The Legend of Zelda was principally inspired by Shigeru Miyamoto’s explorations as a young boy in the hillsides surrounding his childhood home in Sonobe, Japan where he ventured into forests with secluded lakes, caves, and rural villages.
Born in Japan, Miyamoto was an explorer as a child. He would explore the caves, mountains, and wooded areas that surrounded him. These childhood exploits would serve as the foundation for his limitless imagination and incredible storytelling capabilities.
“As with the Mario series, I came up with the concept for the Zelda series from my adventures as a child exploring the wide variety of places around my home,” Miyamoto says through an interpreter. “There were plenty of caves and mountains. We didn’t have that many toys to play with, so I would make slingshots or use sticks and twigs to make puppets and keep myself amused.”
Miyamoto got the name for the Zelda series—which has spanned four video game platforms—from a most unlikely source.
“Zelda was the name of the wife of the famous novelist Francis Scott Fitzgerald. She was a famous and beautiful woman from all accounts, and I liked the sound of her name. So I took the liberty of using her name for the very first Zelda title,” Miyamoto explained.