Retro Vault is our regular weekly feature in which we dive into gaming's past and share five classic nuggets of retro nostalgia. If you missed last week's Retro Vault you can read it here.
February 21, 1986 - The Legend Of Zelda
Although The Legend Of Zelda was released five months after Super Mario Bros., both games were in development at the same time, with Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka working on both simultaneously.
The plan was that Super Mario Bros. would be linear whereas Zelda would be non-linear, and as brainstorming sessions took place for both games ideas were sorted into "Mario ideas" and "Zelda ideas".
Taking experience from his childhood, where he used to explore the fields and caves of Kyoto, Miyamoto wanted The Legend Of Zelda to give players the same sense of wonder and excitement whenever they discovered new things in the game. He deliberately decided to start the player without a sword, forcing them to enter the nearby cave at the start of the game and be rewarded with it and thereby encouraging further exploration.
The Legend Of Zelda (titled The Hyrule Fantasy: Legend Of Zelda in Japan) was a launch title for the Famicom Disk System, an add-on for the Famicom (Japanese NES) which played large floppy-like disks and allowed players to save data onto them. When it finally made it to the west a year and a half later, the lack of a disk add-on for the NES forced Nintendo to release the game on a normal cartridge, with a battery back-up RAM chip allowing for game saves. This was the first notable example of game saving.