Nostalgia: The Legend of Zelda Game Manual

Will Thompson On July 4, 2010 04.07.2010 with 19 Comments

Do you remember when games gave you awesome instruction booklets? Not a flimsy black and white instruction manual on how to insert your game into your system, but a colorful book with story and descriptions of enemies and items? I remember those days, and it’s sad to say that it’s rare that games include anything more than cheap 8 page control book.

So I decided to bring a little bit of the past back with a look at an old classic. The original Legend of Zelda instruction manual in full amazing color.

What do you guys think? This was pretty awesome right? (click to view the images)

Will Thompson

Will Thompson

An artist from New York. Will has been writing, designing, and loving video games since he was young. He has traveled across the United States, and parts of Canada in order to learn more about the world of gaming. After visiting E3 for the first time in 2009, he has vowed to return there and show off a game of his own. In his spare time he tinkers with electronics, programming, and of course collecting video games.

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19 Responses to “Nostalgia: The Legend of Zelda Game Manual”

  1. Barpraat says:

    WTF, there’s a Swastica in the booklet!

  2. @Barpraat

    The swastika (from Sanskrit svástika ????????) is an equilateral cross with its arms bent at right angles, in either right-facing (?) form or its mirrored left-facing (?) form. Archaeological evidence of swastika-shaped ornaments dates from the Neolithic period in Ancient India. It occurs mainly in the modern day culture of India, sometimes as a geometrical motif and sometimes as a religious symbol. It remains widely used in Indian religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Though once commonly used all over much of the world without stigma, because of its iconic usage as Hakenkreuz in Nazi Germany the symbol has become stigmatized in the Western world, notably even outlawed in Germany when used in that context.

  3. Dustin Rue says:

    As a kid I was completely captivated by the Zelda manual. The clay map thing was just incredible to me. Most manuals, especially since the Wii came out, have been a complete let down.

  4. Damien says:

    @ Instant Awesome

    It’s also the Kanji for eternity in Japanese culture.

  5. Skotski says:

    That’s beautiful. Why aren’t manuals as colorful nowadays?
    A game always wins me over when the manuals are in full color.

    …they probably try less because those who read manuals are a dying breed. :(

    I still read manuals to this day. And whenever I’m bored, I have a stack of video game manuals to look through. Heck, I still find out things I didn’t know in games to this day because of that.

  6. J@]{O says:

    I like the picture of the overworld looks awesome.

  7. Mark says:

    I really wish instructions manuals were still this awesome. I remember a time when the instructions manual was always the first thing I tore through ’cause it had so much cool artwork and gave so much more character to the world and stuff. The Pokemon Red/Blue is another great example of this. That manual was awesome and made me incredibly excited to play the game. Too bad most of them suck now. >_>

  8. Jamie says:

    Ah, the memories :o).

  9. EdEN says:

    I actually own two original copies of this manual: one is pretty beat up but the other one is Mint. Wished that today manuals would be even half as good as this.

  10. [...] Check out all the pages from this instruction booklet here [...]

  11. Dinosaur Rex says:


    You’ve never played the game, that’s the shape of that dungeon.

  12. [...] a look at Infendo’s site for the full article and manual, and revel in the adorably poor Nintendo of America localization. [...]

  13. Alan says:

    I still have the instruction booklet with all my other Zelda stuff. It’s missing the front and back covers but is otherwise in good condition (same for my Adventure of Link booklet). I saved all of the booklets for the Zelda games, they’re always cool to look at.

    I agree with Dustin Rue, I was always inspired by the artwork and writing in this booklet and must’ve read it a gazillion times. In fact, I’m still trying to figure out how to enter those so-called “invisible doors” in the merchant’s caves! lol

    Thank you, The Legend of Zelda: Instruction Booklet, for many years of fond memories.

  14. Alan says:

    oh yeah, one last thing…

    If you really want to know just how inspiring this manual is, just look closely at the way the Magic Sword from Soul Calibur 2 is styled!

    I got a real bad case of the warm fuzzies when I first saw that.

  15. Josh says:

    Nintendo needs to remake Zelda 1 with the art style of this instruction manual.

  16. [...] a look at Infendo’s site for the full article and manual, and revel in the adorably poor Nintendo of America localization. [...]

  17. Fairlady Z says:

    “If you need instructions, check the enclosed instruction book.”

  18. Old School says:

    Its like everything else now a days its all about money. In the 80′s they took time in putting a product together now they have no photos just a bunch of safety warnings to try to cover there A** so they wont get sued. Gamers would read the manuals if they were actually worth reading

  19. [...] o manual de The Legend of Zelda em sua plenitude no site Infendo – basta clicar aqui. publicar no [...]

  20. [...] you and the locations of all the secret rupees – the page at is also a good source. – scans of the manual at the instruction manual oddly enough refers to zola as a “she”, and it’s [...]

  21. sonicriders says:

    Very helpful! Thanks. The instruction manual for the Virtual Console version (On Wii) is so extremely useless…this is fantastic!

  22. TaffyPool says:

    According to this, Dodongo is a rhinoceros. Who knew?!

    Here I always thought it was some sort of triceratops/dinosaur.

  23. Comgeek30 says:

    Thank you for uploading this! I didn’t actually get around to playing this classic until my late teens-early 20s, but I remember something about a little man in a green suit, hearts and a sword as a kid (I was only 4 when the game made its U.S. debut). The instruction manuals to games today definitely leave a few things to be desired compared to manuals from Zelda’s time.

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