Thanks To A Mistake The Legend Of Zelda Got A Second Quest

By Spencer . January 26, 2010 . 10:29pm

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Beat The Legend of Zelda or name Link “Zelda” and you get to play a harder version of the game. The Second Quest has tougher enemies, different dungeon layouts, and it wasn’t originally planned.


“I created the data exactly in line with it [the map], but then Tezuka-san made a mistake and only used half of the data,” Toshihiko Nakago, President of SRD, said in an Iwata Asks featurette. “I said, ‘Tezuka-san, there’s only half here. Where did the other half go?’ and he was like, What?! Oops, I messed up…’ But Miyamoto-san said it was fine just like that.”


After playing The Legend of Zelda, Miyamoto felt it was just right and didn’t ask Nakago to remake the game with the missing data. Instead Miyamoto suggested another way to utilize the empty space.


“So, using the half of the memory that was left over, we decided to create the Second Quest.”


Archaic, but well preserved maps of the first dungeon (left) and Second Quest (right) are above.

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  • Um… This is news? I thought it was commonly known to most people who played it, I’ve know at least since I was 5.

    Oh, and nothing happens when you name him Zelda, that’s misinformation. You need to name him Link (because at the time he had no name, he wasn’t technically named Link til the 2nd game.)

    • thiggins

      The story is about HOW the second quest came to be, not that it exists.

      And no, you’re wrong. If you name him Zelda to skip to the second quest. Go look up some scans of Zelda 1’s manual. The character’s been named Link from the start.

      • Didn’t Miyamoto say his name was originally meant to be “Chris?”

    • Jaxx-Leviathan

      I didn’t know it, even though I’m a fan, so don’t hate on information for the uninformed.

    • leeorv

      That’s misinformation in your post. nothing happens if you name him link, you get to skip the first quest if you name him zelda. and his name (Link) appears in the scrolling plot screen of the original TLoZ

  • Tokyo Guy

    Well that’s an interesting story. I remember how much harder the 2nd quest was and how long it took me to finish it at the time. As much as I love to read these kinds of stories, they are also a bit depressing, because it makes you realize how long ago the time period was, and how gaming has so radically changed; perhaps for the better, perhaps for the worst.

    • You just brought a tear to my eye. ;_;

      • Tokyo Guy

        LOL well the maps themselves brought a proverbial tear to my eye. It’s [also] somewhat depressing when you look at these kinds of things and think of how games were developed [exclusively?] with pen-and paper then, and how countless hours of effort and work went into making a game that, by today’s standards, is a “joke”.

        I think one of the largest changes in the modern game industry is that you no longer have to be creative to get somewhere. Obviously it helps, but when you think of all the tools and power that companies have at their fingertips today, and how difficult it was to make a great game in the 8-Bit days with all the limited technology…

        • As I recall, they did something similar with Shadow Complex if I’m not mistaken…

          But yea, creativity is, for better or worse, no longer necessary. It’s all about the execution now, and beyond that, about the marketing. Something else I think is a rarity is companies that actually nurture a creative environment and make work enjoyable beyond pay-raises and benefits and such.

          But you know, perhaps the reason 8-bit games felt like they had their act together more than today’s games is precisely because the teams and the tools were more limited. You had a vision and you went with it; and sure, there were technical limitations but you overcame those with creativity rather than the means you would use today, which are far more tool-oriented.

          Perhaps “joyful development” (as vague as that sounds) is the term we’re looking for. :)

          • Moriken

            Creativity kinda seems to be unwanted, actually. Who knows if something truly different that you can’t easily categorize would even sell? (this doesn’t necessarily concern games only, see: music…popular movies…etc.)

  • Chow

    I’m not quite clear on what they mean there.
    Did he mean that the existing map in the game is only half of what they originally planned and that this missing half was eventually scrapped? So does that mean that there would’ve been roughly twice the amount of dungeons to fill up the rest of that map?

    • Jaxx-Leviathan

      Hm, I think that somehow only using half the data, made the dungeons (in the case of above pictures, the first dungeon as an example) only half as complicated… apparently. Or half as big? Oh, now I’m confused too…

      • klarfis

        I think the “mistake” was just that the levels, as drawn, only used half as much memory as had been planned. So the levels were put in correctly, but then they realized that there was still a lot of space left over.

  • mFrog

    I wonder if issue was due to the Famicom Disk System which the original Zelda used in Japan. The “Disc Card” allowed you to use both sides of the disk like a cassette tape, and each side could hold 56KB. Perhaps Mr. Tezuka forgot about the available memory on the other side.

  • Those old documents are really something. Also, I found it hilarious when Aonuma started talking about how the three oldies got together and started whispering by themselves, and he had to run over to carry out damage control.

  • Jirin

    (Accidental double post)

  • Jirin

    I wish they’d put second quests in more games for us challenge lovers. ‘Hard difficulty level’ doesn’t cut it, because all it usually is is the same game except the enemies get stat multipliers. I want to see harder puzzles! Or, enemies with the same stats but more dangerous abilities and meaner configurations, so you can win without having to grind by applying a better strategy.Second quest is probably the Zelda experience I go back to most often, just because it’s the only one that’s still challenging except maybe Zelda 2. The only problem is some of the dungeon placements are too random.

    • StealthKnight

      Then again their are plenty of games that don’t have hard modes, when they should and people complain about the shortness and how easy it was. Even when a game does have a hard mode, it tends to not be that hard and it’s the only way to add length to the game.

      I like your idea’s about making hard mode hard. I think they should also add more or different events (aka spawns, placements) to keep the player from always remembering what will happen next. An even better idea would be to make Hard mode different and tough enough that you would want to play the regualr difficulty first before trying it. That would add more work though and changes in level design but it would be worth it and make the game memorable.

  • 311

    I remember that after playing the game on release day and I put ZELDA for link and had no idea that it was different until i was watching my friend play and he was asking me why I considered the game Hard and when I should him my save file he said WTF?? Ahh the old school days… GOOD

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