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[Community Showcase] Five interesting facts about The Legend of Zelda

12/7/11 11:00am
tl;dr

 5 unique facts about the game that started it all, The Legend of Zelda.

 The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword recently came out and I have been playing it non-stop. This game marks the 25th anniversary for the series! Due to this monumental occasion, I thought it would be cool to take a look back at the game that started it all, The Legend of Zelda on the Nintendo Entertainment System. Most of these facts will be in my Gaming Historian episode (which is currently in production). If you have anymore cool facts, leave a comment below. Let's begin! 

1 - It was inspired by Shigeru Miyamoto's childhood

Miyamoto grew up in Kyoto, Japan. As a child, he treated his house like a maze. He didn’t have many toys, so he would go exploring in the woods. One time, he was hiking and found a lake. The thrill and excitement of discovering was the basis for The Legend of Zelda. From the book Game Over – “Miyamoto once discovered the opening of a cave. He returned to it several times before he worked up the courage to go in. Lugging a homemade lantern, he went deep inside until he came to a small hole that led to another cave. Breathing deeply, his heart pounding, he climbed through. He never forgot the exhilaration he felt at this discovery.” 

2 - The first home console game to use an internal battery

When Nintendo was getting ready to release The Legend of Zelda in the US, they ran into a little problem: How are players going to save the games progress? The Legend of Zelda was originally released on the Famicom Disk System, so there was no problem saving there. But on a Nintendo cartridge? Luckily, the brilliant engineers at Nintendo added a small cell battery inside each cartridge for game saving. Can you imagine if you couldn’t save your progress in this game? YIKES! 

3 – First stand-alone game to sell 1 million copies for Nintendo

The Legend of Zelda was Nintendo’s first stand-alone million seller (I’m not counting the Super Mario Bros. game packaged with every console). Nintendo had a hit on their hands, and the series hasn’t stopped since. 

4 – Created the Nintendo Hotline

Minoru Arakawa, president of Nintendo of America at the time, thought The Legend of Zelda would be too hard for American gamers. Along with including a map with the game, Arakawa added a toll-free number in the manual so players could call if they got stuck (although it was really for warranty services). He hired 4 people to man the telephones. Soon, they were swamped with calls about not only Zelda, but several other Nintendo games. This eventually turned into the Nintendo Hotline, a paid phone service to get help on your favorite games. The hotline is now closed and Nintendo is directing players to use the internet for help. 

5 – Princess Zelda is named after Zelda Fitzgerald

To quote Miyamoto: “Zelda was the name of the wife of the famous novelist Francis Scott Fitzgerald. She was a famous and beautiful woman from all accounts, and I liked the sound of her name. So I took the liberty of using her name for the very first Zelda title.”

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