E3 2014 is rapidly approaching, and the scuttlebutt is that a new entry in the Zelda series will be unveiled at the show, so before Zelda-mania hits a fever pitch, let’s take a look back at the original The Legend of Zelda.
Shigeru Miyamoto may be most known for Mario today, but Zelda is his most personal series. Here are a few things you might not know about the game that would invent the action-adventure genre and spawn the most acclaimed video game franchise of all time…
1) The Legend of Zelda wouldn’t exist if Miyamoto’s parents had kept a closer eye on him. Shigeru Miyamoto grew up in Sonobe, a small town located around a half-hour south of Kyoto. Miyamoto didn’t have many toys, and the family didn’t own a TV, so little Shigeru spent most of his days roving the countryside unsupervised. During his wandering he would often get lost and stumble onto unexpected things — including, on one portentous day, a deep dark hole. Now, most parents tend to try and keep their kids away from deep, dark pits, but Miyamoto’s weren’t around, so he grabbed a lantern, crawled in and discovered an entire miniature cave system.
The sense of wonder and discovery Miyamoto experienced on his childhood adventures formed the spiritual basis of The Legend of Zelda. If Miyamoto’s parents had been just a little more worried about his daily whereabouts (or had owned a TV) there’s a good chance we wouldn’t have Link’s many adventures.
2) The game had a more sensible name in Japan. The Legend of Zelda has never made much sense as a title, has it? What exactly does Zelda do in the game? Mario isn’t called Super Princess Toadstool Adventures, is it?
Well, in Japan the game was called The Hyrule Fantasy, with Legend of Zelda being the subtitle. The Hyrule Fantasy makes a lot more sense, doesn’t it? The game is about exploring the world of Hyrule more than it’s about Zelda, Link or any one character. Ultimately though, perhaps because it had a slightly more mysterious, enticing quality, The Legend of Zelda was chosen as the title in North America, and eventually phased out The Hyrule Fantasy in Japan as well.
3) The Triforce was originally going to be made of microchips? According to Miyamoto, The Legend of Zelda was going to have a much more ambitious storyline that took place in both present-day Hyrule and the fuuuuture. That meant some staples of Zelda series were initially technological in nature — for instance, instead of collecting magical Triforce pieces, you were originally rounding up special microchips.Oh, and Link got his somewhat unique name from the fact that he was supposed to be the link between the past and future. Very clever.
Interestingly, Nintendo may have considered reviving the idea of a futuristic Hyrule on the SNES if this sassy sci-fi Zelda concept art for A Link to the Past is any indication…