How to Steal Items from the Shop Without Punishment in Link’s Awakening

In the original Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening on the Game Boy, it was possible to steal items out of the shop by simply grabbing them off the shelf and leaving without paying. If you did this, though, your name would be permanently changed to “Thief” on your save file, and the shopkeeper would break your kneecaps if you set foot in his shop again. In the Nintendo Switch remake, this all still happens, but due to a glitch, you can steal all you want without being branded a thief. Here’s how to steal items from the shop without punishment in Link’s Awakening.

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Before you attempt this, you should manually save your game right outside the shop, preferably in a different slot from the one you usually use. Never hurts to play it safe when you’re tinkering with exploits and such. After that, warm up those fingers, ‘cause it’s time to swipe something. 

  • Save your game just outside the Item Shop before the entrance.
  • Choose an item to steal, and position yourself directly behind the shopkeep.
  • The shopkeeper will turn and look at you, facing the right wall.
  • Run to the door as quickly as possible and exit the building.
  • Re-enter the building, and get zapped by the shopkeeper.
  • Select ‘Retry,’ which respawns you with the item you just stole.

Enter the shop and grab the item that you want (preferably something expensive like the bow or shovel). Instead of taking it up to the shopkeeper to pay, walk around behind him to the lower right corner of the building. He should turn around to look at you. Whenever you move to a different part of the store, there’s a very small window of opportunity where the shopkeeper isn’t looking at you. Ergo, when the shopkeeper turns around to look at you, quickly run past him and out the door of the shop. Congratulations, you’re a thief, and were you to continue playing the game at this point, everyone would address you as such.

However, what you want to do at this point is immediately re-enter the shop. Yes, really. The shopkeeper will blast you with a bolt of righteous fury, killing you on the spot. Here’s the twist, though: if you press Retry after the shopkeeper kills you, you’ll respawn at your save in front of the shop, still holding the item you swiped! The shop will be open again as normal, and the shopkeeper and townsfolk will be none the wiser.

Bear in mind, this is most likely a glitch, and as such, doesn’t have a sure-fire chance of working. In the event that it doesn’t, you should probably just load your save and forget about the criminal underworld. It ain’t worth it.

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Daniel Trock
Since the first time he picked up a controller as a child, Daniel has been a dyed-in-the-wool gaming fanatic, with a Steam library numbering over 600 games. His favorite pastime, aside from playing games, is doing deep dives on game wikis to learn more about their lore and characters.