Nintendo Teases Lootbox-Like Gashapon In Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom

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Wondering what the heck a "gashapon" is? Allow us to explain. Remember those little mechanical vending machines where you'd put in a quarter and get some trinket or cheap toy in a plastic capsule? It's that. They're still common and popular in Japan, where the prizes are often treated like precious collectibles; the name "gashapon" is an onomatopoeia from the noise the capsule makes while bouncing down ("ga-sha-pon") to the output slot.

So what's that doing in Zelda? Is it some kind of horrible microtransaction gambit? Has Nintendo finally fallen to the dark side of modern gaming? Fret not; there's no real-money transfers here. Instead, an image from the official Japanese Twitter account for the Zelda series shows off what looks like... well, a giant capsule toy machine.

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The device is immediately recognizable to most people in Japan, but may not be as obvious to English-speaking users, which is part of the point of this post. Accompanying the image, the tweet says "On a Sky Island, I found a mysterious structure. It looks like some kind of spherical object is stuck inside..."

We obviously haven't played the game yet (despite that it was already leaked to the internet), but IGN reports that the huge capsule machine accepts "Zonai Charges" in return for the randomized capsules that primarily contain "Zonai devices." These are things like fans, portable heaters, and other techno-magical gadgets that Link can use on his adventure. They're probably particularly useful when paired with Link's new ability to stick objects together and build vehicles out of said constructions.

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The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom releases on May 12th, which is a Friday. Pre-orders are open pretty much everywhere, but you could order the game from Amazon using this link to help out our site. If you're keen to play the game but lack the requisite Switch, you can pick up a special collector's edition of the Switch system with an OLED screen and a copy of the game for a minor discount.