The Legend of Zelda series has solidified its spot as video game royalty. With over 10 games in the franchise and over 20 years in the industry Zelda has truly made its mark not only on the gaming community but also on our overall culture. Shigeru Miyamoto’s star creation and one of Nintendo’s most beloved series has been embraced since its origins in 1986. I wasn’t even alive at this point so I’m happy and grateful that I was able to experience these titles firsthand.
Zelda boasts an incredibly supportive fan base, one that has made the transition from 8bit to HD. The games have been housed on practically every gaming medium that Nintendo has offered, from the original Gameboy to the Wii. I’m sure the Wii U will feature at least one Zelda title as well.
One of the most impressive aspects of The Legend of Zelda is its successful longevity. While overall the franchise follows a relatively linear progression which combines exploration and puzzles, it just never seems to get old. Not to mention that I’ve replayed more than half of them on numerous occasions. I’ve played every Zelda game except the Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks and despite my saturated Zelda game history, I can’t wait for the next game in the series.
I can’t count how many Water, Earth, and Fire temples I’ve completed in my gaming career. They are diverse; showcasing numerous levels of difficulty, different usage of items, and housing distinctive types of puzzles and brain teasers. They say TV and video games rot your brain, but I definitely don’t think that applies to these games. Zelda constantly adapts itself infusing new mechanics into an overall similar aesthetic.
Remember The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask? The game featured a different feel to the usual Zelda formula adding the element of time to the equation. Typically Link must battle Gannon’s hordes defeat countless dungeons/temples, and save the princess in…as much time as he wants. In Majora’s mask his main threat was the moon crashing into the Earth and in 72 hours mind you. Not too promising for a pre-teen boy.
Each addition to the series follows the same protagonist during his battle against evil…or I might as well say battle against Gannon since he is the villain in nearly every game. Who knew that playing the hero game after game with a little boy clad in green from would be so much fun? I can’t explain how Link is seemingly reincarnated over and over again or why the land of Hyrule is so damn unlucky but I don’t mind it if it means getting my hands on more Zelda games.
As of April 2010, The Legend of Zelda series has sold over 59 million copies since the release of the first game, and continues to be successful worldwide. Financial growth is one way to gauge achievement but is not the basis of the franchise’s popularity. Fans don’t follow a series over the course of 15 games for no reason.
The Legend of Zelda offers gamers with a unique experience, one that others have attempted to imitate with rare to no success. The simple hero scenario is elevated with so many elements that it truly provides something for every person. Action, suspense, humor, and adventure, all emanate in Zelda. It’s easy to get caught up in a boy’s daunting quest no matter how repetitive it may feel. Even though the characters don’t speak English or rarely even have voices, there’s something about the colorful way they are presented that makes Zelda memorable.
My group of friends both boys and girls gathered on the couch. By this point I had put a major dent in The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of time for the N64. I was on Ganon’s castle prepared to face the last boss and finish the game once and for all. While everyone was digesting after a minor food coma I decided to pop in the cartridge and give it a go.
For anyone who has played Ocarina of Time you know the “epicness” of the finale. When we thought it was going to end it kept going. My friends cheered me on as I reflected the balls of light with pinpoint accuracy, as I led Princess Zelda from door to door as the castle was crumbling. If the duel with Gannon isn’t cool enough it’s followed by a suspenseful countdown escape from Gannon’s Tower and then a fight against Gannon in his giant pig monster form. All of our 9-year-old brains were in awe. The sugar high from the cake ingested earlier was nothing compared to the sequence I had just enacted.
When I speak with my 9 year old friends now turned 21, we still talk about this EPIC and nerdy birthday party moment. Even though it was technically not my first experience into the Zelda franchise, it was certainly the one that stuck with me and made me into the super fan that I am today.
I believe without a shadow of a doubt that The Legend of Zelda deserves to be granted the title of video game royalty among other critically acclaimed titles. Let us celebrate Zelda and all the good memories we can recall from the series! Which is your favorite Zelda moment?