Legends of Localization: The Legend of Zelda

Back in the 80s, I think a lot of us kids often thought, “You know, I wonder if this game I’m playing is any different in Japan…”

Now that I’m grown up and a professional translator (see my list of my translations here), I can finally go back and experience those old Japanese games and answer those old childhood questions. Thus my “Legends of Localization” project was born.

This time, we’ll be taking a look at the Japanese and North American versions of the first Legend of Zelda game and seeing how its localization process was handled in 1985. While we’re at it, we’ll also dig into all the other differences between the games too – everything from graphic and audio changes to secret tricks removed from the North American version.

Besides the games themselves, we’ll also take a close look at their releases, their instruction manuals, their cultural receptions, and more. It’ll be a fun read, I promise!

If you’re interested, I’ve also compared other game localizations in this manner, you can check out the full list here.

Now let’s get this show on the road!