Hot on the heels of the 25th anniversary of Super Mario Bros., today marks the 25th anniversary of the Japanese release of The Legend of Zelda for the Famicom Disk System. Many websites have weighed in with their thoughts and feelings on this series landmark, though perhaps few have given it the amount of attention 1UP has, with several articles which look back at the best (and worst) to come from a quarter-century of questing through Hyrule.
Perhaps a bigger question still is whether or not Nintendo themselves are planning to do anything to celebrate. Do not be fooled by the anniversary graphic to your left; that one is purely fan art, based on the emblem used for the 25th anniversary of Super Mario Bros. The company is not well known for celebrating milestone anniversaries for its franchises, with the Super Mario Bros. 25th being the first of its kind to receive any sort of global fanfare from the company (they did, however, have a lower-key celebration in Japan for the series five years ago).
Make no mistake about it, 2011 is gearing up to be a big year for the Zelda franchise, with the upcoming release of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword for the Wii, and an updated remake of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time hopefully arriving on the Nintendo 3DS before the year is out. But whether Nintendo will use either one of these games to officially celebrate 25 years of Link, Zelda, and Ganon(dorf, if you must) remains to be seen.
Personally, though, we would like to see just a little more to round things out. Super Mario Bros. was celebrated with a limited-edition Wii release of Super Mario All-Stars, the 16-bit update of the original game and its sequels, and preceded by Super Mario Galaxy 2 and New Super Mario Bros. Wii in the months before it. And though All-Stars was a quick port of the original Super NES release with very little new content, it would still be nice to see Nintendo release something a little closer to Zelda‘s roots than Ocarina of Time.
Nintendo did release something along those lines several years ago for the GameCube with The Legend of Zelda: Collector’s Edition, which compiled the original game, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, Ocarina of Time, and Majora’s Mask in their original forms, all on one disc. However, the collection lacked A Link to the Past, likely due to a Game Boy Advance release being available around the same time, and it is unlikely this would be re-released for the anniversary, given that all four games are available on the Wii’s Virtual Console (in improved form, in the case of Majora’s Mask, which suffered a glitch in its save system).
The likes of Link’s Awakening, Oracle of Ages, and Oracle of Seasons also seem unlikely, as those are all Game Boy and Game Boy Color titles, and Nintendo would likely be saving those for the 3DS Virtual Console. That just leaves The Minish Cap, which is unlikely to receive any sort of special attention by itself.
So, what can Nintendo do? Is there anything left?
As it so happens, there is, and it could arguably be the best choice to fill in this niche. But unlike Super Mario All-Stars, this would require some actual work on Nintendo’s part.
BS Zelda no Densetsu and BS Zelda no Densetsu: Inishie no Sekiban were two Japan-only releases from 1995 and 1997, respectively, exclusive to Nintendo’s Satelleview attachment for the Super Famicom. The first was based on the original Legend of Zelda, and featured enhanced graphics, sound, and even voiceover narration to tell its story. However, there were numerous changes to the gameplay, including elements based on a clock, and a different map (plus a second version).
The second game was based on A Link to the Past, and though the graphics were not enhanced as in its predecessor, it too featured an all-new adventure. And instead of playing as Link, players had the choice of choosing between a boy or a girl avatar for their adventure.
You can see some footage of the first game for yourself in the video at your left.
Gathering these up, translating them, and releasing them on a limited edition Wii disc would be an ideal way to help officially celebrate the 25th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda, and in a way not too unlike how they celebrated the 25th anniversary of Super Mario Bros.
But will Nintendo do such a thing? For that matter, will Nintendo do anything? Time will tell, and we’ll keep you posted if anything develops.