Takashi Tezuka, Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo EAD, Nintendo
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, was the first game within The Legend of Zelda series to be on the handheld market. It was the fourth instalment of the series and is only one of the few Legend of Zelda titles not to take place in Hyrule. The development of the title actually began life as a port of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past from the Super NES to the Game Boy. It was developed after-hours by Nintendo staff but soon grew into a complete project under Takashi Tezuka.
The game was to have the same feel as the television series Twin Peaks. After 18 months development time it finally released in Japan in June of 1993. The game was critically acclaimed and holds and average score of 90% across all rankings. It spurred the rerelease The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX on the Game Boy Color in 1998, fixing the only perceived issue from the original – the monochrome colour palette. It has also seen a remake on the Nintendo Switch in 2019 due to the games immense popularity.
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The game’s director, Takashi Tezuka, stated that the development for the game was basically “free-wheeling”, and noted that the Mario and Kirby cameos were put in as jokes by the development team. He described the game as “a parody of The Legend of Zelda, as an actual Zelda game.”