The Legend of Zelda series has had a large impact on popular culture. As a result, references to The Legend of Zelda series are abundant in film, television, literature, and other aspects of popular culture.
In film and television
This show is based on many Nintendo-related games. Several episodes revolve around Link and Hyrule, and feature many locations, enemies, and bosses from the earlier Zelda games, including Moblins, Horsehead, and Helmethead.
In the first episode "Froggy Apple Crumple Thumbkin", Mung Daal lists ingredients needed for the dish by flashing several photos rapidly. If slowed down, it can be seen that an ingredient at the end is a Triforce.
In the Dan Vs. episode Dan Vs. The Dentist, in one scene, when Chris and Dan use the night vision goggles to take a better look at Dan's dental files, the Triforce is seen as one of the symbols.
Xandir P. Wifflebottom has many references to Link; being elf like, being on a never-ending quest to save his girlfriend, and being a video game character.
In this 1999 film, one of the children is playing Ocarina of Time at the beginning of Ganon's Castle.
In the episode "Tourist Trapped" Mabel's pose with the grappling hook is a reference to Link's pose when he acquires a new item. The grappling hook itself is also a reference to the recurring Hookshot item, which first appeared in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
In the episode "Land Before Swine" a Fairy resembling the fairies that appeared in the original NES game appears in a similar pose.
In the episode "Dungeons, Dungeons and More Dungeons", A fairy that was swatted by Stan says "Hey! Look! Listen!" This is an obvious reference to Navi.
In the episode "The Magician's Code, Part Two", whilst Marshall is intoxicated, an ATM machine he is using briefly shows The Legend of Zelda being played.
In the episode "Flutter Brutter", when Fluttershy and Zephyr Breeze are walking through Ponyville, a pony that resembles Link passes by in the background carrying a cart full of rupees.
In an episode of this series, a young Shawn comes home from school and informs his father that he is going to his room to play The Legend of Zelda.
The episode Total Rickcall features a flashback scene in which titular character Rick gets excited because Wallmart is selling copies the Limited Edition Zelda 3DS cheaply.
The Season 3 episode "Shoe" features a sketch based on the Zelda series. It references many aspects of the series, including the existence of multiple Links, the Triforce, Rupees, and rescuing Princess Zelda. The parody features some errors in their portrayal, however: while Zelda's puppet appears to be based on her appearance in Twilight Princess, her hair is blonde rather than the brown, and her dress is pink rather than purple featured in the game; Link dispatches Ganondorf, who is also mistakenly identified as "Ganon", with what appears to be a regular arrow rather than a Light Arrow or Silver Arrow; lastly, Zelda gives Link "eight Rupees" for his trouble, which is depicted as being red. Red Rupees are, for the most part, worth 20 Rupees.
Much of the background music used throughout the film is derived from the Legend of Zelda series, most notably The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. The series is also referenced by several characters and the logo of Gideon's company is an inverted Triforce.
In the episode "Smart House", there are references to several different video game/tv series. Shaggy is given a handful of SD card like computer chips containing computer viruses by two computer hackers (who are based off of characters from Napoleon Dynamite and play a Dungeons and Dragons type game). Each one has a symbol on it referencing a different game, one of which is a Triforce (the other two are Resident Evil and Dragons and Gnomes, the Dungeons and Dragons like game).
Both Link and Ganondorf appear briefly in the third and final episode of a three-part story arc known as "Imaginationland". Neither character has any dialogue and only appear in the final battle between the good and evil imaginary characters. In the DVD commentary for the episode "Go, God, Go", creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone expressed their obsession over the release of the Nintendo Wii console (which serves as the catalyst for the two-part story arc) noting one reason being the release of Twilight Princess.
In this old Icelandic Christmas TV Show, there's an episode where the two main protagonists, Blámi and Ísafold, visit a kid in a hospital who is playing a game. While it is not shown what game he is playing, an upside-down picture of Link is shown with the word "Zelda" also upside-down.
In the episode "Let's Go, Buddy", when all the main characters are trapped in illusions showing their ideal realities, the character Viral is shown wanting a wife and children. His wife heavily resembles Princess Zelda. This could be a reference to the fact that Viral's Japanese voice actor also voiced adult Link in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
Andy Goode, the cellphone salesman, confessed that in college "...my roommates and I hacked 'Zelda III' so that The Princess would say funny lines ripped from reruns".
In Season 2 episode "The Treasure" Anais uncovers a secret that she's sure will lead her to the Wattersons's hidden family treasure. They begin searching in the attic which they find a box that holds photos of Gumball when he is a child. He was a very ugly child. He counters with a picture of Darwin's messed up face. Darwin, being angry, lunges for the picture. While they struggle, they knock over a stack of boxes that blocked the window. The light seeps into the room, refracts off of a snow globe, and reveals a hollow spot on the chimney. When the light hits the spot on the chimney a somewhat high pitch version of the "Secret" sound effect can be heard.
In season 2 episode 32, "The Promise", Gumball and Darwin buy a new game called The Tale of Zelmore. This title is similar to the The Legend of Zelda. In the series of Zelda games, when you open a treasure box, a sound effect plays. This very same sound effect is played when Gumball opens the game. On top of this, in the logo of the game, there is a sword, which is another similarity between this and the games in The Legend of Zelda series.
The Legend of Zelda, Ocarina of Time, and Twilight Princess are among the many games stolen from the main characters in the episode "The Bozeman Reaction".
In the episode "Child Fearing", the Mayor of Townsville can be seen playing a Zelda game (presumably Ocarina of Time, judging by the design of the heads-up display) on a Nintendo 64. The Mayor finds himself unable to navigate his way through a dungeon, and repeatedly damages Link by crashing into walls, and is unable to dodge a damaging trap. Eventually, the Mayor has Link inadvertently kill his own fairy, causing a Game Over.
In The X Files, a beggar wearing green clothes and a hat identical to Link's appears. This is most likely a reference to the character.
In this 2012 film, three scene transactions similar to Majora's Mask's "End and Beginning of Days 1-3" appear with the words "DAWN OF TRYOUTS 2 hours remaining", "END OF THIRD PERIOD 30 minutes remaining" and "BEGINNING OF PRE-GAME PUMP-UP 5 minutes remaining". Several other video games (like Mario) are mentioned and/or hinted at likewise.
This animated film, which also features characters from other video games series such as Mario, Street Fighter and Pac-Man among many others, features several variations of Link in a scene at "Game Central Station", a hub-world for video game characters.
In 2008, WWE superstar Cody Rhodes had a Triforce on his wrestling boots as a tribute to the series. He discusses his fandom briefly in an issue of WWE Magazine.
In Kick Buttowski Suburban Daredevil episode Kyle 2.0 kick's Cousin Kyle dress up as Link with a bow and arrows.
This book by Kelly Armstrong briefly mentions The Legend of Zelda series in chapter five. As Chloe walks into the room, she finds one of her friends from the Lyle House playing Zelda, as they call it.
In this book by Neal Shusterman, one of the characters, Lief, is playing a Game Boy. As Allie the Outcast walks in, he mentions that the game he is playing is stupid, and questions who this "Zelda" person is.
This novel by Ned Vizzini mentions The Legend of Zelda series briefly on page 53. When Craig stumbles upon Aaron's table, Aaron introduces Craig to the lunch table and invites him to join the conversation on whether Princess Zelda would be a good companion or not.
In this book by Katy Grant, in chapter eight, JD asks the Camp Crockett boys if they have ever played Twilight Princess. While Lance has not, but has heard that it is a good game, Michael says that he owns the GameCube version and that his favorite part is when Link battles Ook.
In his album, The Marshall Mathers LP 2, , the song "So Far..." briefly references the Legend of Zelda series. The lines go: "I'm still on my first manual from Zelda / Nintendo, b****, run, jump, punch, stab...".
The song "Pol's Voice" on their album R. Borlax uses the Pols Voice enemy as an allusion to Nathan Winneke's early hatred of his voice. The lyrics describe a battle between Pols Voice and the narrator.
Progressive rock group Minibosses, an established band in the Nintendocore genre, have played a cover version of The Legend of Zelda theme live, however, it has yet to be released on album.
In the song entitled "@!#?@!" on their album My Dinosaur Life, there is a mention of the The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. The line goes: "In early '99 I beat the Ocarina of Time / I'm quite the legend in this town."
In other media
Decline of Video Gaming
In this series of animated flash videos, elements of the Legend of Zelda series are frequently parodied. In the first installment, which is built around hypothetical sequels to popular video game series, the trio of main characters come across a copy of Legend of Zelda: The Lampshade: a real game developed by the co-creators of the Decline series. The Legend of Zelda is referred to by the character Dan as being "kinda samey since A Link to the Past." It goes on to depict Link in the Temple of Time from Ocarina of Time, depositing magical stones into a receptacle to obtain the Master Sword, which he promptly throws into a pile of other Master Swords, parodying this often re-used plot element.
In Decline of Video Gaming 2, after observing the Prince from Prince of Persia utilizing his time-travel powers to win a lottery, Navi is seen chastising Link for not using his own powers of time travel for the same purposes. The fact that this exact tactic may be used in Majora's Mask to win money from the Lottery Shop (which the creators failed to realize at the time of the video's production) is pointed out in the developer's commentary, however, they maintain that the joke still stands since in that game, Link's fairy companion is Tatl rather than Navi.
In Decline of Video Gaming 3, the character Dim's ringtone is "The Legend of Zelda Theme". During the "Mega Fun Video Game Challenge Session" quiz contest, Ezlo from The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap is the answer to one of the questions; this segues into a parody of the game, in which the Minish-sized Link and Ezlo, en route to obtaining the Four Sword, are captured by a bird, and taken to its nest. Ezlo cuts off the bird's talking offspring mid-sentence, yelling at them not to say a word.
The animated Internet series Homestar Runner has contained many references to the Legend of Zelda games. The creators, Mike and Matt Chapman, have even confirmed in several interviews and commentaries that they are huge Nintendo fans. The official Homestar Runner Wiki article covers every Zelda reference in each cartoon in full detail.
The 1986 manga adaptation of Metroid featured the main protagonist, Samus, playing the original The Legend of Zelda on a Famicom. The manga depicts her playing the game while in her spaceship traveling to the planet Zebes. She gets a Game Over several times while playing the game, and although she self-admittedly lacks skill, she vows to complete it before reaching her destination. She is unable to do so before she arrives at Zebes, however, and is frustrated she has to stop just as she has completed Level 4.
At the end of every volume of this manga series, there is a bonus comic starring the author, Yasuhiro Nightow, and Kuroneko-sama. These comics are about current events in the author's life. In one volume, the comic's subject is Gungrave, a video game on which Nightow served as game designer. On one of the pages, Nightow is seen dressed up as Link holding up a Triforce. He also says "Hey everybody, keep this a secret", a reference to the Secret Moblin from The Legend of Zelda. The difference from the Secret Moblin's exact quote may be a translation error.