Origins of the Legend of Zelda

One of the most recognizable game series, the Legend of Zelda has been a huge success.  While many Zelda fans pride themselves with knowing the entire history of the world we know inside the Zelda games, most probably don't know how it all began.  As one of the best selling games of all time, the Legend of Zelda has quite humble beginnings that can bring out the adventuring child in all of us.

The father of the Legend of Zelda is none other than game guru Shigeru Miyamoto.  Born in 1952 in the small Japanese town of Sonobe, Miyamoto enjoyed running free as a child.  He often comments that the free roam aspect of the Legend of Zelda series came from the adventures he used to have as a child.  Near his home in Sonobe he often wandered into caves, climbed hillsides, and even found hidden lakes during his childhood days.  He enjoyed the feeling of not knowing what was around the corner and this influence can be seen in the varies different worlds and areas in the Legend of Zelda games.

One of the single most important "adventures" that Miyamoto when he was a child was exploring a cave with a lantern.  He had often went to visit the cave, but was always too afraid to enter alone.  One day he gained the courage to enter and that experience was one of the biggest influencers while he was creating the Legend of Zelda series.  He wanted gamers to feel the same experiences he has as a child running around and finding new and exciting places. 

When he first created the game, many people did not understand the concept.  At that time, games were more guided and users were used to more direction in order to know how to proceed through a game.  Even in the tests done with the first Zelda game proved gamers were a bit confused on how to follow the story line.  However after much debate, Miyamoto was able to convince the company that his idea of a free roam game was the way to go.  After millions of copies sold and a multi game series, it is obvious that he was correct in his thinking!

Zelda fans often wonder where the main characters of Link and Zelda came from.  Where they just random creations of Miyamoto or did they have ties to the world we live in?  The fact is Miyamoto created both characters from influence of the real world. 

Some people have noted that Link looks an awful lot like Peter Pan.  Well, those people would be correct in their statement.  Miyamoto wanted people who played the Legend of Zelda games to be able to relate with the game more.  That being the case, he decided to chose something that was well known at that time.  Peter Pan is the boy that never grows up, much like Link, and was a perfect fit for the adventuring world Miyamoto had come up with.  It is also interesting to note that just like Miyamoto, Link is a young boy adventuring in a world outside his small town finding areas of excitement and wonder.

As with any "knight" it's always good to have a Princess to complete the story.  Zelda was actually based of a real person from Miyamoto's childhood years; her name was Zelda Fitzgerald.  Zelda was well known as the first real "flapper" of her time and was the wife of none other than the writer F. Scott Fitzgerald.  When asked why he chose her to model his princess after he mentioned that he thought the name seemed pleasant and significant.  There is no doubt those terms describe both Zeldas of Miyamoto's life.

Miyamoto is undoubtedly one of the best video game creators of all time.  He has created such classics as Donkey Kong and Super Mario Bros and of course the Legend of Zelda series we all love.  As one of the best selling video game series, the Legend of Zelda has created a world that gamers of any age can related to and fall in love with.  All we can do is hope that Miyamoto keeps creating games that follow our childhood dreams of adventure.

April 12, 2015 by Kane Avellano
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