Breath of the Wild references a lot from the Zelda series’ 30 year history. There’s the obvious references such as places being named after important characters (e.g., Lake Saria, Mount Daphnes, Linebeck Island, Kaepora Pass). There’s references to places in other games (e.g., Spectacle Rock, Arbiter’s Grounds, Lost Woods, Temple of Time). And there are surprises you’ll stumble upon while playing, such as, if you head to the location marked “Ranch Ruins” on your map, you’ll discover that they’re the ruins of Lon Lon Ranch from Ocarina of Time. Bridges in Central Hyrule are named after Zelda 1 bosses, Eventide Island is a love letter to Link’s Awakening, and Tingle’s legacy endures with all four Tingle brothers having their own near-namesake islands. These are just some of the numerous references found in the game.
During the week, we stumbled upon a Tweet that made reference to a Zelda game we’d all but forgotten about.
"Wand of Gamelon isn't canon"
— Mario Castañeda (@wrackune) March 29, 2017
The first image is from Breath of the Wild. The second is from Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon, an obscure Zelda game released in 1993 for the Philips Compact Disc interactive (CD-i) console. The game came about when Nintendo partnered with Philips in the early 90s to develop a CD-ROM add-on for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. The attempts to develop the CD-ROM add-on failed; however, Nintendo gave Philips a license to use five of their characters on the CD-i system. As a result, three Zelda games were produced: Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon, Link: The Faces of Evil, and Zelda’s Adventure.
Unfortunately, the CD-i console was a flop, and the Zelda games released for it were not deemed to be part of the series’ official canon. “I don’t know that those really fit in the Zelda franchise,” said Eiji Aonuma in a 2013 interview.
Further investigation reveals that the above allusion to The Wand of Gamelon is not the only reference to the CD-i games in Breath of the Wild. Reddit user ZeldaFreakNA discovered that Breath of the Wild’s Knight’s Shield is identical to the shield used by Link in The Faces of Evil.
Then there’s the sidequest in Breath of the Wild called “What’s for Dinner?” which directly quotes a famous line from the King in Wand of Gamelon. “I wonder what’s for dinner?” he says, after brushing off Zelda’s concerns for his safety when he announces that he will travel to Gamelon to aid a duke being attacked by Ganon.
And while we’re on the subject of food, Link responds to the aforementioned “I wonder what’s for dinner?” by saying that he’s so hungry that he could eat an Octorok. Breath of the Wild grants his wish, for Link can most certainly cook and chow down on Octoroks in this game.
One of Link: The Faces of Evil‘s most infamous bosses, Glutko, makes a return in Breath of the Wild in the form of a mini boss called a Hinox.
These clear and direct references to two of the CD-i Zelda games has confirmed them as officially part of the Legend of Zelda canon.
As for Zelda’s Adventure, it truly is a terrible game so we don’t blame Nintendo for leaving it out.