News Article

Iwata Asks About Zelda Handheld History

Posted by Rebecca Gunn

Ancient documents unearthed, and the US drama that inspired Link's Awakening

A newly translated Iwata Asks has popped up on the Nintendo Europe site and this time the focus is on past releases rather than a current title. Inspired by the old stories that were recalled in the New Super Mario Bros. Wii edition, Mr Iwata asked Toshihiko Nakago, Takashi Tezuka and Eiji Aonuma about the history of the Zelda titles, starting with the release of Link's Awakening.

It includes interesting info on the old games, such as the revelation that Link's Awakening is inspired by US drama Twin Peaks. For those who don't remember or were not around when it aired, Twin Peaks was a drama about a small town thrown into turmoil when a homecoming queen is murdered and everyone's a suspect. Tezuka was inspired by the idea of a town full of suspicious people and adapted that to Link's Awakening. Originally it was visualised as a port of Link to the Past and initially wasn't even an official project, being described as akin to an "after school club" at first (if only all after school clubs were as productive!). The trio consider Awakening a turning point in the series in terms of story and characterisation, even saying that Ocarina of Time may not have been the game it was otherwise.

They also discuss the appearances of other Nintendo characters in Awakening, the experience of working with Capcom on the Game Boy Colour's Oracle series and even an in-depth look at the design documents for the original Zelda on the NES! The team discuss how Ganon was originally called "Hakkai" (a name inspired by the pig-like character "Chohakkai" from the story "Saiyuki", better known as Journey to the West), and how the team made the game fit the NES memory size almost too well, leading to the creation of the "Second Quest" unlocked after beating the game co-created by Tezuka and Miyamoto.

Fans of the Iwata Asks series will be pleased to know they also confirm that at no time for any handheld Zelda has Miyamoto upturned any tea-tables.


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User Comments (14)



Cipher said:

I had to write about Twin Peaks for an English Language exam last year. I have come to loath the show.

Absolutely fantastic interview though. My favourite yet.



Starwolf_UK said:

Those development document bits were great. I'm surprised they kept them for so long (usually companies destroy such things). I wonder if they've ever thought of publishing them in some form (I'd love to look through concept art etc...). I didn't know about the Zelda 1 dungeons all fitting together. That is neat.

Aside from that I'm pleased Nintendo themselves appreciate Link's Awakening as I feel it is a slight underdog as far as the games go.



warioswoods said:

It's a fantastic interview, and I'll repeat how happy I am with the Twin Peaks inspiration behind what is easily my favorite Zelda game. Iwata Asks is the most fascinating gaming-related series of any sort on the web.



x10power said:

These recent news articles about the original Zelda and now Links Awakening really are stating to help me plan my own Zelda game I am currently working on which I just got Link to move. This news has really inspire me to work on it (I am programming it by hand after all in Java).

So far call I can say is that I am using the original Zelda graphics, and could turn out to be a mini game or into a small Zelda type game.



MarkyVigoroth said:

Upturn any tea tables?
I actually did that over a conflict over a conflict of interest in the Dominican Republic last year, except I did that in a public dining table? (Interestingly, someone who looked like Mr. Miyamoto looked back to see my little mess!)



BlueBandanaJake said:

All the dungeons in Link to the Past were on a single map too. I know there are a few glitches in the GBA version that make for some interesting clear times for the game

Thanks for posting this, I love Zelda so much, and Link's Awakening is my personal favorite.



Stuffgamer1 said:

That was a great read, especially seeing those Zelda 1 dungeon maps. I'm a bit confused about the wording of the origin of the second quest, though. How would a "mistake" have resulted in only using half the memory? Isn't that more like intelligent programming?



James said:

@stuff - They designed the game to fit exactly into the available memory, but there was a miscalculation along the way and they ended up only using half. Mr Miyamoto doesn't strike me as "half empty is OK" kind of chap so they sought to add more. Hope that helps



Kelvin said:

That's a fascinating tidbit about Twin Peaks. Regarding Ganon's porcine nature; I thought that was obvious!

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