The Legend of Zelda – History

Posted by on Apr. 29th, 2014

Posted on by DK

The Legend of Zelda is an action-adventure video game series created by game designers Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka and developed and published by Nintendo. The gameplay consists of a mixture of action, adventure, puzzle solving, role-playing and occasional platforming, stealth, shooting, and racing elements. The series centers on Link, the main playable character and protagonist. Link is often given the task of rescuing Princess Zelda and the most common setting of the series, Hyrule, from Ganon who is the primary antagonist of the series. However, other settings and antagonists have appeared throughout the games, with Vaati having recently become the series’ secondary antagonist. The story commonly involves a relic known as the Triforce, a set of three golden triangles of omnipotence. The protagonist in each game is not always the same iteration of Link, although the same character sometimes appears across multiple games.

The Legend of Zelda series has sold over 52 million copies since the release of the first game, The Legend of Zelda, and continues to be successful worldwide. It has been referred to as “the greatest game ever” in the gaming community. The series consists of fourteen official games on all of Nintendo’s major consoles, as well as several spin-offs. An animated series based on the games aired in 1989, and individual manga adaptions which are officially endorsed and commissioned by Nintendo have been produced in Japan since 1997.


The Legend of Zelda games feature a mixture of puzzles, strategic action, adventure/battle gameplay, and exploration. These elements have remained constant throughout the series, but with refinements and additions featured in each new game. The player is frequently rewarded for solving puzzles or exploring areas. Most Zelda games involve locating and exploring dungeons, in which puzzles are solved and enemies fought, then defeating the dungeon’s boss. Each dungeon usually has one major item inside, which is usually essential for solving many of the puzzles in that dungeon and often plays a crucial role in defeating that dungeon’s boss. Some items are consistent and appear many times throughout the series, while others are unique to a single game. The series also consists of stealth gameplay, where the player must avoid enemies while proceeding through a level, as well as racing elements.


The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is a prequel to The Legend of Zelda and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, the first two games released in the series. The back of its packaging states it takes place before The Legend of Zelda. Ocarina of Time is also a prequel, going even further back and implicitly retelling the backstory of A Link to the Past. The Wind Waker takes place hundreds of years after the events of Ocarina of Time. The game explicitly references the “Hero of Time” from that game, and states that, due to the hero’s absence, it was necessary to flood Hyrule to stop Ganon. The Minish Cap, Four Swords and Four Swords Adventures include references to other titles and are known to be a part of the timeline, but their exact relationships with other games have not officially been made clear.

In an interview conducted by Nintendo Dream with Eiji Aonuma in December 2006, it was revealed that there are two parallel universes in the Zelda chronology. The timeline is split at the end of Ocarina of Time, when Link is sent back in time by Princess Zelda to live through his childhood, while the original events of Ocarina of Time continue on a different path. Once returned to his original time, Link leaves the Master Sword in its place, preventing Ganondorf’s plan from coming to fruition, and goes to see Zelda again, resulting in the “Child Timeline” in which the villain Ganondorf is arrested and tried by the ancient sages. They attempt to execute him, but he overpowers them, and the sages are instead forced to banish him to the Twilight Realm. Twilight Princess then occurs over one hundred years later, after Link’s role as a child in the events of Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask. Meanwhile, The Wind Waker occurs in the “Adult Timeline”, one hundred years after the Hero of Time saved Hyrule in Ocarina of Time, and it is directly followed by Phantom Hourglass.


The Legend of Zelda was principally inspired by Shigeru Miyamoto’s explorations as a young boy in the hillsides surrounding his childhood home in Kyoto, 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, as cave exploration is a major component of most Zelda games (often by the light of a lantern). Miyamoto has referred to the creation of the Zelda games as an attempt to bring to life a “miniature garden” for players to play with in each game of the series.

Hearing of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s wife Zelda, 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.

The Legend of Zelda, the first game of the series, was first released in Japan on February 21, 1986 on the Famicom Disk System. A cartridge version, using battery-backed memory, was released in the United States on August 22, 1987 and Europe in 1987. The game features a “Second Quest”, accessible on completing the game, in which dungeons and item placement are different, and enemies are more difficult for the player to defeat. In 1994, near the end of the Famicom’s lifespan, the game was rereleased in cartridge format.A modified version, BS Zelda no Densetsu, was released for the Super Famicom’s satellite-based expansion, Satellaview, in the mid-1990s in Japan. BS Zelda was rereleased for the Satellaview a year later, with rearranged dungeons and an altered overworld.

The second game, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, was released for the Famicom Disk System in Japan in January 1987, and for the Nintendo Entertainment System in Europe in November 1988 and North America in December 1988. The game exchanged the top-down perspective for side-scrolling (though the top-down point of view was retained for overworld areas), and introduced RPG elements (such as experience points) not used in The Legend of Zelda. The Legend of Zelda and Zelda II were released in gold-colored game cartridges instead of the console’s regular gray cartridges. Both were rereleased in the final years of the Nintendo Entertainment System with gray cartridges.

Four years later, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past returned to the top-down view (under a 3/4 perspective), and added the concept of an alternate dimension, the Dark World. The game was released for the SNES in 1991. It was later rereleased for the Game Boy Advance on December 9, 2002 in North America, on a cartridge with Four Swords, the first multiplayer Zelda, and then through Nintendo’s Virtual Console service on January 22, 2007. In addition, both this game (unchanged, except for being converted into a downloadable format) and an exclusive “loosely-based” sequel (which used the same game engine) called BS Zelda no Densetsu Kodai no Sekiban were released on the Satellaview in Japan.

The next game, Link’s Awakening, is the first Zelda for Nintendo’s Game Boy handheld, and the first set outside Hyrule and to exclude Princess Zelda. It was rereleased, in full colour, as a launch title for the Game Boy Color in 1998 as Link’s Awakening DX with some additional features, including an extra color-based dungeon and a photo shop that allows interaction with the Game Boy Printer.

After another hiatus, the series made the transition to 3D with Ocarina of Time for the Nintendo 64, which was released in November 1998. This game, initially known as Zelda 64, retains the core gameplay of the previous 2D games, and was very successful commercially and critically. It ranks highly on IGN and EGM’s “greatest games of all time” lists, and scored perfect scores in several video game publications. In February 2006, it was ranked by Nintendo Power as the best game released for a Nintendo console.The game was originally developed for the poorly-selling, Japanese-only Nintendo 64DD, but was ported to cartridge format when the 64DD hardware was delayed. A new gameplay mechanic, lock-on targeting, is used in the game, which focuses the camera on a nearby target and alters the player’s actions relative to that target. Such mechanics allow precise sword fighting in a 3D space. Those who preordered the game received a gold-colored cartridge in a limited edition box with a golden plastic card affixed, reading “Collector’s Edition”.

Ocarina of Time was rereleased on the Nintendo GameCube in 2002, when it was offered as a pre-order incentive for The Wind Waker in the U.S., Canada and Japan.Europe continues to receive it free in every copy of The Wind Waker, except for the discounted Player’s Choice version. It includes a previously unreleased 64DD expansion known as Ura Zelda in Japan and Ocarina of Time Master Quest in North America. Ocarina of Time was included as part of Collector’s Edition for the GameCube in 2003. It is now available through the Wii’s Virtual Console service.

Ocarina of Time‘s follow-up, Majora’s Mask, was released in November 2000. It uses the same 3D game engine as the previous game, and added a time-based concept, in which Link, the protagonist, relives the events of three days as many times as needed to complete the game’s objectives. It was originally called Zelda Gaiden, a Japanese title that translates as Zelda Side story. Gameplay changed significantly; in addition to the time-limit, Link can use masks to transform into creatures with unique abilities. While Majora’s Mask retains the graphical style of Ocarina of Time, it is also a departure, particularly in its atmosphere. It also features motion-blur, unlike its predecessor. The game is darker, dealing with death and tragedy in a manner not previously seen in the series, and has a sense of impending doom, as a large moon slowly descends upon the land of Termina. All copies of Majora’s Mask are gold cartridges. A “Limited Collector’s Edition” lenticular cartridge label was offered as the pre-order incentive. Copies of the game that were not collector’s editions featured a regular sticker cartridge label.

The next two games, Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages, were released simultaneously for the Game Boy Color, and interact using passwords or a Game Link Cable. After one game has been completed, the player is given a password that allows the other game to be played as a sequel. They were developed by Flagship in conjunction with Nintendo, with supervision from Miyamoto. After the team experimented with porting the original The Legend of Zelda to the Game Boy Color, they decided to make an original trilogy to be called the “Triforce Series”. When the password system linking the three games proved too troublesome, the concept was reduced to two games at Miyamoto’s suggestion. These two games became Oracle of Ages, which is more puzzle-based, and Oracle of Seasons, which is more action-oriented.

When Nintendo revealed the Nintendo GameCube on August 24, 2000, the day before Nintendo’s SpaceWorld 2000 exposition, a software demonstration showed a realistically-styled real-time duel between Ganondorf and Link. Fans and the media speculated that the battle might be from a Zelda game in development. At Spaceworld 2001 Nintendo showed a cel-shaded Zelda title, later released as The Wind Waker, which Miyamoto felt would “extend Zelda‘s reach to all ages”.The media reported that Zelda was shifting to a younger audience, to Miyamoto’s surprise. Nothing further was shown until a playable demonstration was ready, which was well-received. The gameplay centers on controlling wind with a baton called the “Wind Waker” and sailing a small boat around an island-filled ocean, retaining similar gameplay mechanics as the previous 3D games in the series.

The next game released in the series was Four Swords Adventures for the GameCube, which was released in early 2004 in Japan and America, and January 2005 in Europe. Based on the handheld Four Swords, Four Swords Adventures was another deviation from previous Zelda gameplay, focusing on level-based and multiplayer gameplay. The game contains 24 levels and a map screen; there is no connecting overworld. For multiplayer features, each player must use a Game Boy Advance system linked to the Nintendo GameCube via a Nintendo GameCube Game Boy Advance cable. The game also features a single-player campaign, in which using a Game Boy Advance is optional.

Four Swords Adventures includes two gameplay modes: “Hyrulean Adventure”, with a plot and gameplay similar to other Zelda games, and “Shadow Battle”, in which multiple Links, played by multiple players, battle each other. The Japanese version includes an exclusive third segment, “Navi Trackers” (originally designed as the stand-alone game “Tetra’s Trackers”), which contains spoken dialog for most of the characters, unlike other games in The Legend of Zelda series.

In November 2004 in Japan and Europe, and January 2005 in America, Nintendo released The Minish Cap for the Game Boy Advance. In The Minish Cap Link can shrink in size using a mystical, sentient hat named Ezlo. While shrunk, he can see previously-explored parts of a dungeon from a different perspective, and enter areas through otherwise-impassable openings.

In November 2006, Twilight Princess was released as the first Zelda game on the Wii, and later, in December 2006, on the Nintendo GameCube, the console for which it was originally developed. The Wii version features a reversed world; everything that is in the west on the GameCube is in the east on the Wii, and vice versa (The game was mirrored in order to make Link right-handed to make use of the Wii remote feel more natural). The game chronicles the struggle of an older Link to rid Hyrule of the “Twilight Realm”, a mysterious force consuming the land. When he enters this realm, he is transformed into a wolf, changing the gameplay. Twilight Princess also features horseback transportation and mounted battle scenarios, including boss battles.

At the 2006 Game Developers Conference, a trailer for Phantom Hourglass for the Nintendo DS was shown. It revealed traditional top-down Zelda gameplay optimized for the DS’ features, with a cel-shaded graphical style similar to The Wind Waker. At E3 2006, Nintendo confirmed the game’s status as a direct sequel to The Wind Waker, and released an extensive playable demo, including a multiplayer mode with “capture the flag” elements. Phantom Hourglass was released on June 23, 2007 in Japan, October 1, 2007 in North America and October 19, 2007 in Europe.

The next Legend of Zelda for the DS, The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks (tentative title), was confirmed to be in development at GDC ’09 by Satoru Iwata. It is slated for release later in 2009.

Shigeru Miyamoto officially confirmed that a new Zelda game is in development for the Wii during E3 2008.


According to the in-game backstories, long ago, three goddesses descended and created the land of Hyrule. Din, the goddess of power, with her powerful, flaming arms, cultivated the empty space, and created the red earth. Nayru, the goddess of wisdom, bestowed her divine wisdom upon the land, and created the world’s laws to give a sense of justice and order to the world, and to guide the people in the goddesses’ absence. Farore, the goddess of courage, endowed Hyrule with her powers, creating life to follow this justice.

After their work was completed, the goddesses left a sacred artifact called the Triforce, which could grant the wishes of the user. It consisted of three golden triangles (each also called a “Triforce”—one of Wisdom, one of Power and one of Courage). However, because the Triforce was not divine, and could not judge between good and evil, the goddesses placed the Triforce in an alternate world called the “Sacred Realm” or the “Golden Land”, hoping that a worthy person would one day seek it.

According to legend, the discoverer of the Triforce will receive the Triforce as a whole – along with the true force to govern all – only if that person has a balance of power, wisdom and courage. If the heart of that person is pure, the Sacred Realm will become a paradise. If the heart of that person is evil, the Sacred Realm will become a nightmarish world of evil. If they are unbalanced, they will only receive the part of the Triforce that represents the characteristic they most demonstrate, with the remaining parts of the whole transferring into the people in Hyrule who most exemplify the other two traits. The Triforce was first distributed as such starting in Ocarina of Time, as the Triforces of Power, Wisdom and Courage were each held by Ganondorf, Princess Zelda and Link, respectively. While the Triforce of Power and Wisdom have been part of the series since the original The Legend of Zelda, it was only in The Adventure of Link that the Triforce of Courage was first introduced, being obtained by Link at the end of his quest.

Eventually, dark interlopers, later to be called “Twili”, attempted to steal the Triforce and establish dominion over the Sacred Realm. In response, the goddesses sent the light spirits Ordona, Faron, Eldin, and Lanayru to seal away their dark magic within the Fused Shadows. The interlopers themselves were banished to the shadowy world of the Twilight Realm (with only the Mirror of Twilight linking the two worlds), where they would become the Twili race. The Mirror was left in the protection of ancient sages.

And then eventually, evil rose once again. A hero would not appear to repel the evil, and in response, the goddesses flooded Hyrule. The citizens were able to flee to the mountaintops, while Ganon and his army were trapped under the sea. The kingdom below was frozen in time to assure Ganon would not utilize his powers to escape, with the Master Sword as its key. The world above would be known as the Great Sea, and the memory of Hyrule was lost with time.

The fictional universe established by the Zelda games sets the stage for each adventure. Many games take place in lands with their own back-stories. Termina, for example, is a parallel world accidentally formed as a side effect of the goddesses’ creation of Hyrule.


Main article: List of The Legend of Zelda games

The following is a list of the Nintendo-published games in order of their first release, with their release years (in parentheses), along with any additional information about their placement in the timeline.

  • The Legend of Zelda (FDS: 1986, NES: 1987, FC: 1994, GCN: 2002 (AC), 2003 (CE), GBA: 2004, VC: 2006)
This is the first game of the series. In this game, Ganon is in his pig-like beast form. According to the instruction manual, shortly before the beginning of the game, Ganon’s army attacked Hyrule, stole the Triforce of Power, and captured the ruling Princess Zelda, but not before she had time to break apart and hide the Triforce of Wisdom.
  • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (FDS: 1987, NES: 1988, GCN: 2003 (CE), GBA: 2004, VC: 2007)
According to its instruction manual, it takes place “several seasons” after the first game, and features the same Link, but a different Zelda. Moreover, the story references Ganon’s destruction by Link in the first game. The game’s back-story also references an old legend of Hyrule. According to it, long ago, a prince of Hyrule should have inherited the Triforce after the king’s death, but he only obtained part of it. Indeed, his sister, Princess Zelda, let him keep the Triforce of Power and the Triforce of Wisdom, but the late king hid the Triforce of Courage. The prince and a magician questioned Zelda, but she refused to reveal the location of the last piece of the Triforce. In anger, the magician cast an eternal sleeping spell on Zelda, before dying himself. In grief, the prince ordered that all future girls of the royal family be named Zelda. The previous historical Zelda who hid the Triforce of Courage is still asleep at the beginning of the game, and is awakened by Link after he retrieves the Triforce of Courage at the end of the story. This Princess Zelda is not the same one rescued by Link in the first The Legend of Zelda game. The events of this legend were never mentioned in any other games of the series.
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SFC: 1991, SNES: 1992, GBA: 2002 (FS), VC: 2006)
This is the first of many Zelda games to have Hyrule’s history told within the game, and the first in which Ganon’s name in human form, Ganondorf, is revealed. During this game, Ganon is in his demonic form, and sealed in the “Golden Land” (more commonly known as the Sacred Realm)with the Triforce. The game’s instruction manual tells how all three pieces of the Triforce were originally hidden in the Golden Land. One day long ago, it was found by Ganondorf the Thief, and it granted his evil wish for a monstrous army to attack Hyrule. While the Knights of Hyrule defended the land, the Seven Sages created a magic seal to close off the Golden Realm.The game itself revolves around Ganon’s ultimately-successful attempt to break the Sages’ seal. Princess Zelda alerts Link to this, and Link goes on a quest to find the Master Sword (its first named appearance in the series), then defeats Ganon to reclaim the Triforce, using various means to travel between Hyrule and the Golden Land (now called the Dark World) during his efforts.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening/DX (GB: 1993, GBC: 1998 (DX))
In this installment, Link shipwrecks on Koholint Island while on his journey. He finds he has lost his equipment, and the only way he can leave the island is to find and wake a creature of great power called the Wind Fish.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time/Master Quest (N64: 1998, GCN: 2002 (MQ), 2003 (CE), iQue: 2003, VC: 2007)
After its release, this game was confirmed by Shigeru Miyamoto as the first in the series’ continuity at the time. At the beginning of the game, Ganondorf, the king of the Gerudo tribe, has not yet gained the Triforce, though he does possess magical powers. As the game progresses, Ganondorf follows Link into the Sacred Realm and, as Link pulls the Master Sword from its pedestal, he appears, telling Link he will rule Hyrule as a result of Link giving him access to the Sacred Realm. Link is then promptly put into suspended animation for seven years, until he is “of age” to wield the Master Sword. In the meantime, Ganondorf finds the Triforce, but because his heart is not balanced, it divides into its three pieces: Power, Wisdom and Courage. Ganondorf retains the Triforce of Power, and uses it to take over and rule Hyrule for seven years. When Link wakes seven years later, he eventually awakens the Seven Sages and defeats Ganondorf, the Sages then sealing him in the Sacred Realm.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask (N64: 2000, GCN: 2003 (CE))
This game takes place after the events of Ocarina of Time, and stars the same Link, after returning to his youth. While traveling, he is attacked by a Skull Kid and accidentally enters a parallel world called Termina, which is going to be destroyed by a falling moon in three days. Link must relive the same three days repeatedly while trying to undo the events created by the Skull Kid through the power of Majora’s Mask, and find a way to stop the impending apocalypse.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons (GBC: 2001) and The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages (GBC: 2001)
These games are connected via a password system, and one takes place immediately after the other. They can be played and regarded in either order. As Link sets out to defeat Onox and Veran, the Twinrova sisters from Ocarina of Time appear, and plot to resurrect Ganon.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords (GBA: 2002)
The versions of Link and Princess Zelda featured in this game are childhood friends. This is the first game in which Vaati and the Four Sword appear. According to an interview, Eiji Aonuma, a major designer and the director of many games in the Zelda series, considered this game to be the oldest in the timeline, implying that both this and The Minish Cap occur earlier than Ocarina of Time.
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (GCN: 2002)
This game takes place 100 years after Ocarina of Time. Hyrule has been lost, and all that remains of its civilization are a few scattered islands on the Great Sea. Halfway through The Wind Waker, the Link and Zelda from this game discover they are the successors to their counterparts in the old kingdom of Hyrule (now beneath the Great Sea). It is revealed in dialogue between survivors of Hyrule that the Link of The Wind Waker is not related to the Hero of Time, the Link of Ocarina of Time; however, later on in the game, he is referred to as the “Hero of Winds”.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures (GCN: 2004)
This game tells the story of how Ganondorf obtains the power of an ancient trident and becomes the demon, Ganon.
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap (GBA: 2004)
This game involves the origins of the Four Sword, as well as Vaati, the primary villain.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Wii: 2006, GCN: 2006)
This game takes place at least a hundred years after Ocarina of Time. In an interview with Japan’s Nintendo Dream Magazine, Aonuma stated that Twilight Princess occurs in a “parallel” world to The Wind Waker, following an alternate timeline in which Ganondorf does not take over Hyrule, and is instead sentenced to execution following the conclusion of Ocarina of Time.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (DS: 2007)
This game has been released in Japan and North America, and was released in Australia on October 11, 2007, and Europe on October 19, 2007. It is set after The Wind Waker and in the same setting, where Link must rescue Tetra after she is captured by a ghost ship. While in The Temple of the Ocean King he meets Linebeck, who aids Link on his quest by letting him use his ship.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks (DS: 2009)
This game features trains, and uses a similar style to Phantom Hourglass.

The creators maintain that the series has a set timeline, however due to debates over the available information the timeline continues to be disputed. Miyamoto stated in a 2003 interview that there is a master document detailing the timeline. Eiji Aonuma has also stated in a July 2007 video interview that there is such a document on his PC, and that this document is considered confidential.According to this interview, development of a Zelda title can commence without the team knowing in advance where exactly the title will fit into the timeline; but by the time the title is finished, its placement in the timeline will be determined.

In April 2008, Miyamoto stated that “the Zelda team is forming again to work on new games”. Miyamoto clarified in July that the Zelda team has been working on a new Zelda game for the Wii.

In Issue 37 of the British Official Nintendo Magazine, released 21 November 2008, it is stated that “the teams are still in the planning stages” and that “we wouldn’t expect to see or hear anything more until the E3 event next summer at the earliest” and that “even that may be optimistic”. However, the magazine says that “we WILL know something in 2009 [about the title]“.


The Legend of Zelda series, like many Nintendo games, has been noted for its use of music. Kōji Kondō, who has been described as the “greatest legend in the video game audio industry” due to his work for Nintendo,has composed much of the music for the series, although the last game for which he was solely responsible for the composition of the soundtrack was The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

Games in The Legend of Zelda series frequently feature in-game musical instruments, in particular in musical puzzles, which are widespread. Often, instruments trigger game events: for example, the recorder in The Legend of Zelda can reveal “secret” areas. In Ocarina of Time, playing instruments is a core part of the game, the player needing to play the instrument through the use of the game controller to succeed. Ocarina of Time is “[one of the] first contemporary nondance title[s] to feature music-making as part of its gameplay”, using music as a heuristic device and requiring the player to memorize songs to progress in the game—a game mechanic that is also present in Majora’s Mask and, in different forms, The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess.

“The Legend of Zelda Theme” has topped ScrewAttack’s Top Ten Videogame Themes Ever list.

Nature of Link

Link (The Legend of Zelda)

The main protagonist of The Legend of Zelda series, Link, is portrayed as a male child or teenager with pointed ears, who wears a green tunic, a green, floppy cap and an undershirt for most of each game. He is a member of the Hylia race. Link is described on the series’ official website as humble and brave, and therefore appropriate to bear the Triforce of Courage. He sometimes has a special title, such as “Hero of Time”, “Hero of Winds”, “Hero Chosen by the Gods” or “Waker of the Winds”. All incarnations of Link are left-handed, the only exception currently being in the Wii version of Twilight Princess, in which he is right-handed due to “mirroring” used to accommodate the right-handed control scheme, which flips the entire game world’s layout from that of its Nintendo GameCube counterpart.

Link does not usually speak, and only produces grunts, yells or similar sounds. One exception is The Wind Waker in which he says “Come on!” to make people or objects follow him. When Link is asked questions, the player answers by choosing options from a list; Link usually does not give any aural or visual indication that he has answered, however he may nod his head in Wind Waker. Link also speaks in the cartoon series and the CD-i games produced by Philips, though these are not completely canon parts of the series. He also “speaks” two lines in The Adventure of Link. When he locates a mirror under a table, the text, “I found a mirror under the table” appears on screen. Later, if Link examines a fireplace that he can enter, “Looks like I can get in the fireplace” is displayed.

In most games, the player can name Link before the start of the adventure, and he will be referred by that given name throughout.

Zelda in other video games

Characters from and references to the The Legend of Zelda series have appeared in a variety of other video games that go beyond what is considered a typical cameo appearance. This may include major story elements, character development, and even affect major game features. Link appears as a fighter in Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo 64. Link is also a fighter in Super Smash Bros. Melee for the GameCube, alongside Zelda newcomers Zelda (also able to transform into Sheik), Ganondorf and Young Link (the child version of Link from Ocarina of Time). In Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Wii all Zelda characters make a return with the exception of Young Link, who was replaced by Toon Link (Wind Waker’s Link). Instead of their Ocarina of Time appearances that have been used in previous Super Smash Bros. games, all but Toon Link are depicted in the style of Twilight Princess. He also makes a cameo appearance in Super Mario RPG, where he appears sleeping in an inn. Link appears as a fighter in the GameCube version of Soul Calibur II, and is also featured in several mini-games from WarioWare: Smooth Moves and WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$!. The Game Boy Camera: Gold Version contains Ocarina of Time themed stamps of characters and items for editing photos that are not found in any other color version of the Game Boy Camera.


The success of The Legend of Zelda series has resulted in Guinness World Records awarding it five world records in Guinness World Records: Gamer’s Edition 2008. These records include “Highest-Rated Game of All Time”, “First Game with a Battery Powered Save Feature” and “Longest Running Action-Adventure Series”.

Cultural influence

The worldwide success and popularity of The Legend of Zelda series has led to many influences in popular culture. The series has also been parodied, including an episode of The Powerpuff Girls which features the Mayor of Townsville playing a spoof of Ocarina of Time, and a season 3 episode of Robot Chicken, in which a skit based on The Legend of Zelda references aspects of the series, including the existence of multiple Links, Triforce, Rupees and rescuing Princess Zelda. Many references to the series also exist in other video games such as in some versions of Final Fantasy, which contains a tombstone with the inscription: “Here lies Link”. Link cameos in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars where he appears sleeping in a bed at the Rose Town Inn, and he remains in bed throughout the game. Examining him will cause a jingle (that which plays when the player completes a puzzle or opens a doorway in The Legend of Zelda) to play. Also, a text box may appear with only “…..” inside, referring to Link’s tendency to be the silent hero. Ōkami director Hideki Kamiya states that he has been influenced by The Legend of Zelda series in developing the title. The developers of the game Dark Sector have stated they have been heavily influenced by The Legend of Zelda series, and that the structure of the game is much like a Zelda game. Other games which reference the series are Donkey Kong Country 3, the Animal Crossing series and World of Warcraft.

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