Back in the day there was a period during which I was pretty game crazy. That being said, I still pick up a controller from time to time.
In those days, in addition to reading game magazines I used to collect the sales flyers for games that were distributed at different toy stores (although I only ever picked them up for the titles I was interested in). This happens to be one of those flyers, and it is a bit unique as promo flyers go. Usually these are distributed in tandem with the release of a new game, however.....
This is a flyer for “The Legend of Zelda: Triforce of the Gods” (known in North America as A Link to the Past), released on the Super Famicom in 1991. What’s interesting about it is that it was distributed pretty well in advance of the release of the game.
Here’s a quick explanation of “The Legend of Zelda”:
“The Legend of Zelda” is a popular RPG game that was put out by Nintendo and the “Legend of Zelda” series still continues to this day.
“The Legend of Zelda” was released on the Famicom Disk System in 1986 and it’s sequel “The Adventure of Link” was released the following year. And then, after a 4 year absence, in 1991 the “Triforce of the Gods” shown in the flyer was released.
Interestingly, this flyer wasn’t distributed in promotion of the release of the new game, but rather to suggest that “since there’s still some time before the next Zelda is out, why not try out the previous “Legend of Zelda” games while you wait?”
It’s pretty rare that a company makes a flyer suggesting that gamers try out the previous game before playing the latest one!
That being the case, the upper half of the flyer displays the overworld map from the first “Legend of Zelda”. Unfortunately, it doesn’t include the maps of the underworld dungeons. But it still has the locations of the dungeons, shops and the like, so it’s still pretty useful to have.
Since there was still a bit of time left before the game was going to be released, the name used on the lower half of the flyer showing game screens and explanations is simply “New Legend of Zelda” (Tentative Title). I guess they hadn’t even decided on a title yet!
I would think that would be because it had been four whole years since the last title, and back then that was a pretty long time. 1991, the year that the new Zelda was released, had still only been 12 or 13 years off from the “Space Invader Boom”. Plus the history of video games was still pretty short at that point. At that point after 4 years there were probably a good chunk of people who were unaware of the first title’s existence.
There’s also the fact that the previous “Legend of Zelda” was a Disk Sytem game (I originally wrote about the Disk System here). The Disk System was a peripheral released for the Famicom that can be most easily described as the “Famicom’s floppy disk”. The system enabled easy game saving and overwriting of game data on the disks.
Toy stores all over the country had machines called “Disk Writers” that allowed you to bring in a disk and get a get a different game written to it for 500 yen. Given that Famicom software was about 5 to 6000 yen a pop, and Super Famicom software was 8000 to 10,000 yen each, you can see just how cheap that was at the time!
You also pretty much never saw a four-year-old cartridge game still being sold at retailers, so there was something to be said of being able to bring your “Disk System” floppy in to the store and having a new game written to it.
This is the instruction flyer you got when you got the new game written to your floppy.
However, in 1991 the Disk System was dying off and new software was pretty much nowhere to be found, so perhaps this was all a ploy to raise the popularity of the Disk System at that time.