Zelda: Link's Awakening
Image: Nintendo

Thirty years ago today, Link embarked on one of his most beloved adventures yet – a quest that was made all the more remarkable for the fact that it took place on the monochrome-screened Game Boy.

The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening hit Japanese stores on June 6th, 1993 (North America and Europe had to wait until August and December, respectively), following in the footsteps of Zelda: A Link to the Past on the SNES. The Game Boy title took many visual cues from its home console sibling, but was notable for some significant changes, too; it doesn't take place in Hyrule, for starters, and doesn't feature Zelda at all.

While it began life as an attempt to port Link to the Past to the Game Boy (something that wouldn't happen until the Game Boy Advance arrived almost a decade later), Link's Awakening eventually morphed into its own thing, helmed by Takashi Tezuka, Yoshiaki Koizumi and Kensuke Tanabe. It's often heralded as one of the 'oddest' Zelda adventures, but that didn't prevent it from becoming a critical and commercial smash-hit.

Here's some trivia for you: in North America, the game was used in a promotional junket which saw Nintendo World Champion Jeff Hansen become the first person in the country (outside of Nintendo, at least) to finish the game; he did it on a train, of all places (a trick they really should have used for Spirit Tracks a few years later).

In 1998, Link's Awakening was upgraded for Game Boy Color in the form of The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX, complete with colour visuals and a new dungeon. In 2019, it was remade for the Nintendo Switch by external developer Grezzo.