It's dangerous to go alone!
"It's dangerous to go alone! Take this." is a quotation and Internet meme from the 1986 video game The Legend of Zelda for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES).[nb 1] It is spoken by an unnamed old man, met in the very first cave of the game, who gives the player-character Link a sword to help him on his quest to defeat Ganon and rescue Princess Zelda. The quote has been repeatedly referenced in video gaming and other forms of media and has been established as a recognisable phrase within pop culture.
In 1986, Nintendo released the original The Legend of Zelda video game on the Nintendo Entertainment System. The game follows the adventure of the protagonist, Link. It opens with Link exploring Hyrule and, upon entering a cave, meeting an old man who offers him a sword with the words, "It's dangerous to go alone! Take this." The player is given no further explanation on how to progress within the game world and must control Link carrying the sword to defeat Ganon, assemble the Triforce and save Princess Zelda. Series creator Shigeru Miyamoto had intended for players to explore the game without hints and commented, "I thought it would be more enjoyable to play the game without any help."
The quote has spawned a number of variations and has been a popular image macro. The most popular use as an image macro was an image of a kitten in someone's hand with the quote added to the image. The quote has also been used by a number of websites for titles to articles. IGN positioned it at #22 on their top 100 video game moments list and claimed that the scene was the best example of the exploration element found in The Legend of Zelda. GamesRadar featured it in its list of the 40 most repeated video game quotes as well as the top 100 best video games quote list. UGO Networks' Sal Basile included the quote in a list of "what we learned" from The Legend of Zelda. Ozzie Mejia for Shacknews opined that the quote, "has become synonymous with gaming in the 35 years since they were first spoken. More than that, it's seeped into the greater world of pop culture. It's been referenced in other games, television, merchandise, memes, and much more".
The website Ludum Dare hosted a 48-hour contest in 2011 wherein game developers had to develop a video game in that span of time with the theme "It's Dangerous To Go Alone! Take This!". The contest had 352 participants.
The 2012 video game Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why'd You Steal Our Garbage?!! features the character Jake the Dog saying to fellow protagonist Finn the Human, "Hey, man! It's dangerous to go alone!" The game was developed in part as an homage to The Legend of Zelda series.
Nintendo used the quote in 2015 as a tagline for The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes, which features three different Links working together to save Hytopia Kingdom from a curse. Advertising for the game included the slogan, "It's dangerous to go alone...so don't".
Nintendo reiterated the original quote in advertising blurb for the limited edition Game & Watch: The Legend of Zelda unit, released in 2021, which includes versions of The Legend of Zelda, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link and The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening. The quote was updated to read, "It’s dangerous to go alone – take these!"
- Due to technical constraints, the original Japanese version of this line (published with the 1986 Famicom Disk System release) was rendered in single-byte katakana rather than double-byte Shift JIS characters as would be expected for standard Japanese writing. The original line reads: Hitori de wa kiken ja kore o sazukeyō (ヒトリデハキケンジャ コレヲ サズケヨウ). The line was also rendered in hiragana for Week 1 of the 1995 spin-off title, BS Zelda no Densetsu, as (ひとりでは きけんじゃ これを さずけよう).
- Nintendo Co., Ltd (February 21, 1986). The Hyrule Fantasy: Zelda no Densetsu (Famicom Disk System) (in Japanese). Nintendo.
- Nintendo (August 6, 1995). BS Zelda no Densetsu (Satellaview) (in Japanese) (Aug 95 ed.). St.GIGA.
- Mejia, Ozzie (21 February 2021). "It's Dangerous to Go Alone: 35 Years of The Legend of Zelda". Shacknews. Retrieved 2021-11-27.
- The Legend of Zelda Instruction Booklet (PDF). Nintendo. 1987. p. 41.
- Wilde, Tyler (2012-06-23). "The 40 most repeated game quotes". GamesRadar. p. 2. Retrieved 2014-05-03.
- Plunkett, Luke (2009-08-06). "It's Dangerous To Go Alone. Take This. And This. And This..." Kotaku. Retrieved 2014-05-03.
- Turi, Tim (2010-06-15). "It's Dangerous To Go Alone, Take These Ocarina Of Time 3DS Screens". Game Informer. Retrieved 2014-05-03.
- Florence, Ion (2012-12-28). "It's dangerous to go alone! Take these Android apps into the New Year". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2014-05-03.
- ""It's Dangerous to Go Alone!" - #22 Top Video Game Moments". IGN. Retrieved 2014-05-03.
- "The 100 best video game quotes of all time". GamesRadar. 2013-05-30. Retrieved 2014-05-03.
- Basile, Sal (2011-11-29). "Zelda: What We Learned". UGO Networks. Archived from the original on 2014-05-03. Retrieved 2014-05-03.
- Smee, Andrew (2011-06-29). "Ludum Dare 20: It's Dangerous To Go Alone!". Rock Paper Shotgun. Retrieved 2014-05-03.
- Drake, Audrey (2012-08-28). "Adventure Time 3DS: Zelda II in the Land of Ooo". IGN. Retrieved 2014-05-03.
- "The Legend of Zelda™: Tri Force Heroes for Nintendo 3DS - Official Site - Gameplay Pictures, Videos". www.zelda.com. Retrieved 2018-10-26.
- "The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes TV Commercial, 'Don't Go Alone'". iSpot.tv. Retrieved 2018-10-26.
- "It looks like Game & Watch Zelda handheld allows dual region game versions". Destructoid. 2021-11-02. Retrieved 2021-11-28.