In Nintendo’s quirky life-simulator series, you can receive various Nintendo-themed goodies for completing random tasks, and the games make constant nods and winks in Zelda’s general direction.
The second edition of Rare’s gorgeous Donkey Kong Country series encourages replay by employing a ranking system. Throughout the game there are Hero Coins to collect, and when you finish the last level your total will position you somewhere in the Hall of Fame. Strangely, you only need 20 coins to take Link’s place on the podium, but a whole 30 to take the perpetually annoying green dinosaur Yoshi’s place.
Also, Rare takes a small swipe at then-Mario-mascot rivals Sonic and Earthworm Jim by leaving their trademark sneakers and blaster next to a bin marked “No Hopers”!
Buy a shell in Bazaar’s General Store and ask the shopkeeper about the castle (but don’t pay him). He’ll tell you that a traveller named Link was in the store not long before and paid Bazaar 500 rupees for the story, before walking off muttering that the store’s shells were the wrong shape.
As far as clunky 8-bit racing games went, F1 Race wasn’t the worst. As a small saving grace, Link congratulated you at the end of Course 5 with a gaggle of scantly-clad girlies. He was probably a little bewildered with his surroundings - if not what the metal wheeled horses were, then certainly why such fair maidens were showing their bodies so.
The gravestone featured in this screenshot shows Erdrick of Enix-developed Dragon Warrior fame, a swipe at the rival developer during times when Final Fantasy was Square’s last attempt at staying afloat. In Japan, the graveyard was a bit cheekier, saying “Link”, the latest character from developer Nintendo.
A game mode fantastically called The Great Cave Offensive saw Kirby escaping an underground maze while trying to find as many treasures as possible. As you can see, the Triforce was one said treasure. Among others, you could get Captain Falcon’s helmet [F-Zero], Mr Saturn [Earthbound], and a green Koopa shell [Super Mario].
In this portable version of the wonderful N64 Mario Golf, the fourth club is named the “Link Club,” and it bares the symbol of the Triforce.
Picross is a Japanese puzzle game, a little like minesweeper. The objective is to colour squares which make a part of a picture, and to flag those that don’t. If you wrongly colour a square which doesn’t make part of the picture, then you have time deducted. In the series, each volume takes the theme of a certain Nintendo game. Volume 5 had the theme of Ocarina of Time.
As you can see, Pokemon Stadium 2 had the novel idea of letting you acquire old Nintendo consoles and games. The Zelda games available were Ocarina of Time (bottom), A Link to the Past (middle) and The Legend of Zelda (top). These came with their respective consoles. Also available was a Virtual Boy, but you couldn’t see any of its games. They said something about headaches, or something.
Squaresoft’s Super Mario epic was made even more mystical with the inclusion of Link. If you stop in Rose Town Inn you can find him sleeping upstairs. Trying to talk to him doesn’t produce any kind of conversation (he always was the silent type), but ‘that’ Zelda jingle plays instead.
The NES version of Tetris was certainly more colourful than the humble Game Boy version, but more, it had Link in it. To see him, you had to beat Game B, Level 9. The different characters appeared relative to the height you finished the level on, and the second lowest level is Link.
In the most popular MMO of all time, there’s a character called Linken who looks suspiciously like the Hero of Time in gnome form. Casting aside any doubt that this is mere coincidence, Blizzard named his quests “Linken’s Adventure” and “It’s Dangerous To Go Alone”, homages to the second and first Zelda games respectively. As a reward for completing his quests, you’ll receive Linken’s Boomerang and Linken’s Sword of Mastery, nods towards two of the most iconic items in the Zelda series.