My academic background is in Japanese language and culture. I love gaming, and I particularly love "The Legend of Zelda" series.
"Easter Eggs" (defined here as cameos, irrelevant tricks, or just silly off-shots) have been a common staple in video gaming since "Created by Warren Robinett" flashed across Atari screens in the early '80s. Gaming franchise giant The Legend of Zelda has employed its own fair share of easter eggs over the decades. Most of them are known by just about everybody (as opposed to being, you know, a secret to everybody), but they are still just as golden as the day they were first happened upon.
Eggs were chosen based on uniqueness, cultural impact, and overall silliness.
1. Ganondorf Goes Fishing
In the climactic battle of Twilight Princess, during the final stage of dueling Ganondorf, it's possible to use your fishing rod to distract him long enough to get in a couple of good sword slashes. Either simply wave the line in front of him or cast it behind him, and he'll be so entranced that he'll completely forget Link is there.
There are a couple of theories (beyond "the developers thought it was funny") about why Ganondorf loves him some fishing rods:
- He's from the desert, where fishing is rare. Odds are he probably thought Link was practicing a new form of sorcery.
- Ganondorf is actually a cat.
NOTE/SPOILER: It's also possible to do this with the bug net in the final battle against Demise in Skyward Sword. Nintendo knows how to stick with what works.
Although only accessible via ROM cheats or a Gameshark for the Nintendo 64, this still has to be one of the coolest easter eggs in any game. The developers of Ocarina of Time included a Star Fox Arwing in the beta version of the game in order to test and fine-tune the game's "Z-Targeting" system. The Arwing was never removed from the final product. It's possible to unlock this Arwing in Kokiri Forest using the Gameshark or ROM cheats—and even beat it.
Oh, and it will shoot lasers at you. So do a barrel roll.
3. Ikana Canyon Shenanigans
Some of the most endearing parts of Majora's Mask are all the silly tidbits developers put into the sidequests—probably as a way to brain bleach the player from all the soul-crushingly depressing motifs of the main story. The game's vast assortment of masks do their fair share of causing some hilarious moments in the game. Three of the best moments all happen in the Ikana Canyon area, with two of them happening during one fight.
- Wearing the Garo Mask, Captain's Hat, or Gibdo Mask will make the ReDeads of Ikana Castle dance. It's explained by a Garo Ninja that the ReDeads were once part of a dance troupe.
- If Link wears the Bremen Mask while fighting Igos du Ikana's henchmen, he can play the marching song and lead both henchmen on an amusing march across the room. This only lasts for a limited time, however, before they both come to their senses and attack Link again. (Also, attempting to climb on Igos's throne to make him march results in Link getting a swift boot.)
- When Igos decides to do the job himself, Link can switch to the Keeta Mask and cue a special cutscene where Igos actually believes Link is Keeta . . . but only for a moment.
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4. Gossip Stones Just Got Weirder
Because Gossip Stones weren't already odd enough in their various incarnations already, the developers decided to essentially make them . . . Link's toys.
Using a variety of weapons on Gossip Stones will produce interesting effects, as the video above shows. Perhaps the weirdest/funniest ones are using a bomb to make them blast off into space, or playing the "Song of Time" to make them produce a fairy. Gossip Stones can also be messed with in Majora's Mask and Skyward Sword, which produce different results.
5. Kittens, Yay!
The island of Skyloft in Skyward Sword has an odd race of felines called "Remlits," who are sweet and adorable by day and literal monsters by night. As the video shows, there's a place near the Goddess Statue only accessible via the clawshot that allows Link to play in a flower field of Remlit kittens. They'll follow him around, love on him, and, should Link feel cruel and boot one off the cliff, it'll flutter back up using its ears.
Thank goodness they're not there at night.
(Maybe Ganondorf's a Remlit?)
6. The Cucco Whisperer
In previous Zelda titles, attacking Cuccos caused a Rampaging Flock of Death to descend upon Link until he either A) escaped to another screen/inside a building or B) died. But in Twilight Princess, the relationship between Link and the Cuccos completely changed: instead of ganging up to kill him, the Cucco under attack would allow Link (or the player, really) to control it for a very limited time. There isn't much you can do with the Cucco other than laugh at it flail around, but it makes one wonder what happened to the Cuccos between Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess. Clearly? Remlits.
Crime never pays in the Zelda world, at least not on Koholint Island. If Link manages to slip items past the shopkeeper and, ahem, borrows the items for the rest of the game, then some pretty funny stuff happens. First, Link's name is changed from whatever the player chose to "THIEF" for the remainder of the game or until . . . Link waltzes back into the shop he stole from earlier. Waiting for him will be the shopkeeper, who will blast Link to death with a giant, seizurific laser beam. Hey, why should Link do the job of saving Koholint Island? Clearly, the shopkeeper is the real man for the job!
Get this man a fishing rod. To save us from the Remlits, of course.
8. Chris Houlihan Room
Nintendo ran a contest before the release of A Link to the Past, in which the winner would get a "special top-secret room" named after them. In actuality, this is a "failsafe" room, meant to be a landing point should the game glitch while Link falls into a hole. But it's still a cool little easter egg. Later releases took out Chris Houlihan's name and replaced it with "Top Secret Room." Aw. Poor Chris. Also, poor Chris simply because Link's doing what he does best, and that's raiding all those rupees.
9. Marin's an Expert
For a portion of the Link's Awakening game, Link escorts Marin to various places and plot points. Although most players probably just zoom right to where they're supposed to go with Marin, there's actually a lot of fun little scenes you can have with her, including falling down holes (she lands on Link), digging, messing with chickens . . . but my favorite one is taking her to the Crane Game, where Marin proceeds to pick up the game operator with his very own crane! She then gets both her and Link kicked out because "pros aren't allowed." Thanks, Marin.
10. "It's a Secret to Everybody!" The Redux
Since the first utterance by a Moblin in the original The Legend of Zelda, "IT'S A SECRET TO EVERYBODY" has made a re-appearance in just about every Zelda game to follow. Some notable ones include a "mysterious man" in A Link to the Past picking locks for you, Princess Zelda divulging secrets about the Sacred Realm in Ocarina of Time, a Goron in Twilight's Princess's Castle Town sharing his "special place," and a Kikwi (and others!) making reference in Skyward Sword.
What Did You Think About the Eggs?
Did you enjoy this short compilation of Zelda easter eggs? Even if you already knew them all, hopefully, they were still a trip and a half to remember. Join me next time to learn about how Zelda can lose all of her hearts . . . and other silly secrets.
betabeater on January 09, 2019:
amazing how they totall forget in the original LoZ for the nes, if you name the main character zelda. it changes the how the dungeons work.
red9anon on April 25, 2015:
Ganon is a boar dummy, not a cat.
username666 on July 09, 2014:
why there is no ben drowned?
random twili dude on May 03, 2012:
woo hoo! Ganon will now be a piece of cake! 3rd reason is that may have ADD lol