Classics: The Legend of Zelda

This year marks the 25th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda,  which is one of the most iconic Nintendo franchises to date. Designed by Shigeru Miyamoto and Takahasi Tezuka of the Mario Bros. fame.
The titular hero of the Zelda franchise, Link.

The titular hero of the Zelda franchise, Link.

The original Legend of Zelda debuted on the Nintendo Entertainment System, back in 1986. Consisting of a vast world with dungeons, monsters, a damsel in distress and the iconic villain Ganon. This game went on to be the NES’s fourth best selling game, with top down gameplay and a long quest to fulfill Zelda entered the hearts of many children for the first time.  Through the years, Zelda became a legendary game with fans from all across the world. It was known for it’s epic quest and unique open world adventure which was a dime a dozen back in the 80’s and early 90’s.

The series’ main inspirations were from Shigeru Miyamoto‘s mind, where he drew upon his experiences growing up near Kyoto.  Throughout his childhood Shigeru Miyamoto explored a myriad of  cave systems, valleys, followed lakes and woods. During the creation of The Legend of Zelda he wished to recreate this experiences as a nonlinear adventure game.

As the series evolved and went through several changes, it quietly became Nintendo‘s second most recognisable franchise, behind only the behemoth that is Super Mario.  The 2D elements of the series quickly became loved and Nintendo continues to use the 2D format for their Zelda games with the current DS iterations of the franchise. However with the 3DS recently released, could the 2D Zelda franchise come to a close?

Zelda: Windwaker

The series has gone though many art styles

The 3D franchise kicked off with what many people (including the gaming elite NeoGAF) consider to be the greatest game of all time. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of time.  Ocarina of Time introduced many elements of 3D videogames that we see today.  Things like Z targeting where you lock onto a single opponent and timing attacks can be seen in games today such as Demon’s souls and Darksiders. It was these revolutionary elements of the game that made it widely popular among many N64 gamers. The “3D Zelda Formula” has inspired an entire genre of games such as Starfox : Adventures, Beyond Good and Evil and many others.

The Zelda franchise has had it’s fair share of up’s and downs. In the late 80’s Nintendo comissioned a production company to do the Legend of Zelda cartoon, much like the highly successful Super Mario Super Show that aired. However the Zelda series was cheesy and only had one single season, opposed to the Super Mario cartoon’s 4.

When Nintendo famously betrayed Sony and continued their CD endeavors for the SNES by creating the CDi Add on with Phillips, Nintendo allowed  for 5 of their characters to be outsourced to third party developers with Nintendo providing little input on the matter. The games that were put out were called; Link: The faces of Evil, Zelda: The wand of Gamelon and Zelda’s Adventure. These games utilised FMV’s for all their openings and were riddled with bugs, graphical glitches and bad gameplay. These games are critically some of the worst games ever made according to many gaming publications, including IGN, Wired and Gametrailers.  These games have since received a cult following and go for over £150 a piece.

Zelda has brought a massive contribution to the medium of video games and how we interact with the environments, puzzles and many other things within the 2D and 3D realm. With The Legend of Zelda : Skyward Sword and the upcoming Ocarina of Time remake for the 3DS, gamers can look forward to many more adventures in the land of Hyrule.

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