For those of you who have been gaming since the NES days, do you remember back in the day where instruction booklets were actually somewhat useful and interesting? The guys over at 1up.com have written an interesting retrospective article about none other than the instruction booklet for Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. Below is an excerpt from their article.
The Zelda II instruction booklet lays out Link’s fate with some pretty color illustrations. The whole package carries the flavor of an old fairy tale, despite essentially being a “How To Play” guide. The dark tone of the story is surprisingly appropriate for the ‘fairy tale’ label: most of us are too young to think of The Little Mermaid or Snow White outside of a Disney context, but children’s fantasy stories were not always gentle. Zelda II’s instruction booklet (and other instruction booklets from the same era) recalls an unaltered children’s story: it’s not exactly bloody (Link’s story is pretty basic and suitable for older kids), but it doesn’t feel sanitized, either.
You can check out the entire Adventure of Link instruction booklet over at our image gallery. Remember, you can also comment on individual images. I use to love old NES instruction booklets because usually this is where almost all the information concerning the game was held. There often times was very little story involved when you were actually in the game. The story usually was told within the game instruction booklet. The two NES Zelda titles were no exception to this as both of them had elaborate stories within the instructional booklets along with numerous pieces of official artwork. It really is a shame that most modern games and modern Zelda games in particular don’t really make much use of the instruction booklets.