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The Story Of The 'Lost' Japan-Only Legend Of Zelda SNES Games

Most "The Legend of Zelda" games have been republished overseas in some way, enough that many fans don't realize that there were two that never left Japan. The Satellaview, a Japanese-only attachment for the Super Famicom console (which we know as the SNES), had two "Zelda" games that never made it to the States: "BS The Legend of Zelda" and "BS The Legend of Zelda: Ancient Stone Tablets." 

As per Zelda Universe, the "BS" in the titles comes from the term, "broadcasting system." The Satellaview used a peripheral called "BS-X Cartridge" to download content from satellites straight to the Super Famicom. The "BS Zelda" games also needed the players to log into their Satellaviews during certain times to download them, or they would miss the chance to play. The Satellaview also had a downloadable version of "A Link to the Past." However, unlike the two BS games, "A Link to the Past" was ported to newer Nintendo consoles like the 3DS and Wii.

The BS games weren't straight playthroughs like one would expect from a game in a playable cartridge or downloadable file. Instead, they were played through episodic broadcasts that the player could download. These broadcasts stopped long ago, so the only way "Zelda" fans can access the games now is through emulation. As per Clan of the Gray Wolf, the BS Zelda website is one of the best resources for how to play the game. It was created by modders who patched the code of the original ROMs for public use.

Here's what else the "BS Zelda" had in store for players. 

The protagonist wasn't Link

Zelda Universe describes "BS The Legend of Zelda" as a remake of the "The Legend of Zelda" game. Out of the two, the "BS The Legend of Zelda: Ancient Stone Tablets" is more notable because it's supposedly a sequel to "A Link to the Past." 

The "BS Zelda" series differs from the rest of "The Legend of Zelda" games with its protagonist. You don't control Link. Instead, the player controls a male or female Satellaview avatar (depending on the profile in the Satellaview) that dons his signature green tunic and sword. The male protagonist wears a backward baseball cap, and the female version has long red hair tied back in a ponytail, but they fulfill the same roles in a world with Princess Zelda, Ganondorf, and the Triforce.

It's unclear why Nintendo never chose to republish the BS games. It could be because they aren't considered part of the mainline series, considering their absence from the official "The Legend of Zelda" timeline and don't contain the typical protagonist: Link. Maybe it could be because "BS The Legend of Zelda" is already too similar to the original to be worth remastering. Still, these games will be engraved in history as the few "Zelda" games that never made it overseas.