The year of 1986. 25 years ago Nintendo created The Legend of Zelda. At the time, Nintendo didn’t realize how big of an impact the Zelda series would have on gaming. Let’s take a look at the history of one of the most memorable game series’ ever created.
On February 21, 1986, The Legend of Zelda was released on a Famicom Disk System in Japan. The next year, in 1987, the game was brought to the Nintendo Entertainment System in North America. During development, the same team was also working on Super Mario Bros. Ideas from Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda often swapped. The game follows Link in Hyrule, the setting for most Zelda . The evil Prince of Darkness, Ganon, who had broken the triforce into multiple shards, kidnaps Princess Zelda. Link sets out to reassemble the triforce and save Princess Zelda.
In 1989 The Legend of Zelda: The Adventure of Link was released on the Nintendo Entertainment System. This sequel is highly regarded as the series’ low point. The games prospective was switched to a side-scrolling position. The game, despite several changes, still sold decently well.
Three years later, in 1991, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past was released on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in Japan. In this game, Link dreams of a calling from Princess Zelda in Hyrule Castle. This is where his adventure begins. A Link to the Past is highly regarded for its “light and dark world” feature. The light world is the default world. You would often be forced to switch over to the dark world, which organized the layout of the game. This made for very difficult puzzles.
In 1993 Nintendo’s already memorable series released the next installment in the series; Link’s Awakening. This was a very low budget Game Boy based game. Several years passed before Nintendo released The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time in 1998. This is highly regarded as the most memorable Zelda game to date.
Ocarina of Time was the first 3D title in the Zelda series and the first for the Nintendo 64 gaming console. This game is considered one of the “best ” to this day, selling over 7 million copies on the Nintendo 64 console alone. Like most games in the series, the game follows the hero Link traveling across the land of Hyrule. Ganon captures Princess Zelda and it is up to you to rescue her. Ocarina of Time has been given several awards, including game of the year. It has also been re-released on the Nintendo 3DS handheld console.
Two years later, in 2000, Nintendo release The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. The game is often compared to the Ocarina of Time, due to similarities in graphics, gameplay, and more. Based on an “end of the world” plot, the player is given a limited time to complete the game. Several glitches allow players to bypass the time limit. Particular masks allow for transformations into several creatures known in the Zelda universe. Although Majora’s Mask sold decently well, it is very low compared to the Ocarina of Time.
Several years passed with small releases, remakes, and ports onto other consoles. The Zelda series had grown quiet until 2003; The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker was released. The game is notable due to its cartoon graphics. This is something that had never been seen before in a Zelda game. The game follows a much more ancient story. This is among one of the few games to technically not include Princess Zelda, although alter ego’s of particular characters exsist.