Geek Trivia

The Glyphs In What Video Game Are Directly Translatable to English?

LEGO Star Wars
Final Fantasy
The Legend of Zelda
A Clever 1960s Prank Convinced Swedes They Could Watch TV In Color With?

Answer: The Legend of Zelda

As far as game Easter eggs go, the ability to translate the Hylian glyphs in the Legend of Zelda game series is buried rather deep. The earliest games in the series had no glyphs at all, but by the time the Super Nintendo-era releases appeared, there were faint references to encrypted and difficult to read glyphs that were non-translatable, and then finally, starting in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, the game developers introduced an actual written text to serve as the Hylian alphabet.

The first incarnation was very loosely and primitively based on the Japanese alphabet—this version only appeared in Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask. The second version was an expansion of the first and continued the tradition of using the Japanese alphabet—it appeared in The Wind Waker, Four Swords Adventures, The Minish Cap, and Phantom Hourglass. Finally, the third version was introduced in Twilight Princess and featured a Latin-base and direct glyph to English-letter translation. The image seen here, the entrance to the Temple of Time in Twilight Princess, is inscribed simply with “Time Door”.

For players with the patience to closely examine all the signs, carvings, and in-game writings, little in-game jokes and references can be found—for example, the signboards which appear to be covered with an important message simply say “Signboard of Hyrule”.

Image courtesy of Nintendo.