Commercial Break is back with another selection of classic gaming advertisements for your viewing pleasure and this time around we’re focusing on the many Legends of Zelda commercials we have seen over the years.
There have been some fantastic and not so fantastic commercials for the Legend of Zelda series. So many that I felt I could easily to a special episode, just featuring adverts for Nintendo’s popular adventuring franchise.
This time around, I’ve picked a few episodes I saw here in the UK, but I’ve also found a whole load of commercials from around the world, and I guarantee you are going to love them all. Please, sit back and enjoy this concentrated dose of nostalgia.
In the 80’s, when you wanted your commercial to get noticed, you’d have a rap. Unfortunately, every other ad person in the industry had the exact same idea, and the 80’s and early 90’s were filled with terrible rap-based commercials that had almost the exact same musical structure and are just cringeworthy. North America’s advert for the original Legend of Zelda was no different, but it must have worked as the game was a huge success.
Fast forward to the Super Nintendo era, where the series really came into its own with The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past. Everything about the game was massively improved over the previous two instalments, and the result was one of the greatest games on the system, if not, of all time. This was a massively epic quest, so it demanded a suitably epic commercial, and boy did Nintendo of America deliver.
Meanwhile, over in the Far East, the Japanese had a very different style of marketing for A Link To The Past. I mean, very different. I’m still not sure to make of this one, but I guarantee the soundtrack to this advert will probably get in your head, even if you don’t know what they’re actually saying. This entry is a two for the price of one, as for the release of A Link Between Worlds, the 3DS spiritual successor for A Link To The Past, Nintendo brought back this jingle. Here are both of those adverts.
Last time I did a Commercial Break, I showed you one of a series of fantastic official Nintendo UK commercials featuring the late and very great Rik Mayall, and I’m going to show you another one right now, for the Game Boy release of Link’s Awakening. It’s very offbeat, doesn’t really have much to do with the game itself, but my word is it entertaining.
Meanwhile, for the North American marketing push for Link’s Awakening, Nintendo of America once again delved into the rap genre, and once again it was especially terrible, but oh-so-very 90’s.
Here’s another Link’s Awakening commercial, and this time we’re going over to see Japan’s marketing efforts, and once again it is completely different, but in a very cool way. Once again, I do not know what the Hell is going on, but there are puppets, doing things, and you can’t help but love it.
Back to the UK for the marketing push for the Nintendo 64’s Ocarina of Time. The following advert was part of a campaign on both television and in magazines that were somewhat controversial and as a result was pulled quite quickly and replaced – Not what you want for your big Christmas hit, although in the long run, it didn’t really harm the game at all.
When it comes to commercial partnerships, does it get any stranger than The Legend of Zelda and the World Wrestling Federation? Majora’s Mask featured as the prominent sponsor of the WWE’s Armageddon Pay Per View, and as a result, there was a special version of the game’s advertising that was geared towards wrestling fans – A big deal considering this was right in the middle of the company’s massively popular Attitude era.
For the Game Boy Advance port of A Link To The Past, Nintendo also added Four Swords, the multiplayer Zelda game that was incredibly fun with friends, and it was this addition that the Japanese commercial for the release, focused on. Once again, puppets were used to convey the fun nature of the game, and I wish more adverts did this.
We finish this look at Zelda commercials of the past, with a genuinely heartwarming commercial that might just make you a little weepy. Unless you don’t have a soul. It’s semi-common knowledge that the late Robin Williams was a big gamer, so much so that his children were named after video game characters, the most famous of course, being Zelda Williams. For the 3DS port of Ocarina of Time, Nintendo used the pair in their marketing, making for a commercial that’s truly different to any video game commercial you’ve seen, and became even more poignant after Robin’s tragic death.