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Unboxing The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening’s Limited Edition

Like so many other gamers out there, I absolutely adore Nintendo’s Game Boy 1993 classic, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening; you can find a brief nostalgic look back on the game here if you’re interested.

But here we are in 2019 with the Link’s Awakening remake for the Nintendo Switch, and I would feel as though I had personally failed myself if I didn’t get the Limited Edition. And yep, despite my ever growing discontentment with amiibo, I went ahead and got the new Link amiibo too. Truly, I am a man without much in the way of restraint when it comes to nostalgia.

But the question remains: is this a good Limited Edition?

Well let’s crack it open and find out.

Upon opening the box, you’ll see the contents as expected, but be sure to have a gander at the inside of the lid which shows a nice rendition of the Wind Fish, rendered in white on a teal background with a similar aesthetic to that of a cave painting, similar to this old piece of artwork. The box itself actually feels somewhat cheap, a bit flimsy, and not at all what you would expect to find in a £70+ (depending on where you live) Limited Edition. But the underside of the box, and its sturdiness, isn’t exactly what you’re here for, so…

This is what you’ll find beneath the lid, your copy of the game with all of the relevant art-ruining age-based certificates emblazoned across the front, and your Nintendo Game Boy steel case book for the game beside it. We’ll touch on that in a second. There is a reversible cover inside the game case that features this piece of artwork, but if you want that original cover art without all of those certificates, I’m afraid you’ve got a tiny bit work cut out for you. Here’s a high-resolution version of the art used on the cover in its entirety, here’s the Switch Logo, a few minutes in photoshop with even a rudimentary understanding of the program should see you sorted.

Moving on.

The game and its accompanying bonus case comes with a little ribbon connected to the box beneath, which means you won’t scuff up the case getting them out. If more Limited Editions did this, the world of collectors would be a better place. Ribbons save boxes!

The steel case itself is effectively a 1:1 reproduction of your average Switch case and isn’t, unfortunately, similar in all dimensions to an actual Game Boy, something that would have really sold this as a must-have collectors piece. It’s still a nice size, and it looks the part, so it’s not a total loss.

3DSXL for scale.

On the flipside of the Game Boy case, you’ll find that they’ve lovingly rendered each and every detail that you would expect to find there, right down to the “Complies with the limits for a Class B computing devices” print and energy rating to batteries.

Hell, there’s even a rendered Game Boy cartridge for Link’s Awakening.


Beneath this, you’ll find the artbook, and it’s a tasty little morsel. Obviously, it’s not massive, coming in at 8 ¼ inches across by 6 ¼ tall. The pages aren’t numbered and are marked with both English and French text (a note on that later) while the main body of the pages hold a smattering of artwork, some of which can be as little as two inches wide, which are pointless, whereas other pieces are full-page spreads that look genuinely fantastic. From enemies to locales, the little book is packed with lots to see. But it isn’t without its failings.

This is a bad layout; this is bad page real estate; this is an attempt at putting too much content into too little space. As someone who has been buying artists’ references and artbooks for many years, something that I’ve noticed over the years is that there are two main types of artbooks. Those that contain art, and those that feature art. This particular artbook contains art. It is often squashed away into small corners, too small to be appreciated and cramped onto a page alongside other unrelated pieces. The top left image shows a side on 2D view of the 3D world; it illustrates how the artists should structure the world and tier the geography. But you can’t readily make this out because it’s so small, and you really need to take a moment to figure out what you’re looking at.

Many pieces of art in this book deserve full spreads so that you can really take them in; it’s clear that a lot of work went into their creation, but instead they are relegated to a page the size of a large postcard. Truth be told, I do wish that this artbook were more content-rich, A4 size (at least) and made available as a separate purchase, with something else having been put into this box to make it a Limited Edition. The artbook is merely good, where it could have been incredible.

A strange thing to note is that all the pages and contents of this Limited Edition are jointly annotated in both English and French. Now, this isn’t a big deal, but it was surely a cost-cutting measure on Nintendo’s part, simply making one bi-lingual print is easier than making two separate runs with two separate languages. Perhaps I’m being entitled, but I like the products I buy to come in the language I speak. If I wanted the French version, I would have bought the French version. Even the box itself comes with “Edition Limitée” written across the front. Do note, however, that this was made quite clear on the Nintendo page, with the box featuring both languages on it. But I had hoped it wouldn’t ship like that–a minor annoyance at best.

So there you have The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening’s Limited Edition and all of its contents! Whereas this boxed version of the game had the potential of being incredible, a merely good artbook and a less than sturdy feeling box hold it back. It’s a very good Limited Edition, but unless you’re a diehard collector, I wouldn’t go out of your way to try and pick one of these up with inflated after-market prices. It simply isn’t worth it. But for me, a massive fan of the series, it already has a special place on my shelf.