Bomber’s Notebook #020 – Zelda’s Recurrences in Modern Culture

The Legend of Zelda has had a lasting impact on the video game industry as well as many aspiring and successful developers. There’s no denying that the franchise’s imprint is forever embedded in gaming and in the hearts of many gamers, as Djinn pointed out in his recent article on culture and Zelda. Today I’m going to elaborate on this idea and provide some more examples outside of gaming where the franchise rears its head.

It has truly become a household name like Nintendo’s flagship franchise, Mario. Seeing as how each game sells millions of copies, Zelda has a grandiose audience. Several famous icons working in the industry today cite Miyamoto as one of their greatest influences and inspirations. Video gaming as a whole is profoundly prominent in the popular culture of young people, so it’s no surprise that allusions to Zelda have been made in forms of media frequently since the series’ conception. Make the jump to read more!

YouTube Celebrities

See that handsome face in at the top of the page? That’s Ian Hecox, one half of the comedic duo known as Smosh. I’ve been avidly following them since 2007, and since then I’ve witnessed them dropping many references to the Zelda series. Whether it be as subtle as a Zelda poster on the wall, a shirt bearing an emblem or a flat-out video about Zelda, it seems as if the franchise was a dominant force in their lives. Zelda Dungeon has done several news posts about small references made by Smosh, but they’re small fry compared to their ultimate tribute to Miyamoto’s legacy:

As I pointed out, this is not the only time Smosh has alluded to The Legend of Zelda in their videos. Zelda Dungeon has actually covered many of these references, like here, here, here, here, or even here. The last link takes you to the Smosh’s Zelda Rap, while the one right before that shows Robin and Zelda Williams’ reactions to the viral video. Yes, Zelda Williams was named after Princess Zelda (yet another sign that Zelda has had a potent influence on popular culture).

In fact, when one types in “smosh” in the YouTube search bar, “smosh zelda rap” is the foremost result. Likewise, when YouTuber “hiimrawn”‘s name is inputted into the search bar, “hiimrawn zelda rap” tops the list. You can watch the video below:

Legend of Neil

Zelda Dungeon followed new releases of “Legend of Neil” episodes whenever they came out. What’s surprising is that the web series had so many installments and was so popular on the internet. It is truly a testament to the widespread appreciation for Zelda. The final episode was posted on the front page of Zelda Dungeon on October 27th of 2010, but I’m sure that myself and many others still remember the witty and occasionally inappropriate hijinks of ornery old Neil.

Fan Films and TV Series

We now return to Bomber’s Notebook #018, where I mentioned the Zelda fan film that almost was and the popular “Fistful of Rupees” web series that many of you will have fresh in your memories.

For those of you unfamiliar with what exactly happened with the failed fan film “The Hero of Time”, here’s a brief summary pulled from the editorial two weeks ago:

The notion of a Zelda movie has been made before, and in late 2010 a full-length Zelda fan-made movie was released in theaters briefly, but was promptly shifted to the internet and then shut down completely by Nintendo in an attempt to protect the franchise’s identity from the contaminating hands of fans who may misrepresent the identity of Zelda.

And of course, we have the infamous Zelda cartoon television show from 1989. The show comprised of thirteen episodes, each fifteen minutes long. The TV show was heavily influenced by The Legend of Zelda and partly by The Adventure of Link, as evidenced by Link’s brown hair and the age-old appearances of classic Zelda characters. As is expected, the show features many recognizable items, dungeons and enemies in animation and in the dialogue. Perhaps one of the most indelible references was to Dodongos, an enemy found quite frequently in dungeons in The Legend of Zelda. I’m sure you’ve all heard of “I can’t wait to bomb some Dodongos!”.

More importantly, The Legend of Zelda television show spawned the unbelievably popular “Excuuuuuse me, princess!” quote. Its overwhelming success as an internet meme probably derived from Link’s overuse of these exact words on the show. In only 200 minutes of screen time, a whole two minutes of time are dedicated to Link spouting this insufferable catch phrase. Care to take a look?


Silly quotes from Zelda have created some unprecedented memes, but it seems as if the majority of them come from The Legend of Zelda and The Adventure of Link for the Nintendo Entertainment System and A Link to the Past for the Super Nintendo. Awkwardly structured sentences and rather blunt and uninformative pieces of advice can make for some pretty hilarious moments.

It’s a secret to everybody“, “It’s dangerous to go alone! Take this“, “Dodongo dislikes smoke“, “I am Error“, “If all else falls use fire“, “Hey! Listen!“, “Link checked the chest. Wow, this is a nice chest!” are among some of the most unintentional gut-busting and unforgettable lines from the series. Almost all of them have become online sensations in their own right, which I think is just absolutely fantastic. How many video game franchises do you know can produce so many comical excerpts? Also, several iconic sounds from an array of Zeldas have been used to indicate some type of achievement. Did you unearth an intriguing item? Quick, cue the “Open Treasure Chest” theme!

In Music

A few months ago, an R&B song was found to have a sampling from Zelda music in it. In fact, it’s so prominent among the theme that it would be impossible for fans not to notice its existence. It literally serves as the backdrop for the singing. R&B trio SWV’s song “I Missed Us” received attention from all corners of the Zelda fandom, whether it be positive or negative.

Listeners to the dubstep genre (including myself) may have found remixes of classic Zelda tunes on DJ Ephixa’s YouTube channel. The dubstep artist took well-known tracks from The Legend of Zelda and put a robotic spin on them, transforming them into legitimate dubstep songs while also retaining the melody of the Zelda themes they borrow from. Since then and even before then, many dabblers in the world of electronic music have taken a stab to recreating famous Legend of Zelda compositions.

In Video Games

Of course Djinn has already covered the majority of titles that take inspiration from Zelda, but there are more to be detailed. The first game I’d like to mention is 3D Dot Games Heroes for the PlayStation 3. It’s like a retro version of The Legend of Zelda brought into the third dimension… a very blocky third dimension. It’s almost as if the game was meant to be in 2D, but someone messed up and made it 3D instead.

This creative re-imagining of the NES classic constantly alludes to the game it so frequently borrows from. Everything from the protagonist’s sword beams, the concept of traveling to various perilous dungeons and slaying large bosses all remind you of Zelda. There’s just simply no way for you to miss the references. 3D Dot Game Heroes not only flatters Zelda but is strangely charming. The characters say witty, dorky things that will have players snickering. For example: “You might not know this, but the Flame Temple is full of raging fire!”

Doesn’t this look familiar?
A long time ago, I had a conversation with a member on the Dungeon Gaming Network Forums about an A Link to the Past copycat known as Crusader of Senty for the Sega Genesis. It’s not very well-known and definitely hasn’t stolen the limelight among other Zelda imitators. Of course, I’m referring to Darksiders, Darksiders II and Ōkami, which are all spectacular in their own right and in the case of the Ōkami, incredibly artistic.

Crusader of Centy features a similar health system, on-screen control scheme and themes to A Link to the Past. In fact, for the second half of the game, the player may only talk to animals. This is strikingly reminiscent of the transformation of characters into different species of animals in the Dark World. It’s an oft-overlooked title that pays loving homage to A Link to the Past that also attempted to cash in on the audience of Zelda-lovers.

So those are just a few instances where The Legend of Zelda has heavily influenced the works of others. Were any of these tidbits new to you? Did you know them all? If you can think of anything else, feel free to let us know in the comments section below!