Related Videos

Top 10 Facts About The Legend of Zelda

VO: Dan Paradis
Script written by Garrett Alden Hero of time, triforce, save the princess...lots to unpack here. Welcome to and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Facts About The Legend of Zelda Games! Special thanks to our user “Dan Paradis” for suggesting this topic using our interactive suggestion tool at http://WatchMojo.comsuggest

You must register to a corporate account to download this video. Please login

Top 10 Facts about The Legend of Zelda Games

It’s dangerous to go alone, so take these facts. Welcome to, and today we’ll be counting down our pick for the Top 10 Facts about The Legend of Zelda Games.

For this list, we’ll be taking a look at some of the most interesting facts surrounding the long running adventure game franchise, “The Legend of Zelda.”

#10: The sword isn’t necessary to complete most of the first game

Despite the infamous warning to the player by an old man in a cave, the first “Legend of Zelda” game for the Nintendo Entertainment System can be completed almost entirely without using the sword he gives you. In fact, you don’t even have to take it at all! While incredibly useful, the sword is theoretically optional as it can be substituted by using other damage-inflicting items. However, the player does eventually need the sword to complete the game, as the final boss, Ganon, can only be defeated if the player has acquired it. A few “Zelda” games can be tackled without a sword for large portions, but none to the degree of the first installment.

#9: Famous namesakes

Link is pretty obviously based on Peter Pan, but for a Japanese game, a name like Zelda is pretty unusual. Well, that’s because creator Shigeru Miyamoto named the princess after famous American novelist and socialite, Zelda Fitzgerald, as he reportedly liked the sound of her name. However, the famous Zelda naming did not end there, as late comedian Robin Williams, who was a big fan of the series, named his daughter after the character, making for quite the chain of successive namesakes. Robin and Zelda Williams even appeared together in several commercials for “Zelda” games and the former is also referenced in “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.”

#8: The Hero’s Shade

In “The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess,” Link is educated in the ways of the sword by a skeletal ghost called the Hero’s Shade, or alternatively the Hero’s Spirit or the Ancient Hero. Much fan debate has arisen over the years regarding the mysterious spirit’s identity. However, an official book released several years ago called “Hyrule Historia” reveals that the Shade is the ghost of the Hero of Time, otherwise known as the incarnation of Link from “Ocarina of Time” and “Majora’s Mask.” Although some of the multiple Links of “The Legend of Zelda” games are aware of prior heroes to bear the name, these two are the only ones to have met, so far.

#7: The first game originally had Sci-Fi elements

Although several games in the series have featured science fiction elements, such as time travel, this fantasy adventure franchise has had science fiction in its DNA since the beginning. Or at least, that was the plan. During development, the idea was to feature a futuristic world along with the more fantastical setting the series is known for, with the famous Triforce actually being composed of microchips. The player could travel between the two settings with the hero, Link, being the aptly named “link” between both time periods. While the concept was never realized on the NES, future games saw implementation of the time travel concept, albeit not quite to the ambitious scope planned for the first game.

#6: The series was inspired by its creator’s childhood

Series creator Shigeru Miyamoto brought more than just his innovative game design philosophy to “The Legend of Zelda.” Miyamoto drew heavily on experiences from his childhood exploring the countryside near his rural hometown when creating the first game. The most common inspiration cited is an occasion when he explored a cave system with a lantern, which clearly influenced Link’s own use of lanterns and extensive excursions into caves. It’s pretty heartwarming to know that Miyamoto’s youthful adventures helped shape and inspire those of so many others.

#5: There are three timelines

The thread that ties all “The Legend of Zelda” games together has confused fans and inspired a lot of debate. The events of the official timeline do not correspond with the chronology of releases, as 2011’s “Skyward Sword” is considered the “first” or earliest game of the series. The timeline is linear up until “Ocarina of Time” where it splits into three branches, one in which the Hero of Time is defeated, one where he defeats Ganondorf as a an adult, and one where he prevents him from reaching full power after being sent back in time. Of course, this hasn’t stopped fans from debating the merits of the official timeline.

#4: The second quest was a second thought

The first Legend of Zelda game had a number of revolutionary features, including the ability to save your game, as well as a second, revamped version of the game to play upon completion. However, this second feature was added after the game had already been completed. The developers discovered that they had only used half of the space available on the cartridge, which lead to the creation of the second quest, which switched dungeon locations around and upped the difficulty in other ways, making it the first of several games in the series to have this or similar features. Think of it as a proto-“New Game+.”

#3: It almost had a less confusing name

If there’s one pet peeve all fans of the series share, it’s when people mistake the hero’s name and call him Zelda. However, the name of the series wasn’t originally “The Legend of Zelda” in Japan. It was originally titled “Hyrule Fantasy: The Legend of Zelda,” named after the game’s setting. When the game was brought to America, the “Hyrule Fantasy” was dropped, allegedly because it sounded too generic. After that, the game’s original subtitle took center stage in future Japanese installments and the rest is history.

#2: 2D Blueprint

Sometimes to move forward, you have to look back. During development of the latest game in the series “Breath of the Wild,” developers used a 2D model demo with similar graphics to the first “Zelda” game. They chose to use this prototype to test out new mechanics and environments in a simplified format, which allowed the creators to build upon these concepts more easily when developing the more advanced final product. It’s no wonder “Breath of the Wild” has such great gameplay and interesting mechanics since they have such a solid foundation.

#1: Testers complained, so Miyamoto took away their sword

The famous inciting incident of the franchise, the old man giving Link his sword, didn’t happen in the early builds of the first game. Originally, players were given the sword in their inventory to start with. However, when play testers voiced complaints about the game’s difficulty, Shigeru Miyamoto decided to remove the sword and inserted the now iconic old man in the cave. By giving them nothing to begin with, his argument essentially went, this would instill the need to explore new areas from the beginning of the game, which, with the benefit of hindsight, was definitely the right way to go.

Sign in to access this feature

Related Blogs