Link (The Legend of Zelda)
|The Legend of Zelda character|
Various incarnations of Link, as seen in Hyrule Historia
|First game||The Legend of Zelda (1986)|
|Created by||Shigeru Miyamoto|
|Voiced by (English)||Jeffrey Rath (CD-i games)
Jonathan Potts (cartoon)
|Voiced by (Japanese)||Child
Fujiko Takimoto (Ocarina of Time - Hyrule Warriors)
Sachi Matsumoto (Wind Waker - Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U)
Yūki Kodaira (Spirit Tracks)
Mitsuki Saiga (A Link Between Worlds)
Hikaru Midorikawa (Zelda no Densetsu Sound & Drama)
Nobuyuki Hiyama (Ocarina of Time - Soulcalibur II)
Akira Sasanuma (Twilight Princess - Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U)
Takashi Ōhara (Skyward Sword - Mario Kart 8)
Yūki Kaji (Hyrule Warriors)
|Motion capture||Nobuyuki Hiyama|
Link (Japanese: リンク Hepburn: Rinku?) refers to several different incarnations of the same protagonist of Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda series. Link has been also featured in other media from Nintendo, including its merchandising, comic books, and a cartoon series, becoming one of Nintendo's main icons as well as one of the most well-known and popular characters in video game history.
Through The Legend of Zelda series, Link is depicted as a child, teenager, or adult of the Hylian race, originating from the fictional land of Hyrule. Link often travels through Hyrule, defeating creatures, evil forces, and the series' primary antagonist, Ganon, while attempting to save Princess Zelda and Hyrule. To defeat him, Link usually requires the mystic Master Sword and Light Arrows, or a similar legendary weapon, obtained after many trials and battles. In the course of his journey he will typically acquire various other magical objects or items, including musical instruments and weaponry.
Link has almost no spoken dialogue in the game series, except for his grunts (not including the CD-i games). Prominent facial expression has only been visible since the series appeared on the Nintendo 64. Link's creator, Shigeru Miyamoto has said in interviews that his conceptualization of The Legend of Zelda, and of Link, was based on his childhood memories of books, movies, stories and personal experiences. He tried to make people identify with Link and have the opportunity to be heroes like the character. Although at the end of some games, Link becomes vastly talented in physical and magical arts, he usually starts off the game as a regular boy. On the origin of the name "Link", Miyamoto had this to say: "Link’s name comes from the fact that originally, the fragments of the Triforce were supposed to be electronic chips. The game was to be set in both the past and the future and as the main character would travel between both and be the link between them, they called him Link."
There have been several iterations of Link in the history of Hyrule. The existence of multiple Links is made obvious on many occasions in the games; for example, the introduction sequence of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker refers to an ancient, legendary champion who is identical in appearance to Link, and directly mentions the "Hero of Time" (a title given to Link in Ocarina of Time) as a historical entity. Miyamoto has stated, "For every Zelda game we tell a new story, but we actually have an enormous document that explains how the game relates to the others, and bind them together. But to be honest, they are not that important to us. We care more about developing the game system ... give the player new challenges for every chapter that is born." However, the exact chronology of the Zelda series and the lineage of the various Links, though written down by Miyamoto and his team, has long been kept secret. Nintendo released an anthology titled Hyrule Historia in celebration of Zelda's 25th anniversary. Released in Japan in December 2011 and in North America in early 2013, the anthology details the long-sought-after official Zelda timeline.
Link's teenage appearance in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was designed with the aim of making him more handsome and cooler than all previous forms of the hero. On the cartoon design of Link in The Wind Waker, Miyamoto explained, "Link was a young boy and trying to create a very active and very energetic young boy and trying to choose the right style for portraying the young boy in a game like that we tried many different experiments. The ultimate decision we came to was that the cel-shading in The Wind Waker was the best option for expressing that." However, with the decision to make Link a teenager again in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Miyamoto explained, "Ultimately we decided that in showing a teenage Link really the best style of expressing him would be something that's closer to our graphical style in Ocarina of Time."
In the 3D games, beginning with Ocarina of Time, Link was voiced by six actors: Nobuyuki Hiyama as adult Link; Fujiko Takimoto as young Link; Sachi Matsumoto as Link in The Wind Waker; Akira Sasanuma in Twilight Princess; Yūki Kodaira in Spirit Tracks; and Takashi Ōhara in Skyward Sword. As no canonical Legend of Zelda game to date has contained substantial spoken dialogue, the part consists only of short phrases, grunts, battle cries, and other sounds. In The Wind Waker, however, Link has been heard saying the phrase, "Come on!". Voice acting in the series has been deliberately limited, so as not to "contradict players' individual interpretations of the character". In the fan-made Zeldamotion series produced by Aeipathy Industries, Link is voiced by Todd Haberkorn.
Link was portrayed by actor JR Killigrew in the live action Zelda trailer produced by Rainfall films, an elaborate April Fool's joke by IGN. Although the trailer portrayed Link as faithfully as possible by not giving him any dialogue, fans still noticed that the live action Link was right handed; director Sam Balcomb said that Killigrew did not have time to train left-handed. The Wii version of Twilight Princess is a mirrored copy of the GameCube version because most people are right-handed, so the game character matches the real-world hand movements for a larger number of players.
Humble but brave, these attributes are consistent with Link's role as the rightful bearer of the Triforce of Courage. He is known as the "Hero of the Skies" from Skyward Sword; "Hero of the Minish" from Minish Cap; the "Four Swords" Link who has no name; "Adult Hero of Time" from Ocarina of Time; "Child Hero of Time" from Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask; "The Hero Chosen by Gods" from Twilight Princess; "The Hero of Light" from Four Swords Adventures; "The Hero of Legend" from Link's Awakening, A Link to the Past, Oracle of Ages, and Oracle of Seasons; "The New Hero of Hyrule" from A Link Between Worlds; "The Hero of Hyrule" from the original The Legend of Zelda and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link; "The Hero of Wind" from Wind Waker and Phantom Hourglass; and "The Hero of Trains" from Spirit Tracks.
Link is the chosen bearer of the Master Sword, a powerful magical sword that is the bane of all evil. As a child, he challenges Ganondorf in order to try to protect Zelda before he inadvertently helps Ganondorf find the Triforce in Ocarina of Time, forcing Link to undo the damage he had caused. Link has several family members, including an uncle in A Link to the Past; an unseen mother in Ocarina of Time, who dies fleeing a war when Link is a baby; a grandmother, who raises him, and a sister, Aryll, in The Wind Waker; and a grandfather in The Minish Cap. His mother and father appear as spirits in the official manga.
He is a young Hylian boy who is renowned for his swordsmanship and fighting skill, such as his boomerang accuracy. Every iteration of Link wears a green tunic and a long green Phrygian cap and has long, pointed ears, a distinctive trait of the Hylian race and their descendants. In the Zelda trading cards released by Nintendo early in the series, it is stated that pointed ears are a sign of the Hylian royal family. In episode 4 of the Adult Saga in the official Ocarina of Time manga series, "Link Vs. Link", Impa gives Link earrings, describing it as a "rite of passage for young Sheikah men"; these later became default aspects of Link's design, starting with Twilight Princess and in Skyward Sword.  He has a Triforce mark on his left hand (with the exceptions of Skyward Sword and the Wii version of Twilight Princess), marking him as the one who will find the Triforce of Courage. He uses many weapons and items, such as bombs, the hookshot, the boomerang and the bow and arrows. When he transforms into a wolf in the Twilight Realm in Twilight Princess, he reflects the mystical aspects of the transformation and his heroism.
Though most titles in the series have depicted Link as left-handed, this is not a hard, set rule and is subject to change between games. The Adventure of Link 's instruction booklet describes Link setting off "with a magical sword in his left hand and a magical shield in his right". In A Link to the Past, he alternates hands, but this is due to sprite mirroring. The reason for this is explained in the official Nintendo Player's guide as a Hylian superstition that requires the shield to always face Death Mountain (located to the North) to protect oneself from the evil powers originating within the mountain. Starting with Link's Awakening, Link holds his sword in his left hand and his shield in his right, no matter what direction he is facing. In The Minish Cap, however, Link returns to alternately holding his weapon in the right or the left hand, depending on his orientation. At the beginning of the Four Swords Plus (Four Swords Adventures) manga, Link is referred to as the "left-handed hero" after defeating pirates that were raiding a Hylian town. In addition, Link's figurine description in The Wind Waker lists his "manual preference" as left. However, in the animated TV series and the Wii version of Twilight Princess, Link is right-handed, but the latter was done to better mirror the game's control scheme. In the game's official artwork he is shown holding his sword in his left hand. In the GameCube version, Link remains left-handed, as the game uses a traditional control scheme. Thus, Skyward Sword is the first game in the series to feature a definite right-handed Link, with even the concept art reflecting the fact.
In video games
The Legend of Zelda series
Link debuted on February 21, 1986, with the Japanese release of The Legend of Zelda. Described as a "young lad", or a "young man" who saved Princess Zelda's elderly nursemaid Impa from Ganon's henchmen, Link assumes the role of the hero attempting to rescue Princess Zelda and the kingdom of Hyrule from the evil wizard Ganon, who has stolen the Triforce of Power.
In Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (1987), Link goes on a quest to place a crystal in each of six palaces in Hyrule, so that he can later penetrate unhindered into the magically protected Great Palace, defeat Shadow Link, claim the Triforce of Courage, reunite the three pieces of the Triforce, and awaken the sleeping Zelda.
In The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (1991), a new Link must intercept the wizard Agahnim before he breaks the seal on the Dark World and unleash Ganon's fury upon Hyrule. Along the way, Link must collect three magical Pendants of Virtue and claim the legendary Master Sword before facing Agahnim. Then he must venture into the Dark World to rescue the Seven Sages and defeat Agahnim and Ganon for good.
In The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (1993), which takes place sometime after A Link to the Past, Link decides to travel the world so he might be prepared if a threat like Ganon ever comes to Hyrule again. While returning to Hyrule, Link's ship is caught in a storm and wrecked. He washes up on the shore of a mysterious island called Koholint. Link is taken to the house of a kind man named Tarin and his daughter Marin. A talking owl tells him that the only way he can escape Koholint Island is by awakening the "Wind Fish", a giant creature slumbering in a colossal egg in the center of the island. When the game finishes, Link awakens in the middle of the ocean, along with the dreamer.
In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998), a new Link must constantly travel to the past and to the future using the Ocarina of Time in order to stop Ganondorf's takeover of Hyrule and imprison him into the Sacred Realm with the help of the six sages and the Master Sword. During the game, Link is accompanied by the fairy Navi, which is a new addition to the series. Ocarina of Time is also the first 3D game in the Zelda series.
The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (2000) occurs after Link defeats Ganon and is sent back in time to his childhood. While searching for a friend (supposedly Navi who had previously flown away) Link runs into Skull Kid - a character briefly featured in Ocarina of Time, and ends up in the land of Termina. He must save this land from the evil of Majora's Mask, which has drawn the moon into a decaying orbit, threatening to crash into Termina's primary town, Clock Town, in three days. Link uses the Ocarina of Time to play the Song of Time, which he can use to travel back in time when he plays it, to relive these three days repeatedly so he can prevent the disaster. Along the way, Link finds many magical masks of his own, some of which allow him to transform. Those masks can turn him into a Goron, Deku Scrub, Zora or "The Fierce Deity", a powerful, adult-like form. Miyamoto mentioned that "we wanted Link to get inside of a wonderland, to experience the adventures and think hard about what he should do."
In The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons and Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages (2001), which occur between A Link to the Past and Link's Awakening, the Triforce sends Link on a mission to foreign lands, Holodrum and Labrynna, to stop the disruption of the seasons by the General of Darkness, Onox, and the disruption of time by the Sorceress of Shadows, Veran. After playing both games, it is revealed that the events of both games are part of a sinister plot by Twinrova to light the flames of Destruction (lit by the actions of Onox), Sorrow (lit by the actions of Veran), and Despair (lit when Zelda is kidnapped) as part of a ritual to resurrect Ganon. In the end, Link must save Zelda and defeat the Twinrova before Ganon is resurrected.
In The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past & Four Swords (2002), set at some point before Ocarina of Time, Zelda goes to the Sanctuary of the Four Sword with her friend, Link, to check on the seal containing the evil Wind Mage, Vaati. The seal has weakened, however, and Vaati emerges, kidnaps Zelda, and defeats Link. Later, Link finds three fairies, who instruct him to draw the Four Sword. The magical Four Sword divides him into four identical Links. The first Link wears his traditional green outfit; the second, a red version; the third, blue; and the fourth, purple. The Links must cooperate to overcome obstacles, collect keys, and storm Vaati's Palace so they can rescue Zelda and seal the mage away again.
In The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (2002), set hundreds of years after Ocarina of Time in the Hero of Time's adult era, the gods have flooded Hyrule and created the Great Sea to keep the Triforce away from Ganondorf. All land is underwater except the highest mountaintops of Hyrule. At the beginning of the game, Link's younger sister Aryll is captured by the Helmaroc King, a giant masked bird controlled by the game's primary antagonist Ganondorf, the latter of whom is searching for Princess Zelda. Link travels the Great Sea to rescue his sister and defeat the Helmaroc King; his quest intertwining with that of The King of Red Lions, who, after many trials, entitles Link as the "Hero of Winds". Using the Wind Waker, a magical conductor's baton, he borrows the power of the gods to aid him in his quest. The wand's user interface is similar to that of the Ocarina of Time, but uses tempo and pitch to form tunes. Link must eventually reassemble the Triforce of Courage to give him the power to fight Ganondorf.
In The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures (2004), set many centuries after Twilight Princess, Zelda and the six other mystical maidens, who are worried about the seal on the Four Sword, go to check on the Sanctuary of the Four Sword, with Link accompanying them. However, a dark, shadowy copy of Link attacks. Link is forced to draw the Four Sword to fight this Shadow Link, but when he does, he once again splits into copies of himself, and Vaati escapes.
In The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap (2004), set about a century or two before Four Swords, Link is a young boy living with his grandfather, the Master Smith of Hyrule. Link is a childhood friend of Princess Zelda, and on the day of Hyrule's yearly fair to celebrate the coming of the Picori, they go to join in the festivities. A mysterious stranger, Vaati, shows up and wins the sword-fighting competition; each year the victor of this tournament has the honor of touching the sacred Picori Blade. This sword was a gift to the Hylians from the tiny Picori and was used long ago by a legendary hero to defeat the forces of darkness and seal them away in the Bound Chest. Vaati destroys the blade and curses Zelda, and it is up to Link to repair the sword, defeat Vaati and save the princess. By the end of the game, Link has collected four elemental crystals, and infuses them in the White Sword, an incarnation of the Picori Blade. After the infusion, the White Sword becomes the Four Sword, which Link seals Vaati in, setting the scene for the previously released Four Swords games.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (2006) is set more than a century after the events of Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask, in an alternate timeline to The Wind Waker. In the game, Link is a teenage farm boy leading a fairly normal life in the pastoral village of Ordon until two of his friends, Colin and Ilia, are kidnapped by monsters. During his journey to rescue them, Link discovers that the entire kingdom of Hyrule has been covered by a dark twilight, in which most people are reduced to nothing more than spirits. However, Link is transformed into a feral wolf upon entering the twilight. While in this form, he is aided by Midna, an imp-like creature, and eventually cleanses the land from the twilight. Yet, in his attempt to save his friends, Link discovers an even greater evil only he can stop. During the game, Link travels in the normal world in his human form and when exposed to twilight, reverts to his wolf form. Link's Crossbow Training, a spin-off of the series, features Link attempting to become more proficient with the crossbow in the Twilight Princess setting.
The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (2007) revives the use of a fairy companion as in Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask. A direct sequel to The Wind Waker, it stars the same Link in a quest to reunite with Tetra after she is lost to the Ghost Ship and turned into stone by the game’s main antagonist, Bellum. He teams up with Captain Linebeck and takes to the seas again to find the spirits of courage, wisdom, and power, who eventually lead him to the Ghost Ship. In this game, Link must forge the Phantom Sword in order to defeat Bellum.
The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks (2009) is a sequel to Phantom Hourglass set 100 years in the future after Tetra finds a new land, naming it New Hyrule. In this game, Link is able to travel across the main world using a train accompanied by Princess Zelda's spirit. Link and Princess Zelda have to restore the Spirit Tracks to New Hyrule and recover Princess Zelda's body from Chancellor Cole after he uses it to revive Malladus.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (2011) is set earlier in the series chronology than all previous games. Link is born and raised in Skyloft, a land floating above the clouds. Link is a childhood friend of Zelda, who in this game is not a princess. A land beneath the clouds ruled by evil is discovered known as the surface, and Link is forced to go there after Zelda is kidnapped. He must travel between the two lands in this adventure. He wields a sword called the Goddess Sword, a magical sword that holds Fi—a servant to the goddess Hylia—which allows him to travel across the two worlds. This sword later becomes the Master Sword seen in previous games. Skyward Sword is the earliest game in the series' chronology, making this Link the earliest in the series. It is generally believed that Zelda and Link inhabited the surface which was to become Hyrule much later.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (2013) is a sequel to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and is the latest Zelda game to feature Link. Link is a blacksmith's apprentice who is forced to rescue the Seven Sages, descendants of the Seven Maidens in A Link to the Past, after Yuga, a sorcerer who has the ability to "merge" into walls and turn people into paintings, brings them to another world, the Kingdom of Lorule, in the form of paintings to revive Ganon. The ability to "merge" into walls is a new added mechanic for Link. Link's appearance is very similar to that depicted in artwork from 1986's The Legend of Zelda.
Spin-off games and other series
Link: The Faces of Evil, released in 1993 for Philips' CD-i video game console, is the only one of the three Zelda games for the CD-i in which Link is the protagonist. At the beginning of the game, Link and the King of Hyrule is visited by a wizard named Gwonam who tells him that Ganon and his servants have seized the peaceful island of Koridai and captured Zelda. After being informed that only he can defeat Ganon, Link travels to Koridai to find the magical artifact known as the Book of Koridai. Using the book, he defeats Ganon and frees Zelda. Although it features Zelda characters, the game was not produced or supervised by Nintendo nor officially recognized as part of the Zelda series.
There were two other The Legend of Zelda games released for the CD-i: Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon and Zelda's Adventure. In both games, Princess Zelda is the protagonist, as the plots involve Link's kidnapping. All of the Philips CD-i games have received very poor reception and are considered one of the worst games of all time.
Link is one of eight characters initially playable in Nintendo's 1999 fighting game, Super Smash Bros.. His design is based on his adult appearance from Ocarina of Time, wearing his traditional green Kokiri tunic, although the player can choose from several other tunic colors. He uses some weapons featured in the Zelda series, including bombs, a boomerang and a hookshot. Link is one of the fifteen playable characters initially playable in Super Smash Bros. Melee, the 2001 sequel to Super Smash Bros.. In Melee, he uses a bow as well as the Zelda items featured in Super Smash Bros.. Also playable in the game, as a secret unlockable character, is "Young Link", who is based on the child version of Link in Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask. Young Link is more agile, can wall jump and carries fire arrows, but weaker than the older Link in the game. Link was one of the first confirmed characters in Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Wii. His appearance was influenced by his character model from Twilight Princess, and uses items from Twilight Princess, such as the Hero's Bow, Gale Boomerang and the Clawshot. "Toon Link", who is based on the cel-shaded incarnation of Link that debuted in The Wind Waker, is also a playable character in Brawl. In terms of abilities, Toon Link has similar characteristics to Young Link. Both Link and Toon Link returned for Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. A new incarnation of Link appears in Hyrule Warriors as a playable character. This version is a Hyrulian soldier in training who helps leads the campaign against the forces of evil. Young Link from Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask also appears in the game as a playable character via downloadable content, and Toon Link from The Wind Waker will be added as a playable character in the 3DS port. The Skyward Sword incarnation of Link also appears as a playable character in Mario Kart 8 via downloadable content, along with a Zelda-inspired "Master Cycle" vehicle, "Hyrule Circuit" racetrack, and a new Triforce Cup.
In the GameCube version of Namco's Soulcalibur II, Link is a featured character. Little is revealed about this incarnation, but it is known that after saving Hyrule from an evil wizard who was controlled by a fragment of Soul Edge, he traveled to the wizard's world on a secret mission arranged by Princess Zelda to destroy Soul Edge. Miyamoto did not see a problem with Link appearing in what some had thought to be a "violent fighting game", as he had already been established as a fighter in the Super Smash Bros. games. Link is the only character in Soulcalibur II to use ranged weapons and the only guest character to have his own music theme and more than two costumes.[better source needed] Link was planned to appear together with Samus Aran in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, but was later removed. Armor resembling Link is available for the player to forge after completing a downloadable content quest in Monster Hunter 4 for both the male and female hunters. The Master Sword and Hylian Shield are also available as a Sword and Shield weapon, and the Hero's Bow is available as a Bow. Link also makes cameo appearances in Sonic Lost World, which features a DLC stage heavily themed with elements from The Legend of Zelda series.
Among SNES games, Link makes a cameo in Super Mario RPG where he is seen sleeping in a bed at an inn. Another reference to Link is in the Japanese version of the NES game Final Fantasy; in Elftown there is a grave marked "Here Lies Link". It was changed to a grave for Erdrick from Dragon Warrior when translated to English; however, this grave was changed back to Link in the Game Boy Advance and PlayStation and iPod touch/iPhone and PlayStation Portable versions. He appears in Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest and Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!, with a reference to Link's collection of seashells from Link's Awakening. Some of Link's weapons and items have appeared in several games, such as the Master Sword in Virtual Hydlide and Final Fantasy Tactics Advance and Animal Crossing, and the warp whistle in Super Mario Bros. 3.
In other media
In The Legend of Zelda animated series, Link, voiced by Jonathan Potts, was featured in a set of cartoons which aired from 1989–1990 as a part of DIC's The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!. Based loosely on the first game, the cartoons presented Link as a rude, lovesick teenager. Constantly pursuing Zelda and pursued by the fairy princess Spryte, he begged kisses from Zelda, and exclaimed "Well excuuuuuse me, Princess!" when tired with her attitude. Thirteen episodes were produced before the cancellation of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show. The complete series was released on October 18, 2005. A slightly altered version of this Link (and Zelda) appeared during the second season of Captain N: The Game Master.
A serial comic was created for Nintendo Power magazine by acclaimed author Shotaro Ishinomori, and later collected in graphic novel form. This told an alternate version of the events from A Link to the Past. Though Link starts out a hapless, bumbling boy, he displays great courage and proves himself a determined and competent adventurer. He has a fairy companion, Epheremelda, long before this concept was introduced to the video games. This telling portrays Link's parents as Knights of Hyrule, lost to the Dark World. It includes an original character, Roam, a descendant of the Knights of Hyrule who fought in the Imprisoning War. At the end of the story, Zelda has become Queen, and Link is head of the Royal Guard and the Knights of Hyrule. This success is bittersweet, as their duties keep them apart, even though they were once close, sharing an adventure and even coming together in dreams. There have been manga based on The Legend of Zelda, Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask, Oracle of Ages, Oracle of Seasons, Four Swords Adventures, A Link to the Past and The Minish Cap.
Reception and legacy
The character has been overall well received by critics, and was awarded a star on the Walk of Game in 2005 along with his creator, Shigeru Miyamoto. Including him in the section "top ten forces of good" in their 2004 list of top 50 retro game heroes, Retro Gamer noted Link being "one of the longest running gaming legends." Game Informer chose Link as the number one "Hero of 2006". CNET declared him the second top video game character of all time in 2009. In 2010, Nintendo Power chose Link as their second favorite hero, commenting that his courage always wins out over evil. In 2011, Empire ranked Link as the sixth greatest video game character, for being "one of the world's most celebrated console heroes" who "helped establish RPGs as an international gaming standard" as well as "one of gaming's most enduring heroes." That same year, UGO.com ranked him as first on the list of video game characters who need their own movies, adding: "Get Peter Jackson or Guillermo del Toro to do it, dump a ton of money into it, and we'll all die happy." The relationship between Link and Princess Zelda was also ranked as number one video game romance by James Hawkins of Joystick Division, who commented: "Never overtly called-out and not yet actualized, this tacit romance has shaped one of gaming's greatest franchises, and has embellished the epicness and added loving nature of each of Link's quests." In 2012, GamesRadar ranked this "personification of what a hero is" as number one "most memorable, influential, and badass" protagonist in games. In 2013, Complex ranked him as the sixth "most badass" video game character of all time, as well as the fourth best video game mascot.
Link proved to be a popular guest character in the other, non-Zelda series as well. In 2008, IGN ranked him as the best bonus character in the Soul Calibur series, while GameDaily ranked him first on the list of top ten Smash Bros. characters. The character has also become very popular among the video game fan community. In the 1988 and 1989 Nintendo Power Awards, readers voted him as the best character. He was voted by readers as the number one and three "Best Hero" in the 1993 and 1994 Nintendo Power Awards respectively. In one of IGN's 2007 Hero Showdowns and in Screw Attack's Death Battle's, Link was voted the favorite over Cloud Strife. He won multiple GameFAQs "Character Battle" contests and is the only character to have won more than once. In the Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition from 2011, Link was voted the second best video game character of all time.
There was also some negative reception. IGN named Links's appearances on the CD-i as some of his worst moments, describing this incarnation of him as feminine. In 2010, GamesRadar stated that while he does not talk, "Link has shouted the same 'Hyea! Hyea! Hyeaaaaa!' since 1998;" similarly, GameDaily included him in the 2009 list of ten game heroes who "fail at the simple stuff" for his inability to "shut up". In 2011, IGN included Link among 2011's worst dressed video game characters for "dressing like an Arizona grandma" during the first few hours of Skyward Sword.
- "The Many Looks of Link - IGN". Uk.stars.ign.com. 2007-11-27. Retrieved 2013-07-30.
- "Wii - Official Website at Nintendo". Us.wii.com. Retrieved 2012-05-25.
- "E3 2010 - Ten minutes with Shigeru Miyamoto | GoNintendo - What are YOU waiting for?". GoNintendo. 2012-03-27. Archived from the original on 2010-06-18. Retrieved 2012-05-25.
- "Miyamoto Talks About The Origin Of Link". My Nintendo News. 2012-11-04. Retrieved 2013-07-30.
- Chris Zimmerman (2006-06-19). "Gaming Legend Shigeru Miyamoto Speaks". Digital Trends. Archived from the original on 2008-06-29. Retrieved 2006-09-20.
- "The Zelda timeline". Den of Geek. 2011-11-29. Retrieved 2013-07-30.
- Leyton, Chris (2003-02-26). "The Miyamoto Interview". Total Video Games.com. Archived from the original on 2008-12-06. Retrieved 2006-09-23.
- "January 2013 New Releases; retrieved Aug. 16 2012" (PDF). Diamond Book Distributors.
Dark Horse Books and Nintendo team up to bring you The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia, containing an unparalleled collection of historical information on The Legend of Zelda franchise. This handsome hardcover contains never-before-seen concept art, the full history of Hyrule, the official chronology of the games, and much more! [...] Price: $34.99 ($38.99 CAN)
- "The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D Original Development Staff - Part 1". Nintendo. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
- IGN Staff (2004-05-12). "E3 2004: Miyamoto and Aonuma on Zelda". IGN. Retrieved 2006-09-23.
- "Miyamoto and Aonuma on Zelda". IGN. 2002-12-04. Retrieved 2009-08-20.
- "Zeldamotion Cast". 2010-10-10. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
- "Rainfall // Projects // The Legend of Zelda". Rainfallfilms.com. Archived from the original on 2011-08-07. Retrieved 2012-05-25.
- Matt Casamassina. "Editorial: Zelda on the Big Screen - Wii Feature at IGN". Uk.wii.ign.com. Retrieved 2012-05-25.
- Nintendo (2006-01-01). "The Great Hyrule Encyclopedia - Link". Zelda Universe. Retrieved 2005-09-20.
- Berghammer, Billy (2005-05-25). "Zelda's Twilight Prince: The Eiji Aonuma Interview". Game Informer. Retrieved 2014-02-01.
- "Zelda a Link to the Past - Manga / Comics". Zelda Shrine. 2006-01-01. Retrieved 2006-09-29.
- Nintendo (2006-01-01). "The Great Hyrule Encyclopedia - Boomerang". Zelda Universe. Retrieved 2005-09-11.
- Shigeru, Miyamoto. The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia. Diamond Comic Distributors, 2013. Print.
- "Link (The Legend of Zelda)". Comiccon Costumes. 2015-07-27.
- Nintendo, ed. (1997). Zelda II: The Adventure of Link instruction manual. Nintendo.
- Nintendo, ed. (1992). The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past Nintendo Player's Guide. Nintendo. p. 143.
- "Nintendo (1997). ''The Legend of Zelda'' instruction manual". Retrieved 2013-07-30.
- Nintendo, ed. (1989). The Legend of Zelda: The Adventure of Link. Nintendo. pp. 3–12.
- Nintendo, ed. (1993). The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening instruction manual. Nintendo.
- Nintendo, ed. (1993). The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening instruction manual. Nintendo. pp. 41–42.
- "The Legend". Zelda.com. 2002-01-01. Archived from the original on 2002-12-14. Retrieved 2006-09-29.
- Nintendo Power (2004-06-07). "The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventure". Nintendo.com. Archived from the original on 2007-10-12. Retrieved 2006-09-29.
- Nintendo, ed. (2004). The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap. Nintendo. pp. 3–4.
- "Interview with Eiji Aonuma" (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2007-02-02.
ND – About when is the Twilight Princess timeline set? Aonuma – In a world some hundred years after 'Ocarina of Time.' ND – And 'Wind Waker'? Aonuma – 'Wind Waker' is parallel. In 'Ocarina of Time,' Link jumps to a world seven years ahead, defeats Ganon, and returns to the time of his childhood, right? 'Twilight Princess' is a world some hundred years after that pacified childhood time.
- "Link". Smash Bros. DOJO!!. Smashbros.com. 2007-11-29. Retrieved 2009-06-03.
The design of this particular Link comes from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.
- Orland, Kyle (2008-01-29). "Super Spoiler Bros. Brawl: Major leaked roster update, videos & more". Joystiq. Retrieved 2008-01-29.
- Plunkett, Luke (August 26, 2014). "Zelda, Animal Crossing Coming to Mario Kart 8". Kotaku. Retrieved 2014-08-26.
- Hudson Atwell (2009-12-22). "SoulCaliber Zelda Costumes – Two Link Costumes". Atwell Publishing. Archived from the original on March 10, 2012. Retrieved 2008-12-23.
- "Lost cameo, Meet Ultimate Alliance Link". Siliconera. 2008-02-06. Retrieved 2009-08-10.
- "'The Legend of Zelda Series'". NinDB. Archived from the original on 2010-06-19. Retrieved 2007-02-24. External link in
- Paden Brown (2006-01-01). "Hint: Legend Of Zelda reference:". gamewinners.com. Retrieved 2006-09-29.
- "Legend of Zelda Cartoon Series & Downloads". zeldalegacy.net. 2006-01-01. Archived from the original on 2007-10-16. Retrieved 2006-09-29.
- Matt (2001-05-26). "Captain N, The Game Master: Joins Link & Zelda For A Little Moblin Action in Hyrule!". X-Entertainment. Retrieved 2006-09-29.
- Michael S. Drucker (2005-09-30). "The Legend of Zelda: The Complete Animated Series". IGN. Retrieved 2006-09-29.
- "Zelda Comics and Manga". ZeldaShrine. 2006-01-01. Archived from the original on 2007-10-13. Retrieved 2006-09-29.
- 100 best heroes in video games, GamesRadar, October 19, 2012.
- "Past Inductees". WalkOfGame.com. Metreon. Archived from the original on 2008-01-21. Retrieved 2007-12-20.
- Retro Gamer, page 36.
- "Top 10 Heroes of 2006". Game Informer (165) (Cathy Preston). January 2007. p. 54.
- Tom Merritt (December 7, 2009). "Top 5 video game characters". CNET. Retrieved 2010-04-25.
- Nintendo Power 250th issue!. South San Francisco, California: Future US. 2010. pp. 40, 41.
- "The 50 Greatest Video Game Characters | 6. Link | Empire". www.empireonline.com. Retrieved 2013-07-30.
- Meli, Marissa (2011-07-19). "Video Game Characters - Video Game Movies". UGO.com. Archived from the original on 2011-08-29. Retrieved 2013-07-30.
- James Hawkins, The Top Ten Romances In Video Game History, Joystick Division, February 17, 2011.
- Drea Avellan, The 50 Most Badass Video Game Characters Of All Time, Complex.com, February 1, 2013.
- "Best Video Game Mascots". Complex. 2013-08-23. Retrieved 2014-01-14.
- "Soulcalibur: Top Bonus Characters - Stars Feature at IGN". Uk.stars.ign.com. 2008-07-31. Retrieved 2013-07-30.
- "Top 10 Smash Bros. Characters - Page 10". GameDaily. Archived from the original on 2008-07-01. Retrieved 2009-08-07.
- "Nester Awards". Nintendo Power (6) (Nintendo). May–June 1989. pp. 18–21.
- "Nester Awards". Nintendo Power (12) (Nintendo). May–June 1990. pp. 26–29.
- "1992 Nester Awards Results". Nintendo Power (48) (Nintendo). May 1993. pp. 36–39.
- "Nester Awards Results". Nintendo Power (60) (Nintendo). May 1994. pp. 54–57.
- Pirrello, Phil (2007-10-25). "Link Triumphs in Hero Showdown". IGN. Retrieved 2007-12-20.
- "Summer 2002: "The Great GameFAQs Character Battle"". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2007-12-20.
- "Summer 2004: The Great GameFAQs Character Battle III". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2007-12-20.
- "Summer 2005: The Great GameFAQs Character Battle IV". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2007-12-20.
- "Poll of the Day #2566". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2007-12-20.
- "Fall 2007: The Great GameFAQs Character Battle VI". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2007-12-20.
- "Top 50 video game characters of all time announced in Guinness World Records 2011 Gamer's Edition". Gamasutra. February 16, 2011. Retrieved July 9, 2011.
- Robert Workman (2009-01-27). "Gallery and Images". GameDaily. Archived from the original on 2009-04-03. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
- Robert Workman (2008-12-12). "Gallery and Images". GameDaily. Archived from the original on 2009-03-01. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
- Joe McNeilly (March 25, 2010). "5 reasons to hate Zelda". GamesRadar. Retrieved 2010-04-14.
- "Ten Game Heroes Who Fail at the Simple Stuff - GameDaily". Web.archive.org. Archived from the original on 2009-04-25. Retrieved 2013-07-30.
- "2011's Worst Dressed Video Game Characters - Games Feature at IGN". Uk.games.ign.com. Retrieved 2013-07-30.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Link.|