LoZ turns 25!
February 21, 2011 3:48 PM   Subscribe

Today is the 25th anniversary of the release of The Legend of Zelda. Celebrate by learning about some of its oddities or watching some commercials!
posted by Deflagro (52 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
Ocarina of Time was my first Zelda game. That moment when you stepped out into Hyrule Field for the first time was pure magic.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 3:54 PM on February 21, 2011 [5 favorites]

Grr. Oddities site takes two full minutes to load, only to find out it's split over 13 pages.
posted by inedible at 3:57 PM on February 21, 2011

I remember playing through this with my aunts at seven years old. I had a couple of years of gaming under my belt at that point, but this was different. Still my favorite game series of all time.
posted by cmgonzalez at 3:59 PM on February 21, 2011

So where the hell is Skyward Sword? You'd think the 25th anniversary would be a good day to release the new game. Come on!
posted by chococat at 4:19 PM on February 21, 2011 [2 favorites]

Play the original online (Java required; click an emulator engine to start).
posted by Rhaomi at 4:19 PM on February 21, 2011 [2 favorites]

I am almost exactly as old as LoZ and it remains one of my favorite things. I remember dressing up as link for 4 Halloweens in a ROW and being very upset when people thought I was Peter Pan.

I also may or may not have incorporated some of the costume into my daily running-around-the-woods wear.
posted by The Whelk at 4:35 PM on February 21, 2011 [2 favorites]

posted by "Elbows" O'Donoghue at 5:14 PM on February 21, 2011 [6 favorites]

In the past four months, I've played through Minish Cap, Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, Link's Awakening, and the linked GameBoy Color games, Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages, and I have to unreservedly recommend those two! Aside from Ocarina of Time and Link to the Past, Seasons and Ages, one right after the other (with a special linking code, of course) were some of the most enjoyable gaming I've ever experienced. Good puzzles, fun characters, funny secrets. Way better than Wind Waker, that's for sure.

But for some reason, I've never finished the original Zelda, and I've only played about a half an hour of the second one.
posted by interrobang at 5:17 PM on February 21, 2011

I grew up poor but one thing we always had was a Nintendo and games to go along with it. I can still vividly remember getting the NES system back when I was around 5. My brother, my sister and I would see commercials for it and it was one of those things we thought was 100% completely and utterly unattainable since we never had the fancy toys, the nice clothes, etc. It's not even something we asked for because we thought it was pointless to ask. But hooboy did we ever get excited to see the commercials for it. That Christmas after we finished unwrapping the few gifts we each got, my dad went off into the next room and brought one more box out that we unwrapped together. It was the NES. That moment of unadulterated joy and excitement will forever be engrained into my memory.

One of the games we had along with it was Legend of Zelda. It was by far my favorite and I think I was even a little obsessed with it. I played it constantly, watched the Legend of Zelda cartoon on TV everytime it was on and drew Link all over the place. In one of my elementary school yearbooks, there's even a picture of Link I drew. All the kids in each class would draw pictures and the folks who put the yearbook together would pick the best ones to print alongside each class and they picked my Link drawing. I know it might sound a little crazy from the perspective of older generations, but that game will always hold an extremely special place in my heart.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 5:18 PM on February 21, 2011 [11 favorites]

I'm heading over to Nintendo HQ in Kyoto in an hour for something unrelated. I was surprised to see that there was nothing at all in the giant, blank white reception hall showing off the company's franchise games. It wasn't until I got to the guard shack that I saw any characters. Behind the guards are big Mario and Pokemon dolls holding a Super Soaker.
posted by planetkyoto at 5:26 PM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

I just played through the whole first quest on Saturday while waiting for a broken laptop to restore from backups.

I was 7 the fall Zelda came out, and knew we wouldn't be getting the game until spring. A friend had the game, and one or two afternoons a week I'd go over to his house and we'd try to figure out the game. I remember spending an hour trying to get through the NWSW maze/repeating screen, because my friend had heard for sure that his cousin's friend's brother had gotten through by just going West for a very long time.

The other thing that happened that fall was that America's Most Wanted debuted, and my dad watched it every week. Because of that, I was *sure* that I wasn't going to live to see 8, that I was going to get killed in a drive-by in suburban Cincinnati. Knowing of my impending death, the thing I was most concerned about in the whole world was that my little brother wouldn't know what to do when we finally got Zelda. I spent the whole winter quizzing him on what he'd do first, second, etc, passing on the hard-won Zelda knowledge I'd acquired.

I played through The Adventure of Link when that came out, then didn't play another Zelda game until the Wii. It was good, but just didn't have that life-or-death draw of being 7, convinced I was about to die, and obsessed with finding that last heart container.
posted by krakedhalo at 5:35 PM on February 21, 2011 [4 favorites]

Well Excuuuuuuuse me, Princess! The cartoon in its abysmal entirety on hulu.
posted by Rinku at 5:41 PM on February 21, 2011

Mefi's own the otter lady wrote for that cartoon, when she was a teenager

Thinking about it, I think I can trace my love of hiking, archery. sturdy shoulder bags, boots, swords, Adventure Time, and the color green to being completely obsessed with LoZ as a kid. I still am. When Soctt Pilgrim Vs. The World used 'The Great Fairy Appears" as a romantic montage music I basically just tapped out and went "Ah the rest of this movie can be someone hitting a dead horse with a chicken puppet and I'll like it cause of that music cue."

For god sakes I wrote half a LoZ Screenplay FOR FUN WITHOUT BEING PAID. That's how strongly I want to run around in tights and a kilt, shooting people with my sword.
posted by The Whelk at 5:47 PM on February 21, 2011 [6 favorites]

Was it Cortex who was building Hyrule in Minecraft? Did he finish it?

I've played through Ocarina of Time, Link To the Past and that awesome Gameboy one with the Wind Fish. Played a bit of the Capcom ones (Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons) and did two dungeons in Phantom Hourglass. Okami was great too... it was a Zelda game in all but name.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:59 PM on February 21, 2011

For god sakes I wrote half a LoZ Screenplay FOR FUN WITHOUT BEING PAID..

I will never again complain about loving video games too much as a kid. Clearly, I didn't love them enough.
posted by SirOmega at 6:04 PM on February 21, 2011

Ah I found the Mefi thread that made me like, write the damn thing, so here's some fragments
posted by The Whelk at 6:11 PM on February 21, 2011

Anyone remember HySpace?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:14 PM on February 21, 2011

Man, I haven't seen that first commercial since the game came out, but I still remember it!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:26 PM on February 21, 2011

Was it Cortex who was building Hyrule in Minecraft? Did he finish it?

The answer is yes. (I should mosey over and make sure it's well-stocked with wooden swords...)

Personally, I could never get through Death Mountain. I've replayed the game up to Death Mountain a few times since I was an 80s kid, and it's pretty straightforward if you know the lore (amazing how much of it you remember from when you were 9), but that last dungeon always rocks me like a hurricane.

Bonus: Hyrule map that I made during my last playthrough. The secrets, or at least the ones I could remember, are shown but not marked. Yeah, I guess I was a bit obsessed with this game too. It is a classic...
posted by neckro23 at 6:28 PM on February 21, 2011


That tidbit of info about the Pols Voice has just answered something that has been plaguing me for 20 years. Seriously, how can I do anything about their hatred of loud noise?

My LoZ story goes back to when my parents bought me and my siblings an NES for Christmas back in 1988. Shortly after that time, my mother bought herself a copy of the original Legend of Zelda game, but she wouldn't let any of us play it. I think this was for two reasons. The first is that she thought we weren't old enough to understand it. The second was because she wanted to be the first of any of us to play through it.

During those years, my mother worked second shift at the hospital as a medical records clerk. She did this so she could stay home during the day with my younger siblings and take care of them (they weren't old enough to go to school yet). Well, one day, I stayed home sick from school. My mother was playing Legend of Zelda and letting me watch as I ate some chicken noodle soup. She had gotten to the point where she was in the dungeon on Death Mountain, and she had indeed gotten all the way to Gannon. However, she couldn't quite figure out how to beat him.

I think she tried every single weapon except the Silver Arrows (or, she didn't try the Silver Arrows at the right time). She was getting frustrated and was going to give up, claiming that he was "impossible" to beat, that "nothing works on him", etc. I gave her the suggestion to try the arrows on him after he was "red", and that might do the trick. Well, sure enough, it worked.

She then proceeded to pick me up and hold me really high in the air. I was feeling quite nauseated from being ill and trying to eat the chicken soup. I threw up all over the place as Link picked up the triforce of power from Gannon and saves Zelda.

From that point on, I was hooked on the series.
posted by King Bee at 6:33 PM on February 21, 2011 [18 favorites]

Those commercials were horrible. Now that I've seen it again, I remember the first one ("watching" link), and I just had a physical reaction to it. I remember not wanting to play the game because of the commercial. I finally played it and enjoyed it immensely.
posted by Simon Barclay at 6:47 PM on February 21, 2011

My fave was still the SNES chapter, A Link to The Past. That game was fantastic. My cousin and I would shout "BIG KEY!", "10 RUPEES!" and "SMALL KEY!" along with the text on screen after the "duh-duh-duh-duh!" accomplishment music in the dungeons.
posted by Hoopo at 6:57 PM on February 21, 2011 [3 favorites]

Gold cartridge, dudes.


I held that cartridge in my childish hands and knew there had to be something special. And there was!
posted by cavalier at 7:13 PM on February 21, 2011 [4 favorites]

No game series has captured my imagination in the same way that that Legend of Zelda series did. There are some close seconds, but Legend of Zelda is the king.

The NES versions intimidated me greatly, and so when Link to the Past came out I wasn't very interested. And then one day I rented a SNES cartridge (F-Zero) but when I got home it was Link to the Past in the box, not F-Zero. I played the save game for a little bit, utterly confused that I was a pink bunny rabbit and I couldn't do anything, but I was completely enthralled. Even though my mom returned the game and got me F-Zero for that weekend, I couldn't stop thinking about Legend of Zelda.

That Christmas I got Link to the Past for Christmas and holed myself up in the family room for hours on end, adventuring through Hyrule. I still remember defeating the evil wizard Agahnim(sp?), thinking I'd beaten the game, only to find that the adventuring was only just beginning. To my 10 year-old brain this was the most epic thing ever.

I've since played them all but Link to the Past is my all-time favorite, and oddly, Wind Waker is a close second. Though it's often maligned by fans, I would argue that Wind Waker's visual identity and style is more in line with the spirit of Legend of Zelda than its darker, "grittier" sibling Twilight Princess.

So deep is my love for Legend of Zelda that I actually wrote a string quartet arrangement of of the title theme and then had my string quartet perform it. This was a few years before things like Video Games Live concerts were a common occurrence in the US.

Needless to say I am a huge Legend of Zelda fan.
posted by jnrussell at 7:15 PM on February 21, 2011 [2 favorites]

I played Ocarina of Time and loved every minute of it, then sort of drifted away (I've never owned a console, and I hit college, etc.). Then one day I stumbled upon to what I think is the single longest and most detailed Zelda fanfiction ever made, which inspired me to start hunting Mac console emulators and working through the backlog.

Ocarina of Time remains my favorite of the bunch, though. Although I do agree with those who say Majora's Mask is more complex and multifaceted (and creepier).
posted by AdamCSnider at 7:15 PM on February 21, 2011

I was not aware of many of these oddities. Did anyone else know that they made a updated version w/ better graphics, the ability to play as a female link etc? I had no idea and I really would like to play it.

My crowning achievement in video games when I was younger was the fact that I beat LoZ in 3 hrs w/o dying (obviously not the first time I tried). It still amazes me that there was a whole second quest after the first.

I'd really like to see Zelda get the New Super Mario Bros Wii treatment. Make it 2D, w/ gorgeous graphics, maybe multiplayer?, and try to incorporate parts of all the zelda's already made. That would be sweet.
posted by brevator at 7:17 PM on February 21, 2011

Brevator I so agree!! My favorite is still Zelda for super nintendo, I'm pretty sure I watched my brother beat the entire game twice.

That song still gets stuck in my head... dn duh doodododo doo dooo doodoo dooodoodoododood.......

did that capture it? (no? lol)

When the whole world turns into the dark world, remember that?! Regular nintendo Zelda was superbly awesome as well... (actually I'm not entirely sure which one I remember better...)
posted by xarnop at 7:25 PM on February 21, 2011

That's awesome! I still play this game every few years. I feel compelled to keep my knowledge of this game map alive, perhaps because it was the first Nintendo game I ever played. I distinctly remember using my allowance to rent an NES from the video store and choosing Zelda off the shelf. It was all about pushing that first block, then down the stairs to get the bow, late on a school night. That was to be the first of many trips to the video store, paying in bottle-return change, to get that game and others.

Also, it's my birthday today. Happy birthday, me (and Zelda)!
posted by klausman at 7:33 PM on February 21, 2011

Here's some pretty epic anniversary fan art.
posted by Rinku at 8:18 PM on February 21, 2011

It's dangerous to go alone! Take this!
posted by juv3nal at 8:36 PM on February 21, 2011

Anybody remember Link's Awakening? It doesn't get much talk anymore, but it was a pretty fantastic game in its own way.
posted by phenylphenol at 8:43 PM on February 21, 2011

The greatest game series of all time. Thank you for the delightful post.

One of these Halloweens I will go out in full Princess Zelda garb à la OoT. The Whelk, you are pretty awesome for being Link four times. I'm sorry the plebeians were confused by the magnitude of your costume glory.
posted by nonmerci at 9:00 PM on February 21, 2011

I had to eventually gut MAKE a triforce shield and sword ans that seemed to stop the peter pan references ( people thought I was robin hood...although one like older nerd adult said I was an ekf, and I was just happy was was close)

Also I can not tell you how much joy this mefi link brought me
posted by The Whelk at 9:10 PM on February 21, 2011

Elf ..and ...i am turning auto correct back on.
posted by The Whelk at 9:14 PM on February 21, 2011

The cartridges had batteries in them? I had been wondering, for at least a decade, how saved-game data was saved on those things.
posted by UrbanEye at 9:30 PM on February 21, 2011

Your breath, through a piece of toilet paper, is that which restored the saved games. Know this, and be well.
posted by The Whelk at 9:35 PM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

Was going through some old stuff at home a week or two ago, and came across this map I drew of the overworld when I was much younger...
posted by weston at 9:45 PM on February 21, 2011 [2 favorites]

There are a couple cool Zelda wikis out there. I've wasted some time on both. Zelda was always awesome. I created an entire planet once, complete with backstory and politics, and wars and peoples, all inspired by Zelda. One day I will become rich from it.
posted by IvoShandor at 10:05 PM on February 21, 2011

I mean, there is probably a reason why my first mine craft skin was a lLink kinda thing.
posted by The Whelk at 10:15 PM on February 21, 2011

Yo, phenylphenol, I've played it! I never hear much about Link's Awakening in threads like these for some reason. It was the first Zelda game I've played as well as the only where I questioned the actions of the protagonist and had sympathy for the motivations of the bad guys. And oh that ending... don't want to give it away if somebody reading this hasn't played it.

Also, being able to equip your shield was awesome, and something I never quite got used to not having in the NES and SNES games. I haven't played anything newer than Link's Awakening, and in fact I just realized I beat the games in reverse order of their release. The Adventure of Link is my second favorite.
posted by Mister Cheese at 11:54 PM on February 21, 2011

Link's Awakening is the one I'm most familiar with -- I didn't have a game console until the Dreamcast, but I had a Gameboy.

Having gone black and played every game in the series since then (except Majora's Mask, for which I watched an LP, and Ocarina of Time, for which I'm waiting for the 3DS version) I still think Link's Awakening was the best one.
posted by rifflesby at 12:48 AM on February 22, 2011

I was not aware of many of these oddities. Did anyone else know that they made a updated version w/ better graphics, the ability to play as a female link etc? I had no idea and I really would like to play it.

It's interesting, but it's not the straight-forward Zelda game the article makes it sound like, not by a long shot. The game was played in stages along with a special audio broadcast at the same time that signaled special events with voice acting. Much of that is lost in the hacked-together ROM that's floating around.

My crowning achievement in video games when I was younger was the fact that I beat LoZ in 3 hrs w/o dying (obviously not the first time I tried). It still amazes me that there was a whole second quest after the first.

I've done it without a ring and the wooden sword. Not the second quest though. I agree entirely about the second quest, which still ranks as one of the greatest bonus features ever put into a video game. It's a shame that basically no other Zelda game offers a second quest upon finishing it.
posted by JHarris at 2:38 AM on February 22, 2011

As noted above, I did go to Nintendo today, and the exec I talked with said she was unaware of this momentous occasion. Nothing was going on in commemoration, as there was with the 25-year anniversary of Mario.
posted by planetkyoto at 5:15 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Majora's Mask

DEAR GOD NO. It was an awesome game, but I had the worst nightmares for like all of 4th grade.

Majora's Mask:Ocarina of time::Brown Acid:Fancy Beer
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 7:56 AM on February 22, 2011

It's still difficult for me to put on a mask without doing the majoras mask transformation scream thing. Utterly terrifying.

I'm playing through link to the past at the moment, having just bought the GBA version of it. I rang my other half last night (she's much more of a zelda officianado than me) and happened to mention that I needed to use two fairies in bottles on the overworld just to get to the tower of hera / mountain tower. I think we are now officially separated. :(
posted by thoughtless at 9:52 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

The third save slot on my Legend of Zelda cartridge was named "XMAS 1988"

The first time I actually SAW Ganon (shortly before he killed the shit out of me) I hid under my bed.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 9:53 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

The Link's Awakening map makes a great full size poster, by the way.
posted by ilikemefi at 12:00 PM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Link's Awakening was one my favorites! I had DX which was the color version with the extra dungeon. It was awesome!
posted by Deflagro at 1:55 PM on February 22, 2011

Mrs_Eep is well known in our household as the-person-who-knows-where-everything-is. Any time we're in a scramble as a family trying to find something and she finds it first, she will *always* sing the duh-deh-dih-DAH! and hold the item over her head, just like Link.
posted by Wild_Eep at 2:54 PM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best video game series ever. I came along a little too late for the NES version so my first taste was Link to the Past. I was hooked from then onwards, and finally played the original when I was quite a bit older (actually, I think I was in college at the time).
posted by photo guy at 9:13 PM on February 22, 2011

By pure coincidence, I just downloaded original Zelda onto my Wii two days ago. I was inspired by a friend's screenshot of Link to the Past.

Zelda is what made me sneak/break into my friend's house when she and her folks weren't home so I could try it out for a few minutes. A few years later, I actually had a NES but life got in the way and I never played Zelda on it. College winter break finally spurred me to learn the whole emulator thing and play Zelda. Every couple of years I play it again. The only other ones I've played are Link to the Past (emulator) and Twilight Princess (the sole reason I got a Wii).

I'm going to go kill some fucking Wizzrobes now.
posted by zix at 6:34 AM on February 23, 2011

Nobody has come in to this thread with anything bad to say about LoZ. So is there nobody who actually hates the series? If that's true, that's astounding.
posted by jnrussell at 7:45 AM on February 23, 2011

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