May 19, 2011 6:00 PM | Matthew Hawkins
Back in the day, NES games had many elements that were lost in translation, as the saying goes. In certain instances, you often got the impression that those responsible for retelling a game's story or other bits of text perhaps didn't care as much as they could have. Though one big reason for such awkward or confusing information was purely technical: spacing issues with text boxes forced many names, verbs, adjectives, and so forth to be abbreviated to the point of nonsense, or in some cases omitted entirely.
While not quite up there with the first Metal Gear (you know, "I feel asleep!!"), the dialogue in the first Legend of Zelda is quite stiff. Well, freelance translator GlitterBerri recently translated the original Japanese script herself, and has provided a line-by-line comparison of the version we all grew up with and her own, new and improved take.
The end results are lines that are far gentler, inviting, even playful in tone. Like "IT’S DANGEROUS TO GO ALONE! TAKE THIS" vs. "It’s dangerous to go alone. I shall grant you this." Meanwhile "SECRET POWER IS SAID TO BE IN THE ARROW" vs. "There is a creature that is weak against sound" points towards changes to the game due to hardware differences (the original employed the microphone that was built into the player 2 controller of the Famicom). Whereas other bits of original info are simply a mystery.
For those curious, the differences are even more pronounced in Adventure of Link.