ganon for short. In story terms, the earlier games did not deviate much from the standard "save the princess" theme, but later installments have diversified their plot somewhat and added twists and turns to the tale. One Zelda game, The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, did not feature Zelda at all (although she was briefly mentioned).

Another important element in the series is a divine relic known as the Triforce, left behind by the three goddesses that created Hyrule. It consists of three golden equilateral triangles, one for each goddess: the Triforce of Power (Din), the Triforce of Wisdom (Nayru), and the Triforce of Courage (Farore). Each piece will bestow its divine essence on the one who possesses it; typically Ganon has the Triforce of Power, Zelda has the Triforce of Wisdom, and Link has or must obtain the Triforce of Courage. If the three pieces of the Triforce are united, it will grant the deepest wishes ofthat person so long as they live.

The fantasy world of Hyrule includes many different climates and types of terrain, and is home to many different races and tribes of monsters and sentient beings. There are significant geographical differences from game to game, but several distinctive features recur from the first, such as the Lost Woods and Death Mountain, including Spectacle Rock, near the summit. Lake Hylia is another common landmark, although it was not formally introduced until the third game.

The Zelda games feature a mixture of complex puzzles, strategic action gameplay, and exploration. This formula has remained fairly constant throughout the series, with further refinements and additions featured in each new game, making the Zelda franchise one of Nintendo's most successful game series, along with the likes of Mario, Metroid, and Pokémon.

The Legend of Zelda was principally inspired by Miyamoto's explorations as a young boy in the hillsides surrounding his childhood home in Kyoto[1], where he ventured into forests with secluded lakes, caves, and rural villages. According to Miyamoto, one of his most memorable experiences was the discovery of a cave entrance in the middle of the woods. After some hesitation, he apprehensively entered the cave, and explored its depths with the aid of a lantern. This memory has clearly influenced Miyamoto's work, and cave exploration is a major element of most Zelda games. Other than Miyamoto's childhood, Norse, Japanese mythology, and Medieval European culture have been major influences. Miyamoto has referred to creating the Zelda games in an attempt to bring to life a "miniature garden" for players to play with in every version of the game.

Hearing of F. Scott Fitzgerald's wife Zelda, Mr. Miyamoto thought the name sounded pleasant and significant. Paying tribute, he chose to name the Princess after her, and titled his creation The Legend of Zelda, even though she is not the main protagonist. The series is named The Legend of Zelda because the original game revolved around the backstory of Zelda being captured by Ganon and having to separate the Triforce of Wisdom, and then sending her nursemaid Impa to find a hero to save Hyrule. Upon finding a valiant lad named Link, she told him "The Legend of Zelda".

Side Quests

In addition to the primary quest of saving the land from destruction or domination by an evil force, there are also lesser quests that can be embarked on at the discretion of the player. These side quests usually reward the player with items to make the primary quest easier to complete, such as Pieces of Heart, new weapons, and so on. This gameplay device is not unique to Zelda, but is fairly consistent in the series.

The longest of these side quests, present in several games, is the trading sequence. In a trading sequence, Link first obtains an item from either a store or an in-game friend. He then takes that item to a character in the game who needs the item, and trades it for another item. These trading sequences have been known to consist of as many as fifteen separate items. At the end of the sequence, the player usually gets a new weapon, though they have resulted in a piece of heart in the past. Other side quests include races, a search for hidden item or characters, or extra puzzles.

Majora's Mask in particular relied heavily on side quests, ranging from short quests for a Piece of Heart to a taxingly long and difficult side quest to collect all the masks in the game and complete four challenging mini-dungeons in exchange for the powerful Fierce Deity Mask.

Games

The following is a list of the main installments of the series, with the original year of release and the platforms they appeared on. Note that the two Oracle games were released simultaneously, however "Ages" is considered to be Zelda VII and "Seasons" VIII because of alphabetical order.

Number Game Title Year Released System
1 The Legend of Zelda 1986 - Japan
1987 - America, Europe
Famicom/NES
2 The Adventure of Link 1987 - Japan
1988 - America
Famicom Disk System/NES
3 A Link to the Past 1991 - Japan
1992 - America
Super Famicom/SNES
4 Link's Awakening 1993 - Japan
1994 - North America
Game Boy
5 Ocarina of Time 1998 Nintendo 64
6 Majora's Mask 2000 Nintendo 64
7 Oracle of Ages 2001 Game Boy Color
8 Oracle of Seasons 2001 Game Boy Color
9 Four Swords  ? Game Boy Advance
10 The Wind Waker 2002 - Japan
2003 - America, Europe
GameCube
11 Four Swords Adventures  ? GameCube
12 The Minish Cap 2004 - Japan
2005 - North America
Game Boy Advance
13 Twilight Princess 2006 GameCube

Other Games/Remakes include (not part of the main series):

BS Zeruda no Densetsu (1995 - Super Famicom, Satellaview)

BS Zelda: Kodai no Sekiban (1997 - Super Famicom, Satellaview)

The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX (1998 - Game Boy Color)

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Master Quest, a.k.a. Ura Zelda (2002 Japan, 2003 America - GameCube)

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past with Four Swords (2002) Game Boy Advance

The Legend of Zelda: Collector's Edition (2003 - GameCube, by Nintendo of America, never to be sold separately. Features emulated versions (with slight changes) of The Legend of Zelda, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, along with a 20-minute playable demo of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.)

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures (2004) GameCube

Upcoming games

File:Zelda-tp1.jpg
Twilight Princess screenshot

A new game, entitled The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, is confirmed and will be released on the GameCube platform. This has been the #1 most wanted game on gamestats.com since the first trailer was shown at in 2004, and it's easily one of the most anticipated games of the decade. Producer Eiji Aonuma reportedly said that the American market heavily influenced Twilight Princess's development.

Nintendo of America's Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Affairs, Perrin Kaplan, originally said Twilight Princess would be available worldwide by the holiday season of 2005, though she did not say it would be a simultaneous world-wide release. However, Nintendo announced in mid-August that the game will be delayed to an unspecified date after March 31st, 2006, because the developers wanted to add more levels and extra depth. This has evoked mixed reactions from the public; some fans were extremely upset with this decision, while others felt Nintendo should be given the time to make the necessary improvements and release the best game possible[2].

During one discussion of Twilight Princess, it was revealed that there is a game in the works for the Nintendo Revolution, currently known only by the tentative title The Legend of Zelda– as LoZ:TP was before its official name was revealed (from an IGN news report). Miyamoto-shi prompted widespread speculation that the series will receive a major overhaul for the Revolution title by saying in a Japanese radio interview that "Twilight Princess will be, without a doubt, the last Zelda game as you know it in its present form."[3]. At this point, the nature of the overhaul is unknown, but it could possibly include major alterations to the gameplay, graphical style, and/or storyline. When the Revolution controller was unveiled at the Tokyo Game Show in 2005, many hypotheses emerged regarding how the new contoller could be used. In demonstrations it acted as a virtual fishing rod and a light gun, but most suggestive was the notion from the trailer that the motion-sensitive controller could be wielded like a sword.

In addition, a Zelda game for the Nintendo DS has been announced. Although previous interviews confirmed a Four Swords-style game, this has since been retracted, and the title is now assumed to focus on a single-player adventure, or perhaps something in an entirely new direction for the Zelda series. Apparently Eiji Aonuma himself is working on it with a Nintendo development team, rather than Capcom/Flagship, who created the recent handheld installments. This suggests the title is less likely to be a Four Swords adventure. Interestingly enough, Aonuma recently announced the game would be controlled only with the touch screen. How this control scheme will work is unknown. The game will feature online play, as confirmed in a recent interview in Hobby Consolas in May 2005 with Aonuma. In addition to this Nintendo DS game, Nintendo has revealed another DS game that will be an RPG with Tingle as the Main Character.

CD-i games

In the early 90s, three Legend of Zelda games were produced for Philips's CD-i multimedia system under a special license agreement. These were made with no involvement of Nintendo, and deviated significantly from the other games in style and gameplay. To understand these games, one must understand their origin. In 1989, Nintendo signed a deal with Sony to begin development of a CD-ROM add-on for the Super Famicom called "The SNES PlayStation". However, Nintendo suddenly broke the contract and signed with Philips in the early 1990s.This later lead to the development of the Sony PlayStation made by Sony themselves. The CD-ROM add-on was later dropped, but Nintendo had licensed the rights to Philips to use some of its characters, including Link, Zelda, and Ganon. This was done in hopes of gaining Philips as a partner on the way to making a compact disc-based console. Philips used the characters to create three CD-i games. Like the system they were created for, these were never very popular and today are obscure, none of the stories considered canon. Zelda's Adventure was never officially released outside of Europe, hence its rarity and extremely high value. Also note that Philips did not actually make these games, independent development studios handled these titles. For all these reasons, the CD-i titles are considered by many fans to be the worst "Zelda" games. They are:

  1. Link: The Faces of Evil (1993) - Animation Magic ' CD-i
  2. Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon (1993) - Animation Magic ' CD-i
  3. Zelda's Adventure (1995) - Viridis ' CD-i

LCD games

Main article: Zelda LCD Games

There were also two LCD-based games, the confusingly-named "Zelda Game & Watch" and Nelsonic's "Zelda Game Watch". Compared to other games in the series, they were relatively simple, consisting of only a few screens of monochrome action.

History

The first game, The Legend of Zelda appears relatively crude and simple by today's standards, but it was a very advanced game for its time. Innovations included the ability to use dozens of different items, a vast world full of secrets to explore, and the cartridge's ability to save progress via "battery backup". The game also featured a "Second Quest" in which, upon completing the game, players could replay the game using a similar overworld layout but with new dungeon layouts, and shop, item, and dungeon locations changed. This second quest could also be accessed immediately by entering "ZELDA" as the character name when starting a new save file. LoZ's formulaic story put the player in the shoes of a boy traveling through the land of Hyrule, who sets out to rescue the Princess Zelda after learning of her fate from her trusted nursemaid (the nursemaid, Impa, never actually appeared in the game). To do this, he must confront Ganon on Death Mountain after collecting the 8 hidden fragments of the shattered Triforce of Wisdom. Besides the game's technical innovations, the gameplay (which consisted of finding items and using them to solve puzzles, battle monsters in real-time, and interact with the environment) was a successful formula, and was widely copied. The game was wildly popular in Japan and America, and many consider it one of the most important videogames ever made. A modified version known as BS Zelda was released for the Super Famicom's satellite-based expansion, Satellaview, in the mid 1990s in Japan. The NES game StarTropics draws much of its gameplay from the first Legend of Zelda.

The second game, known as Zelda II (in defiance of the naming convention for the other games, although in Japan it is called The Legend of Zelda 2), was a departure from the concept of the first game. It exchanged the top-down view for a side-scrolling one and introduced RPG elements (e.g., experience points) not found in other installments of the series. It was also the only Zelda until Four Swords Adventures not to include rupees. Many consider it the "black sheep" of the series. Both this and its predecessor were noted for their gold-colored game cartridges, which stood out in the system's general array of dull gray cartridges.

Four years later, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (initially known as Super Zelda), returned to the top-down view and added the concept of an alternate dimension to explore, a land known as the Dark World. It was released for the Super Nintendo in April of 1992 and re-released for the Game Boy Advance on Dec. 9 2002 in North America, with the addition of Four Swords, the first multiplayer Zelda.

The next game, Link's Awakening, was the first Zelda for Nintendo's Game Boy handheld, and coincidentally the first not to take place in Hyrule. It was re-released for the Game Boy Color in 1998 as Link's Awakening DX with some additional features.

After another hiatus, the series made the transition to 3D with the fifth (official and international) installment, Ocarina of Time. Ocarina of Time, initially known as Zelda 64, retained the core gameplay of the previous games and was very successful both commercially and critically. It is considered by some to be the best game ever made. The title was originally slated for the ill-fated, Japanese-only 64 Disk Drive, but it was ported to cartridge with the advancements in memory compression technology. Innovations included the use of lock-on targeting, a new gameplay mechanic that focused the camera on a nearby target and altered the player's actions to be relative to that target. Such mechanics allowed precision-based swordfighting in a 3D space, such as had never been seen before. Ocarina of Time saw a limited re-release on the GameCube in 2002 when it was offered as a pre-order incentive for The Wind Waker. The disc also featured parts of a previously unreleased 64DD expansion known as Ura Zelda, specifically, remixed versions of the game's dungeons. This iteration is known in English as OoT:Master Quest.

The follow-up title, Majora's Mask, used the same 3D game engine as the previous Nintendo 64 game (dropping the Fixed 3D elements), but added a novel time-based concept, which led to somewhat mixed reactions from series fans. It was originally called "Zelda Gaiden", Japanese loosely translating to "Zelda, Another Story". Gameplay changed significantly; in addition to the partial time limit, Link could transform into alternate versions of himself with the aid of special masks, and use the unique skills of whichever species he was inhabiting. While Majora's Mask retained the graphical style of the landmark Ocarina of Time, it was also a departure, particularly in atmosphere—the game was much darker, dealing with death and tragedy in a manner not previously seen in the series, and had a sense of impending doom due to the moon poised to fall on the land of Termina.

The next two games, Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons, were released simultaneously for the Game Boy Color, and, through various means, could be combined to form a single story. They were not developed solely by Nintendo, but rather in conjunction with Flagship under Capcom, with supervision from Mr. Miyamoto. The games were originally to be a trilogy known as the "Triforce Trilogy", consisting of updated remakes of The Legend of Zelda and The Adventure of Link, plus an original third installment. After consulting with Shigeru Miyamoto, the studio decided to make an original trilogy. However, the password system linking the games for a unique experience became too troublesome, and the concept was reduced to just two titles. Fans initially criticized the Oracle series for "selling out" by copying the Pokémon ideology of two similar games coming out at one time to increase profits. Such claims faded when the games were released, as they are radically different. Ages is often seen as a puzzle-based adventure, while Seasons is clearly action-oriented.

The next Zelda, for the GameCube, was initially believed to be a development of the more realistically styled N64 games. But Nintendo surprised many fans with the revelation that the new game, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, would be fully cel-shaded - a more cartoon-like style of color design first seen in games such as Sega's Jet Set Radio. Initial fears that this would affect the quality of gameplay fans had grown accustomed to were eased when the game was released to critical acclaim in Japan in 2002, and elsewhere in 2003. It featured gameplay centered on control of the wind and sailing a small boat around a massive ocean-based world, and puzzles requiring the use of enemy weapons or sidekick-like secondary characters. The game also featured a Second Quest which clarified some story elements.

Next in the series came Four Swords Adventures for the Nintendo GameCube. Based on the handheld Four Swords, FSA was another deviation from previous Zelda gameplay, focusing on multiplayer gameplay and "level-based" action (like the later Super Mario Bros. titles—the game contains 24 individual stages and a map screen, there is no huge connecting overworld). For the multiplayer features of the game, each player was required to use a Game Boy Advance system linked to the Nintendo GameCube via a GBA-GCN cable. Although it focused on multiplayer, a single player feature was included; for this mode a Game Boy Advance system was optional. FSA was really two games in one: Hyrulean Adventure, which had a plot and storyline and the closest thing to traditional Zelda action; and Shadow Battle, a free-for-all melee "battle mode" which pitted Link against Link as the players stuggled for dominance over uniquely Hyrulean arenas. The Japanese version included a third segment, known as Navi Trackers (originally designed as the stand-alone game Tetra's Trackers), which was not included in any other incarnation of the title. Trackers contains an important first for Zelda: the game has spoken dialogue for most of the characters.

On January 10 2005 Nintendo released a new game for the Game Boy Advance, The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap in America. The central concept of The Minish Cap is Link's ability to shrink in size (and thus literally combat evil on all scales) with the aid of a mystical living cap named Ezlo. While tiny, Link could see previously-explored parts of a dungeon from a new perspective, and enter new areas through otherwise impassable openings. Because Link could make the switch from big to small at special portals available in most areas, the gameplay was further enhanced, once again giving Link two "worlds" to play in.

Sometime after March 31, 2006, the last GCN installment of the series, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, will arrive. The new game once again strives for a realistic look, improved far beyond even the Spaceworld 2000 technology demo. This game chronicles the struggle of a more mature Link to rid Hyrule of the "Twilight Realm", a mysterious force plaguing the land. When Link enters this realm, he transforms into a wolf and the gameplay shifts radically. Twilight Princess also relies heavily on horseback transportation and mounted battle scenarios, such as a boss battle with the "Marauder".

The revolutionary Nintendo portable console, Nintendo DS, is expected to be home to a new take on the Zelda series. No information other than the project's existence has been released. At first it was said to be a new "Four Swords" game, but later statements suggest otherwise.

Eiji Aonuma and Reggie Fils-Aime have also confirmed that a Zelda title is in the works for Revolution, a system due out in Spring 2006.

Chronology

The precise chronology of the Zelda universe is hotly debated among fans. As time progressed and more games were released, the exact order of the games in an overall timeline became complex and heavily disputed. There are bits and pieces of definitive information to connect certain games to each other, but there is no definitive explanation for how every game relates to each other in a standardized timelines of events.

The creators of the series have repeatedly dropped clues as to the order of the series, but over time such revelations have become overridden by newer materials and games, or the creators themselves will change their minds. The most recent example deals with Twilight Princess; in March 2005 Eiji Aonuma said it took place after The Wind Waker. Two months later, he said it was before The Wind Waker. This leads many to believe the creators treat the overall timeline of the series as secondary to all other aspects of the games.

Much of the ambiguity of the chronology of the Zelda series is due to the fact that the games take place over a span of centuries or even millenia, featuring many different incarnations of Link, Princess Zelda, and other characters. Some of the other confusion arises as a result of mistranslation and localization problems because Nintendo of America's localization process during the NES and SNES era was to have a Japanese speaking employee directly translate the text, and then an NOA employee with almost no requisite of fully understanding Japanese then took the literal English and re-wrote it to suit American culture. The man most largely responsible for this is Daniel Owsen.

The general rule of thumb is that the games are the final authority. The information in the instruction booklets is also canon, unless contradicted by the games or mistranslated. Manuals are marketing and technical material, and thus are not always subject to the scrutiny of the creators of the game. Information from other official sources, such as Nintendo Power magazine and its Official Strategy Guides, may also be acceptable, though this is not acknowleged by all fans. Information from Zelda.com (and its Zelda Encyclopedia) is generally taken with a grain of salt, as the original web designer of the site's current layout was not knowledgeable regarding Zelda, and Miyamoto reportedly forced him to take down a timeline that had been uploaded there.

Here is a list of the Nintendo-published games in order of release, with the known information regarding their place in the timeline: Template:Spoiler

  • The Legend of Zelda was the first released game in the series. Miyamoto says the game starts with a young boy in the middle of a field.
  • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link takes place several seasons after the original game, as indicated in the manual. It stars the Link of the previous game, nearing his 16th birthday.
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past allegedy takes place generations before the original game, as heavily emphasized in the US promotional materials, and advertised on the packaging of the Japanese edition.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, when originally released, seemed to occur very shortly after A Link to the Past, starring the same Link. The game's instruction manual states that Link left Hyrule on a journey of enlightenment after defeating Ganon. The Japanese official website states the game is a direct sequel to Triforce of the Gods (ALttP).
  • BS Zelda is a remake of the original game that features the BS-X's boy and girl mascots instead of Link; however because it is merely a Super Mario All-Stars-esque reimagining, and has no apparent backstory, its place in the timeline is unaltered.
  • BS Zelda: Kodai no Sekiban has the same gender selection; to account for this the Hero of Light, whom the player embodies, is a single person but of indeterminate gender. While of dubious canonicity, the ingame events take place shortly after A Link to the Past; since the previous hero is frequently alluded to (but not by name) and is said to be absent, it is probably intended to fill in events in Hyrule during the time Link spent on Koholint during Link's Awakening.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time apparently takes place ages before A Link to the Past, possibly expanding upon its backstory.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask takes place very shortly after Ocarina of Time and stars the same Link, who has been returned to his youth.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons and The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages are connected via a password system, and one takes place immediately after the other. They can be played/regarded in either order, depending on the player's preference. The saga takes place at a time when the Triforce is in Hyrule Castle and Ganon is dead. There are numerous hints in the game and its dialogue to suggest that the Link and Zelda in these two games are not the same as in any others in the series. Upon completing both games via link-up to receive the 'full' ending, the very last scene shows Link on a raft sailing off into the sunset, waving goodbye to his friends. This may suggest that Link's Awakening takes place after the Oracles series chronologically.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords was stated by Eiji Aonuma in 2004 to be the "oldest tale" in the Zelda series. This has caused controversy as how to interpret the word "oldest". The versions of Link and Princess Zelda featured in this game are childhood friends.
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker takes place hundreds of years after Ocarina of Time. There exists a possibility, based on a cryptic statement from Mr. Aonuma, that the timeline splits after OoT, one branch carrying on from the devestated world Link reclaimed from Ganon's forces, the other branch from the childhood he returned to after Ganon's evil was sealed. If so, TWW is in the first branch, following the "adult" ending. There is also sufficient circumstantial evidence to counter the statements from Eiji Aonuma.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures apparently takes place an unspecified amount of time after Four Swords.
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap takes place long before Four Swords and Four Swords Adventures.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess has yet to be released, but members of the development team have stated that it will take place decades after Ocarina of Time, and prior to The Wind Waker.

Some fans say that the chronology of the series should not be so rigid. Just as real-world legends are retold with different variations, each game could merely be a different retelling of the same story. With each advancement in videogame hardware and the ever-changing desires of the consumer, the base story of Link saving Zelda from Ganon and recovering the Triforce is embellished, modified, and changed outright. Just like any other legend, The Legend of Zelda changes as it is retold through the years.

In any case, the creators maintain that the series has a set timeline, but due to the poor translation protocols in the 1990s and the constant debate over what counts as being canonical, the publicly available information is disputed and may not be reconciled any time soon. Eiji Aonuma promised he will do his best to patch it all up and hopefully reveal the timeline someday, and Shigeru Miyamoto publicly stated there is a master document containing the timeline.

Nature of the protagonist

Main article: Link (Legend of Zelda)

Although some fans believe all Zelda games feature the same characters, and some adhere to a misquote suggesting that every single game features different characters, the official line is that there are numerous heroes named Link throughout Hyrule's history, and unless otherwise indicated, each adventure is that of a new protagonist. Some of the games are linked chronologically and take place in a clear continuity, while others do not. For example, the Link in A Link to the Past is clearly not the same Link who donned The Minish Cap. On the other hand, Majora's Mask directly states that the Link character is the same one from Ocarina of Time. Also, there was some indication in Nintendo Power that the Link in Link's Awakening was the same Link who defeated Ganon in A Link to the Past, and this connection is considered concrete by many fans. Eiji Aonuma confirmed that every time a new evil plagues the land of a Hyrule, a new hero must rise up to confront it. But those who refuse to take his word for it may consider that several of the games reference other "Links", such as The Wind Waker referring to the Hero of Time.

Link never speaks in any Zelda game, though he produces grunts, yells, and other such sounds, and some of his thoughts may have been revealed in Zelda II. In some cases the player must answer a question with a choice from a list, though no voice acting accompanies these instances. However, in 2002, Link broke the silence by speaking his first discernable words in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. When it was released in the English-speaking world in 2003, the phrase was "Come on!". Besides these rarities, the hero never has a spoken line. This is because the name of the hero, Link, was given by creator Shigeru Miyamoto to emphasize the "link" between character and human player; giving him lines would be putting words in the player's mouth, or distiguishing Link as separate from him/her. In fact, although the character's accepted name is Link, the player can name the hero in each game and characters will address him by that name in the text.

In recent years, with the advancement of technology, the creators have given Link more personality and character. The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess put special emphasis on Link's facial expressions as he reacts to certain circumstances. Clever fans have also noted how Link's face increasingly resembles Shigeru Miyamoto himself in each successive game. Sometimes the hero will bear a special title, such as "Hero of Time" or "Hero of Winds"(Hero of Light is, I believe, the hero in FSA's name. I will double check - TSA). Though usually a boy, Link has also been portrayed as an adolescent and a young man.

Cartoon

Main article: The Legend of Zelda (animated series)

The Legend of Zelda was made into an animated cartoon as a "show within a show" in the semi-live-action Super Mario Bros. Super Show TV series produced by DiC, another franchise attempt by 80s cartoon mogul Andy Heyward (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Ghostbusters). The animated Zelda shorts were aired each Friday instead of the usual Super Mario Bros. cartoon that aired during the rest of the week. The series loosely followed the NES Zelda games, mixing settings and characters from those games with original creations. Due to the Super Show's syndicated nature, only 13 animated Zelda shorts were featured within the show's entire 65-episode run. In this version of the Legend, Link and Zelda battled Ganon on a daily basis while keeping Hyrule safe.

Although the series was created to attract fans of the games, like many Nintendo spin-offs it was poorly received by its intended audience, perhaps due to its simplistic plotlines and shallow characters. Link, in particular, is portrayed as a rude, lovesick teenager, contrary to the quiet presence displayed by his game character.

After the cancellation of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show, the DiC incarnations of Link and Zelda appeared in various episodes of Captain N: The Game Master during the second season of the show, where they helped Captain N and his friends fight the evil Mother Brain. Some of the cartoons can now be viewed on Yahooligans!, and a few episodes were released on three DVDs, Mario's Greatest Movie Moments!, Havoc in Hyrule and Ganon's Evil Tower. Shout! Factory distributed a DiC's compilation DVD set of the entire Zelda cartoon series in October 2005.

Comics, manga and doujinshi

Valiant Comics released a short-lived series featuring characters and settings from the TV show before ending their "Nintendo Comics System" line. Additionally, a few LoZ stories were included in a larger, 2-issue "Nintendo Comics System" title, which also had Mario, Metroid, Punch-Out!!!, and Captain N. While largely forgotten and ignored, these comics are actually the source of two important pieces of fanon:

  • The Link in question (from LoZ and AoL) was born in the neighboring or nearby kingdom of Calatia.
In fact, though it's stated that this Link was a traveler, and he is said to have "remained in Hyrule" after defeating Ganon, there is no direct mention in any of the games or manuals indicating his point of origin. A few fans take this to mean he is from Hyrule, but most agree he was born in Calatia or another undisclosed country.
  • His parents' names are Arn and Medilia.

The Legend of Zelda (Zelda no Densetsu) Mangas are created by two female manga artists known as "Akira Himekawa". Their best-known manga is the Ocarina of Time adaptation, which is split into two parts, the Child Saga and the Adult Saga, plus three bonus chapters (one extra adult, and a two-chapter child part), published in two volumes. They have also created mangas based on other Legend of Zelda games: Majora's Mask, the Oracle Series (Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages, one volume each, as part of a continuing story), Four Swords Plus (based on the game known as Four Swords Adventures outside of Japan) and Triforce of the Gods (from the game Americans know as A Link to the Past). There was mention of a The Minish Cap manga in the "insert" version of the Triforce of the Gods manga but it is not currently for sale yet.

There was also a The Legend of Zelda: A Link to to Past comic created for Nintendo Power magazine by acclaimed manga author Shotaro Ishinomori. Loosely based on the game, this telling portrayed Link's parents as Knights of Hyrule, lost to the Dark World. It also included other original characters such as Link's fairy guide and companion, Epheremelda (long before this concept was introduced to the series); and Roam, a descendant of the Knights of Hyrule who fought in the Imprisoning War. (Roam bears a striking resemblance to 002 from Ishinomori's first successful creation, Cyborg 009.) The comic ran as a serial in NP starting in January 1992 (Volume 32) and ran in 12 parts. It was later collected in graphic novel form.

Popular culture

A song has been circulated on the Internet, often incorrectly attributed to the popular alternative metal band System of a Down, describing Link's adventure in the original The Legend of Zelda, to the tune of the famous Zelda overworld music. System of a Down did not record the song; it is believed to have been written by a little-known artist named Joe Pleiman for his album The Rabbit Joint. There is also a flash animation to accompany the song, created by a graphic designer named Josh Spaulding, which features sing-along subtitles of the lyrics. The animation uses backgrounds and sprites from the third Zelda game, A Link to the Past for the SNES, to illustrate the lyrics, and also has credits with some info about both the musician and the animator[4].

For more information on modern interpretations of video game soundtracks, see Ocremix or Vgmix.

Hot Topic produced a series of retro T-Shirts featuring classic Nintendo icons from the 1980s. Popular examples include "Don't Make Me Go Zelda On You" with items on the front, "Solid Gold" with the Gold Cart on the front, and a number of others, such as a green shirt that simply had a picture of Link with the Zelda logo.

The HomestarRunner Web site has featured a number of Legend of Zelda related Easter eggs in its cartoons.

Comedian Robin Williams named his daughter Zelda because his son was a devoted fan of the series.

See also

External links

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