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Shigeru Miyamoto stated, in a developer interview, that he wanted to remake “Ravel’s Bolero” for the title screen as he thought it best suited the opening crawl seen in the final game. However, this was changed to avoid legal issues since the song was 1 month away at the time from entering the public domain.
Contributed by GamerBen144
In a developer interview, Shigeru Miyamoto stated that the game was meant to inspire the sense of adventure that Indiana Jones and adventure movies, which were popular at the time, inspired in their viewers.
Contributed by GamerBen144
The Second Quest was an afterthought. After completing development for the original quest, the developers realized it only took up half the NES cartridge's usable memory. Not wanting it to go to waste, they added a second quest where many things were changed around.
Contributed by raidramon0
The Japanese release features a glitch that allows the player to obtain hearts only accessible through the use of the bridge or raft items by using the whistle parallel to a heart container. After using the whistle, the player is taken off screen over the item, and thus it is collected. This was remedied in the international release, wherein the player simply doesn't collect the container when they fly over it.
Contributed by Ophl
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The Zora sprite's eyes and mouth were redrawn, and it received a black outline in the NES and Famicom versions. This was to make it more visible, likely because it blended into the water in the original Disk System version.
Contributed by Ophl
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While developing the game, Shigeru Miyamoto was inspired by Adventure for the Atari 2600, one of the first graphical adventure games. At one point the game was even called Adventure.
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The sprite used for rupees was actually directly taken from Clu Clu Land, which used the sprite for gold ingots.
Contributed by GamingFanatic
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All of the dungeon maps can be pieced together to form a rectangular grid. It's believed that this was done to save space on the game cartridge.
Contributed by KidDivinegon
This game was the first home console game to use an internal battery and RAM to allow the player to save their data.
Contributed by Stryker94
The English manual gives you wrong information when it comes to the boss, Digdogger. In the Japanese manual, it states that "shockwaves will cause its body to shrivel up," hinting at the recorder being it's weakness. Instead, the English manual states that it "shrivels up when attacked," which, in fact, will do nothing to it, as it is impervious to your attacks without playing the recorder first.
Contributed by gamemaster1991
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The third dungeon (of the first quest) is shaped like a left-facing swastika. This shape is actually a "manji", which is a Buddhist symbol of good fortune.
Contributed by Cavery210
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Former Nintendo of America president Minoru Arakawa was hesitant about releasing The Legend of Zelda in The United States, as he wasn't sure Americans would have enough patience to understand the game.

The following is an excerpt from "The Ultimate History of Video Games" by Steven Kent:

When the first prototypes of The Legend of Zelda arrived in the United States, Minoru Arakawa was not sure how people would respond to a complex game with text windows in it. He worries that perhaps the game was too complicated for American audiences. To test this out, he had several employees try the game. In order to give the game a fair chance, Arakawa arranged for Japanese-speaking workers to sit with American employees and translate any Kanji that appeared in the text boxes.

"It was all in Japanese, which made it really hard to play, but it was just so compelling that we kept playing it and playing it. The way the game mechanics worked, the fact that it did this great thing with that sword... It had great mechanics. Typical of Miyamoto, it had puzzles. You would come across things that would be on the island or behind a door or whatever, and you could see them, but you couldn't have them." - Howard Phillips

As he tested The Legend of Zelda on his employees, Arakawa noticed a disturbing trend. Most American workers who played the game did not warm up to it instantly. They all ended up giving the game high marks, but Arakawa noticed that some people needed as much as ten hours before they understood the game and enjoyed it.
Contributed by DidYouKnowGaming
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Each of the different levels in the original Legend of Zelda are named after the shape of the dungeon itself. With one level resembling an Eagle, another a Lion and even one based on the Moon.
Contributed by VNRob
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In early versions of the game, the old man at the beginning of the game would give you a choice between the boomerang or the wooden sword.
Contributed by gamemaster1991
The Recorder (also known as Whistle) In The Legend of Zelda uses the same sound as the Warp Whistle in Super Mario Bros. 3.
Contributed by ThisGuyInTheSuit
If you name yourself "ZELDA," you can start the second quest right away.
Contributed by ecylisis
In the American version, an old man in Level 8 tells you that "10th enemy drops the bomb". In the Japanese version, he just tells you to "search for the lion key", which is the Magical Key. The American quote actually has some meaning: killing 10 enemies in a row, the last one being killed by a bomb, significantly raises the chances of it dropping a bomb, even for red Octoroks (which normally never drop bombs).
Contributed by Mario-Fan
In the game's instruction booklet it states that the Pols Voice hates loud noises. Consequently, many players mistakenly believed this to be a reference to the game's recorder item, and were surprised to find that the instrument had no effect on the creatures. The text only applies to the Japanese version of the game, as the Famicom's (Japanese NES)second controller had a built-in microphone. By talking into this mic you can effectively kill the Pols Voice.
Contributed by DidYouKnowGaming
In an interview between Shigeru Miyamoto and "Gamekult", Miyamoto revealed that at the start of The Legend of Zelda's development, the pieces of the Triforce were actually intended to be electronic chips. The game was to be set in both the past and the future. And as the hero was the link between them, they decided to call him "Link".
Contributed by DidYouKnowGaming
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You can bypass the first locked door in the first dungeon by simply leaving and walking back in. Upon re-entering, the north door of the room is open and you can claim the key to the east to keep as a spare.
Contributed by Petie