The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (1993)

by Nish
7 minutes read


A trailblazer in handheld gaming, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening combines traditional Zelda gameplay with new mechanics and a captivating story. Set on the mysterious Koholint Island, Link’s quest to awaken the Wind Fish remains a beloved adventure among fans and a high point of the series.


Released for the Game Boy in 1993, Link’s Awakening transports players to the mysterious Koholint Island, where Link finds himself stranded after a shipwreck. To escape the island, Link must awaken the slumbering Wind Fish. The game’s unique setting and story, combined with classic Zelda gameplay, create a memorable adventure.


“The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening” is a captivating action-adventure game developed and published by Nintendo for the Game Boy in 19931. It was the first installment in the series to be released on a handheld game console1.

The game begins with the protagonist, Link, embarking on a journey across the oceans in a small sailboat. After completing his training in foreign countries, Link sails back to his home, Hyrule. However, a storm destroys his ship, and he washes up on the shores of the mysterious Koholint Island.

Unlike other games in the series, “Link’s Awakening” does not take place in the land of Hyrule and does not feature Princess Zelda or the Triforce relic. Instead, the game is set on Koholint Island, guarded by a whale-like deity called the Wind Fish.

Stranded on the island, Link assumes the role of the hero, fighting monsters and solving puzzles while searching for eight musical instruments. These instruments are crucial to awaken the sleeping Wind Fish, which is the only way for Link to escape from the island.

The game’s development began as an effort to port the Super Nintendo Entertainment System game “A Link to the Past” to the Game Boy. However, it grew into an original project under the direction of Takashi Tezuka, with a story and script created by Yoshiaki Koizumi and Kensuke Tanabe.

The game’s world was designed to feel like the television series “Twin Peaks,” and the majority of the “Link to the Past” team reassembled for “Link’s Awakening”. After a development period of one and a half years, the game was released in Japan in June 1993 and worldwide later in the year.

“Link’s Awakening” was critically and commercially successful, with critics praising the game’s depth and number of features. Despite some complaints about its control scheme and monochrome graphics, the game sold more than six million units worldwide.

An updated re-release, “The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX,” was released for the Game Boy Color in 1998. This version featured color graphics, compatibility with the Game Boy Printer, and an exclusive color-based dungeon. A high-definition remake for the Nintendo Switch was developed by Grezzo and released worldwide in 2019.

In conclusion, “The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening” is a unique and engaging installment in the Zelda series. Its innovative plot, immersive gameplay, and memorable characters have left a lasting impact on the gaming world, making it a classic in the action-adventure genre.


Alongside Link, the game features a host of unique characters, including Marin, a girl who dreams of life beyond the island; Tarin, her father; and the mysterious Owl, who guides Link. Each character contributes to the rich tapestry of the game’s narrative.


Players navigate dungeons, solve puzzles, and engage in combat, utilizing items and abilities to progress. The game introduces the concept of collecting and using different items to access previously unreachable areas, a mechanic that would become a staple in the series.


As the first portable entry in the Zelda series, Link’s Awakening is a landmark title that showcased the potential of handheld gaming. Its innovative design, engaging story, and enduring charm make it a classic that continues to captivate players.

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