Monday, February 21, 2011

25 Things You May Not Know About Zelda

1. The Japanese Versions of Zelda I and II Had Different Music
Many NES classic weren't released on the proper NES (Famicom) in Japan. Rather, they were released for a peripheral called the Famicom Disk System.
The FDS hooked up to the original Famicom and offered the ability to save games, along with a few hardware tweaks like an extra sound channel. This meant that not only did Nintendo have to put batteries into cartridges to allow for save games, many developers had to cut the music entirely.
In Zelda's case, the extra sound channel meant that some of its musical tracks and sound effects sounded richer.

2. There Was a Dedicated Zelda Handheld
Nintendo released a Zelda game in its line of dedicated LCD Game & Watch units in 1989.
Based on the original Legend of Zelda for the NES, the game is significant as not only the last Game & Watch, but as the last handheld Nintendo would release before the Game Boy.

3. A Chip Shortage Delayed Zelda 2
There were more reasons for gamers having to wait for NES games than slow localizations. The demand for titles was so high that many famous games, including Zelda 2, were significantly delayed in their American releases due to a chip shortage in 1988.
At least, that's what Nintendo said at the time. The company was operating in the wake of the Cabbage Patch Doll craze, and Coleco had allegedly used artificial sources to generate the hype. Even the the ABC show 20/20 questioned the authenticity of the shortage.
It reminds us of the release of a certain console in 2006...

4. Link's Awakening Was Censored in America
Oh, the days of Nintendo's draconian content restrictions. They gave us a boring and bloodless Mortal Kombat and censored localizations of many Japanese games, including Link's Awakening.
The character Schule paints a picture in the game, and while American gamers were none the wiser, Japanese players were treated to a tasteful nude hippo.

5. Link to the Past Had A Hidden Room You Probably Haven't Seen
Nintendo Power used to have all sorts of contests that would let fans design content or get their names into sequels to their favorite games. On lucky fan got his name into Link to the Past.
Too bad nobody could find it- it was hidden away in a secret room only accessible by breaking the game, with a plaque than simply read, "My name is Chris Houlihan. This is my top secret room. Keep it between us, okay?" problem. 

6. Fox McCloud Hates Link
As Smash Brothers proves, not all Nintendo characters get along. Fox McCloud of StarFox fame apparently hates Link and even goes after him in Ocarina of Time.
With a little coaxing from the Action Replay or similar cheating device, players can discover a very aggressive version of Fox's starship, the Arwing, that will attack Link on sight.

7. Twilight Princess on the Wii is Backwards
Outraged fans cried foul at the right-handed Link in the Wii version of Twilight Princess. Link had always been a lefty (unless you count the right-handedness caused by NES sprite flipping.) Shigeru Miyamoto modeled that aspect of the character off of himself.
Well, most people -- around 85% -- are right handed. Nintendo didn't want any confusion with the sword controls in their flagship Wii title.
Except they didn't just change Link, they mirrored the entire game world, making life a pain for underpaid strategy guide writers everywhere.

8. Ocarina of Time Had An Expansion Pack
The N64's signature title was not originally an N64 game. During the early production of Ocarina of Time, it was developed for the 64DD, an optical disc drive that never came out in America and lived a short, inglorious life in Japan.
Even after the game moved to the N64 proper, Nintendo continued to work on Ocarina of Time: Master Quest, an improved version of the game with lots of new content. It never saw release on the short-lived peripheral, but was released as a pre-order bonus for Wind Waker on the GameCube.

9. Skyward Sword is Not The Same Game Announced in 2009
The Skyward Sword we saw at last year's E3 is not the game Nintendo originally started working on. In 2009, Miyamoto claimed the next Zelda game would not be "radically different" from previous versions.
However, four months later, the game's producer Eji Aounuma said that he and Miyamoto had agreed to not follow the same template and to change things up. Miyamoto echoed those sentiments in May of 2010. So sometime in 2009, Skyward Sword underwent a major design revision.

10. Ocarina of Time Had a Song Removed
Remember the Fire Temple music from Ocarina of Time? Don't be so sure. If you played the game immediately after its release, you heard a slightly different track than those who bought later versions of the game.
The original version had a Muslim prayer looped into it, and was later removed to avoid causing offense. 

11. There Was Almost a Zelda 1 Remake for Game Boy
The Oracle games originally started life out as a remake of the original NES Legend of Zelda. Yoshiki Okamoto of Capcom approached Miyamoto with the idea and, after much back and forth, got the go-ahead.
Unfortunately for Okamoto, he was in over his head and his team's tweaks to the original game resulted in an entirely new overworld map.

12. There Was Supposed to Be a Third Oracle Ganme
When Okamoto ran into trouble attempting to remake the original Legend of Zelda for the Game Boy Color, Miyamoto came to the rescue with his idea for a trilogy called the Triforce series. Over time, this planned trilogy produced the two GBC Zeldas, Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages.
What happened to the third one? Even Miyamoto's reworked concept proved too difficult and Capcom scaled the planned trilogy down to two titles.

13. Link's Awakening is Based On a Non-Zelda Game
Fans have always noted how different the story of Link's Awakening is from other Zelda titles. That's because despite the Zelda skin, it's more of a sequel to a little-known Japan-only title, The Frog for Whom the Bell Tolls, than any Link to the Past.
There are even characters from TFWBT in the game- the exiled prince Richard makes a cameo.

14. Tingle Has His Own Games
Tingle is a very confused man who thinks he's a faerie. Western fans love to hate him, but he's popular enough to have his own series of games in Japan.
His four-game series reign began in 2007 with Freshly-Picked Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland, which tells Tingle's origin story and was released only in Japan and Europe. Nintendo of America passed on the opportunity to publish the game.
Tingle's Balloon Fight DS was a prize for Club Nintendo Platinum members. 2009 saw the release of Ripening Tingle's Balloon Trip of Love in Japan, along with the Too Much Tingle Pack for DSiWare.

15. Crazy Tracy from Link's Awakening is In Another Game
Captain Rainbow, a Japan-only Nintendo game featuring washed-up Nintendo characters that never earned a following, features the oft-forgotten Crazy Tracy from Link's Awakening. She lives in the center of the island where the game takes place, in a grand mansion where she plots to enslave the men of the world.
When talking about Captain Rainbow, many overlook Tracy's appearance in favor of discussing an unfortunate scene where the player must scour Birdo's room for her vibrator (no, seriously.) 

16. There's a 16-Bit Remake of Zelda 1
While children were busy being bored by the Sega Channel in America, kids in Japan were playing around with the Satellaview, an add-on peripheral for the SNES that hooked up to satellite TV like the Sega Channel hooked up to cable. Games were broadcast at set times, and system owners had to be ready to play. All titles had to be played in one sitting.
Three Zelda titles were released for the system, one of which was a remake of the original NES title with freshly updated 16-bit graphics and sound, a la Mario All-Stars.

17. There Are Two Zelda Games You'll Never Properly Play
There were two more BS (Broadcast Satellite) games. BS The Legend of Zelda: The Ancient Stone Tablets, was a complete Zelda title broadcast over four weeks in 1997. The Legend of Zelda: Triforce of the Gods was a version of Link to the Past broadcast especially for the system.
While technically ROM files for these games are out there and playable, the live nature of the original BS broadcasts means you'll never be able to play them as they were originally intended.

18. Zelda Games Came Out for Non-Nintendo Systems
Well, excuuuuse meee, princess. You say you've already seen clips of the disastrous CD-i Zelda games on YouTube. But do you know the reason Nintendo allowed these abominations to exist?
In the mid-nineties, Sega had made significant inroads in the console market, and though their Sega CD add-on was a commercial flop, Nintendo still felt the need to combat it. It struck a deal with Philips to create a CD-ROM add-on, but as most of us know, it was never actually released. The deal left Philips with the rights to use Mario and Zelda in its own CD-i games, which it did, ensuring fodder for YouTube comedy videos for years to come.

19. Some Non-Nintendo Zelda Games Were Actually Good
Not all instances of Nintendo lending out its IP to outsiders ended in disaster. When Nintendo teamed up with Capcom, it gave us three separate handheld classics: Oracle of Ages, Oracle of Seasons, and The Minish Cap were all designed by Capcom, not Nintendo.
Despite Capcom's success, Phillip's failure still makes fans flinch when Nintendo announces new partnerships.

20. Zelda Is Part of a Complete Balanced Breakfast
The 80s were a Nintendo-crazy era. Zelda and Mario even got their own breakfast cereals. Called the Nintendo Cereal System, each box was divided into Mario and Zelda sides.
It was a typical marshmallow-based licensed cereal (yes, there were enough of these things to call this 'typical.') Like all other sugar-packed cereals, it was billed as a part of a complete nutritious breakfast that, according to the commercials, consisted of milk, orange juice, two bowls of cereal, a stack of heavily buttered toast and a premature death due to childhood diabetes. 

21. The U.S. Version of Zelda 1 Removed A Feature
The NES we got in the U.S. was not completely identical to the original Japanese Famicom. The Famicom featured hardwired controllers, a top-loading cartridge slot, and a microphone.
The Pols Voice enemies that populate the game could be killed by yelling into the microphone. With no such peripheral on the NES, the functionality was removed from the American version. However, hints to the original nature of the game still exist in the English instruction manual, which claims that Pols Voice is sensitive to loud noises.

22. A Work-In Progress Version of Zelda 1 Leaked On the Internet
Nintendo is renowned for their secrecy. That's why it was such a big deal when a prototype ROM of the Legend of Zelda leaked onto the internet in 2010.
Made for the Famicom Disk System, this version of the game is not only significantly easier, but even features different art for some of the enemies.

23. There is Lots of Debug Stuff Left on the Wind Waker Disc
When game makers finish a game, they don't go through and meticulously wipe their footprints away. Instead, they lock up the data and call it good enough. This means that clever hackers can access this data to get a look at possible alternate versions, levels, or cut features (as Rockstar learned the hard way with the Hot Coffee scandal.)
While Wind Waker doesn't have any hidden sex scenes, it does feature music, weapons, and superfluous rooms used for bug testing.
The recent advent of PC GameCube emulation has allowed curious individuals the chance to access and play around with these hidden items. 
24. Ocarina of Time Was Almost a First-Person Game
Early on, Zelda creator Shigeru Miyamoto was pushing for Ocarina of Time to take place entirely in first-person, so as to emphasize the vastness of Hyrule field. Thankfully, he changed his mind once the young Link/old Link dynamic was put into place, as he felt it important that the player see the difference.
The idea would be revisited in Link's Crossbow Training for the Wii in 2007.

25. Each Zelda Has a Distinct Theme Written By the Same Guy
Koji Kondo, the man responsible for the most memorable Zelda and Mario tunes of all time, still works on the series. To keep things fresh, he likes to have a different theme for each game, as he told Nintendo Power in 2006.
"Each game in the Zelda series has a slightly different vibe. Majora's Mask had an exotic Chinese-opera sound; and Wind Waker had sort of an Irish influence on its music. As we started thinking about the music for Twilight Princess, I got some guidance from the developers that they'd like music reminiscent of eastern Europe." 


PvtCarlin said...

Crazy stuff. Zelda is easily my favorite franchise of games.

chrischaos said...

well damn now i know all i need to know :D

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The Dream Journal

christopher said...

i didn't know..any of these.

blows my mind that they were thinking of making an entirely FPS zelda game!

LifeHacks said...

I've play zelda like twice in my lifetime!

LoneIslander said...

I never really liked Zelda but those were some interesting facts though.

Guzzi sager said...

Very informative post. Keep up the good work. I would really look forward to your other posts

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