5 Link’s Awakening Development Secrets and Oddities
It is no secret that Link’s Awakening is a different kind of Zelda game. From its odd characters to noticeable exclusions, Link’s Awakening goes off the beaten path. But that does not mean that creating the game was easy. Originally designed as the “after-school project” for a select few developers, Link’s Awakening is truly a labor of love. Along with the hard work, the staff also liked to have fun as evidenced by little secrets and easter eggs scattered throughout the world. Here is a list of 5 Link’s Awakening development secrets and oddities that happen to be our favorite. Enjoy!
1. Where is Zelda?
Link’s Awakening director Takashi Tezuka gave lead story writer Kensuke Tanabe an odd list of restrictions. Tanabe could not include the Triforce, Princess Zelda, or Hyrule in the main story. While this request seems hard and restrictive, Tanabe found it refreshing. At the time, Tanabe was working on A Link to the Past, and consistency in the storyline proved challenging. With Link’s Awakening, Tanabe had a blank slate to create a world filled with funny and interesting characters. Using the popular show Twin Peaks as inspiration, Tanabe created the unusual world of Koholint Island and wrote most of the game’s script. The only exception is the Owl and Wind Fish.
2. The Bucket Mouse
Speaking of quirky characters. Perhaps none is more quirky than Mabe Village’s old man Ulrira. For example, Ulrira is packed with useful tips but is too shy to speak to Link in person. For that reason, players must use the telephone booths scattered across Koholint Island to talk to Ulrira. But what happens when Link makes a telephone call from Ulrira’s house?
The answer is the infamous “Bucket Mouse” reference, which puzzled fans for years. Who is the Bucket Mouse? It turns out that “Bucket “Mouse” is actually a translation error. The correct statement should read, “Yeees! You’ve reached Bucketmouth!” Bucketmouth was a real fishing shop located in Osaka, Japan. Although the developers initially inserted this name as a joke, it was lost in the English translation.
3. Tarin and Treasure
There is no denying the fact that Tarin is a peculiar guy. While he loves odd food, such as mushrooms, Tarin was also supposed to love treasure. In the original game’s code, director Tsuchiyama programmed Tarin to hide in a treasure chest. As Link opened the chest, Tarin would jump out as a surprise.
During the development of Link’s Awakening DX, Tsuchiyama found traces of the code for Tarin and the treasure chest. As he thought about renewing the idea for the Gameboy Color remake, in the end Tsuchiyama did not include it in the game.
4. Marin and Malon
In an staff questionnaire, lead scenario designer Yoshiaki Koizummi revealed that Marin and Tarin also appear in Ocarina of Time. This statement confirmed what many fans already suspected: Marin and Tarin appear as Malon and Talon in Ocarina of Time.
Malon and Talon own Lon Lon Ranch. As with the songstress Marin in Link’s Awakening, Malon teaches Link how to tame horses with Epona’s Song. This callback to Link’s Awakening proves just how influential the game was on the development staff.
5. Totaka’s Stamp of Approval
Known as a mischievous developer, Sound programmer Kazumi Totaka enjoys hiding secret music in video games. True to form, Totaka included the famous “Totakeke’s song” in Link’s Awakening. The Totakeke song is a simple melody consisting of just 19 notes that replay on an endless reel. Players can find Totakeke’s song in both the original version of the game as well as the new remake on the Nintendo Switch.
- If Link stays inside Richard’s house for about two and a half minutes, the music will change from Richard’s theme to the Totakeke song.
- If the player enters Totakeke as a name in the title screen, a special version of the song will play.
There you have it. Our favorite list of 5 Link’s Awakening development secrets and oddities. While this list is not all inclusive, our hope is that fans learned something new. But we want to hear from you. What do you think about the oddities in Link’s Awakening? Let us know in the comments section below or the social media links to the right.
If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out these other articles on how Link’s Awakening is different from Breath of the Wild and A Link to the Past. Subscribe to our newsletter on our Home page to stay on top of all the latest video game news and editorials.