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Nintendo Reveal Original NES Zelda Designs

Nintendo Reveal Original NES Zelda Designs on Nintendo gaming news, videos and discussion

Over 20 years ago Nintendo designed one of the most popular video game adventures, The Legend of Zelda. Original drawings await..

The latest Iwata Asks roundtable brings together key figures in Zelda's history, looking at the original NES outing - dungeon, over-world and enemy designs, a blueprint for a Hyrule that we all know and love (and seemingly replicated in later games).

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Back then we had some long paper, and Tezuka-san and Miyamoto-san would sit side by side and draw together. You drew the stuff on the left, Tezuka-san, and the right side is Miyamoto-san's.

If you look closely, you can tell how a marker was used to make small dots. These are rocks, and these are trees. And you can see Miyamoto-san's personality. At first he's making individual dots, but as he gets tired of it, toward the top, he just fills in a bunch of space!


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The trio also discuss The Legend Of Zelda: Link's Awakening, how it began as an "afterschool activity" whilst putting the finishing touches to the equally popular SNES epic A Link to the Past. As the team had intended it to be more of a side project, a bit of fun, there was a lot less pressure to live up to the console games and greater room for experimentation - a new world, characters, structure - something fans still enjoy and some even hope for.

It was also the first Zelda game with a trading "Straw Millionaire" sidequest and what Nintendo feel had a "proper plot": characters having deeper relationships and more involvement with your quest, essentially broadening what was acceptable to use in future titles.

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We moved along at quite a good speed in a relatively freewheeling manner. Maybe that’s why we had so much fun making it. It was like we were making a parody of Zelda.

Image for Nintendo Reveal Original NES Zelda Designs


What do you think of the original Zelda designs and Link's Awakening? Do you feel this "free thinking" approach should be used in future Zelda games, where anything and almost everything is acceptable to use - instead of having to follow past games so closely.

  • Iwata Asks: A Portable Zelda History
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    28.01.2010 04:41

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    Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Article

    Very interesting. It must have been very fun to design games back then.

    Link's Awakening is still one of my favorite Zelda titles, right after Majora's Mask. The interesting characters and unique locations are what drew me in.

    I like this kind of stuff. As with movies, I like seeing the behind the scenes making of something. I feel that in this day in age, it's so easy to make a game that I feel that the creativity is gone and that games have lost their charm. There are exceptions, but overall, it's like this.


    The former top user was Keven! You'd probably give birth to yourself 1000 times over until you sprout wings to fly away into the fading sun, that or you'd just turn into a lesbian. Who knows @_@ - L, 12/06/09

    I think Zelda titles have certain things they must have in them for continuity reasons and to keep the identity of the Zelda franchise. But I think there's always room to play about with it a bit and even try new things.

    I'm sure they probably get scared of pushing things too far when small changes to things like Wind Wakers graphics caused such a stir amongst fans.

    I love Links awakening. It changed things quite a bit too, it didn't have Gannon or Zelda in it for a start.

    ( Edited 28.01.2010 10:23 by Trepe )

    Never listen to your fans; that's when you'll fuck up, in my experience. If you're great at what you do, do what you feel like.

    Iwata Asks = utterly fantastic.

    I love Nintendo do this.


    ( Edited 28.01.2010 15:03 by Darkflame )

    Please give our little random review show a try;
    http://randomreviewshow.com/index.html
    We have special effects and umm...stuff...

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