Old News '87: Zelda Is Going To Be Bigger Than Mario

Once a week, let's dig up an old bit of news and see what became of it. Today we've got Nintendo in 1987 predicting that the Zelda NES "game pak" will be huge. Bold words, Nintendo.

It's May of 1987, the year after Nintendo started selling the Nintendo Entertainment System in America. Super Mario Brothers has been a success and the industry, which in 2009, can have more than a million consoles sell in the U.S. in a slow month.

Here's how things were going in 1987 according to Nintendo's statement of its financial results for the past year:

Minoru Arakawa, president of Nintendo of America Inc. of Redmond, Wash. ''The industry is healthy; we estimate that 4.5 million home video game units will be sold in the U.S. in 1987, as compared to 1.4 million units in 1986 — a 300 percent increase.''

Part of what was going to boost Nintendo was going to be this new Zelda thing:

''Among the game pak introductions will be 'The Legend of Zelda,' a game that we anticipate will be another 'Super Mario Bros.' in terms of its popularity. We will be supporting 'Zelda' with advertising and promotional spending of $US4 million, and supporting fourth quarter 1987 sales with an advertising and promotional budget of $US20 million. The continued high quality of our product, coupled with our marketing strength, will help maintain our competitive edge as the leader in the new generation video game category,'' he continued.

A game as popular as Super Mario Bros.? What could have seemed like PR bluster in the moment pretty much worked out.

And now back to our regular 2009 Kotaku posts... until next week.



    That was a great read...seriously, dunno why exactly but that's the phrase that was left in my head after reading this article

    Funny I was just reading about this in a great book I recently came across. If you want to know about everything that went on in the video game industry since its conception I suggest picking it up.

    The American focus groups that Nintendo tested Zelda on took around 10 hours of gameplay to get the hang of all the mechanics. True story.

    Book link -


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