Nintendo's Storyline

The order of the Zelda games that is generally accepted, and which this site uses, is "Ocarina of Time," "A Link to the Past," "Link's Awakening," "The Legend of Zelda," and "The Adventure of Link." This order makes sense, and the story of these games supports this order.

However, two important people in Nintendo's organization are quoted saying otherwise. These are: Shigeru Miyamoto, the Japanese gaming god who created the Mario, Zelda, and Metroid games; and Dan Owsen, an employee of Nintendo of America who has helped translate many of Nintendo's games into English. Both say that the order of the series is "Ocarina of Time," "The Legend of Zelda," "The Adventure of Link," and "A Link to the Past." They claim that "Link's Awakening" can fit anywhere in the series. Dan Owsen even went so far as to say one should ignore the back of the ALttP box, which says that the characters in ALttP are ancestors of the ones in LoZ and AoL.

Miyamoto created the Zelda games, and Dan Owsen translated them to English. Shouldn't they be experts on the storyline? How can anyone even think about going against their word? Well, I hate to say this, but they are wrong. This cannot be the order of the series, at least not in America. The Master of Hyrule, who works for the prestigious Zelda HQ, says that in Japan they have a different storyline than in America. This seems like the only possible explanation for their insistence on an order that is clearly wrong.

The American storyline is easy to defend. According to the American storyline, "Ocarina of Time" comes first and then "A Link to the Past." According to the Japanese storyline, "The Legend of Zelda" comes after "Ocarina of Time." How is this possible? In OoT, Ganon is sealed in the Dark World by the Seven Sages. In LoZ he invades Hyrule and steals the Triforce of Power. In ALttP Ganon sends his alter-ego Agahnim into the Hyrule to break the Seven Wise Men's seal. Hello, are we seeing a little inconsistency here? How can Ganon be trapped in the Dark World, then somehow escape and be defeated, and then when he comes back to life be trapped in the Dark World again? This is clearly not right.

"Link's Awakening" is a little harder to defend. After looking at the possibilities, however, we can see that this game only fits in one place in the storyline. The manual says:

Though you fulfilled the Hyrulian prophecy of the Legendary Hero and destroyed the evil tyrant Ganon, the land of Hyrule enjoyed only a precarious peace. "Who knows what threats may arise from Ganon's ashes?" the restless people murmured as they knitted their brows and shook their heads.

According to the manual, Link completely destroyed Ganon before going on his journey. Therefore, it could not come after "Ocarina of Time," in which Link merely helped banish Ganon to the Dark World. There are only two known instances of Link destroying Ganon: in "A Link to the Past" and in "The Legend of Zelda." In LoZ, there is no reference to a "Legendary Hero," and Link is clearly too young to be a hero of legend anyway. In OoT, when Link was young he could not wield the Master Sword and be the Legendary Hero of Time, all because he was not old enough. Isn't it then reasonable to assume that Link in LoZ was too young to fulfill another prophecy about another Legendary Hero?

In ALttP, however, there are plenty of references to a "Legendary Hero." On page 8 of the manual, for example, the title is "Your Quest as a Legendary Hero." The third paragraph says, "You, as the legendary Hero of Hyrule, must enter the Dark World..." Page 42 of the manual gives an excerpt from the Hylian Book of Mudora concerning the legendary Hero of Hyrule. Since the Book of Mudora was written long time before even "Ocarina of Time," this can be considered a prophecy. "Link's Awakening" can only come after "A Link to the Past."

Perhaps Miyamoto and Dan Owsen are not wrong, at least from their viewpoint. If their order is really the order of the games in Japan, I'm very interested to know how the stories of the Japanese Zelda games differ from the stories of the American ones.