Thursday, 18 August 2011

A Retrospective Look at Zelda

With the 25th anniversary celebrations already underway, the Zelda Symphony Concert approaching in October (of which I am pleased to say I am attending), it appears that the popularity of the The Legend of Zelda series is not diminishing yet.

From The Beginning
The Legend of Zelda was the brainchild of Japanese game designer Shigeru Miyamoto. The first game, simply titled The Legend of Zelda was released in 1986. A side scrolling adventure game, The Legend of Zelda went on to become a best seller on the Nes, and from this, the Zelda series was born.

Since then, fans have been treated to Zelda games on each Nintendo console, and Ocarina of Time and A Link To The Past are widely noted as two of the best games not only in the series, but from Nintendo as a whole. 
The most recent Zelda game has been a revamped edition of Ocarina of Time for the Nintendo 3DS. The next addition will be Skyward Sword, which is gaining a release on the Wii hopefully before Christmas 2011. 

Nintendo have released 15 Zelda games to date, although our favourite green-capped hero has starred in several spin-offs, such as the Super Smash Bros. series, and the GameCube version of SoulCalibur 2. The series spawned an American animated series which originally aired in 1989, a series of manga books based on the games, and much more. 
One of the irritating moments of the Zelda TV series.

The gameplay in each Zelda game consists of a mixture of action, adventure and puzzle solving. Like other RPG's, the Zelda games provide enjoyable side quests that can be completed during the course of the main game. In this article I look back at the Zelda series, and find out the reasons why fans are still enjoying this series after so many years. 

My Own Experience of Zelda
I was first introduced to the Zelda series when Link's Awakening was first released on the Gameboy. My parents had just bought a Gameboy, and I remember being 6 years old and watching my Dad play through the game. It soon became a family experience when he connected the Gameboy up to a device on the SNes, and we watched him complete the entire game on the TV screen. There was no doubt that I was hooked from that moment. I played it through myself not long after this, and have since completed it twice. 

I went on to purchase The Legend of Zelda Collectors Edition for the Gamecube which had a variety of the Zelda games on there. I played through them all, and fell in love with the series completely. Ever since then, I have got immersed in this fantasy adventure world throughout the series, and I am now looking forward to attending the Legend of Zelda Symphony Concert in October, and purchasing Skyward Sword. Link's Awakening still remains my favourite Zelda game, due to the memories contained within it. 
Chatting With The Fans
Since the release of the original game in 1986, the Zelda series has shifted over 59 million copies, and, rather impressively, these sales are still continuing worldwide. So, why, even 25 years on, is the Zelda series so popular? I chatted to a variety of fans to find out some of the reasons why.

Nina-Rose-Mangaka: "I have played The Legend of Zelda only since last December, and already I have completely 100% fallen in love with it. The story, the game play, graphics...everything! It is amazing!"

Lewis Terry: "My first Zelda experience was A Link To The Past on the SNes. I think it was one of the first games to really capture me and the first game I ever saw through to the end. I loved it to pieces, and completed it through four times. I used to draw loads of pictures of the monsters from it and generally obsess over the game. From that time onwards, I was not only a devout Nintendo fan, but Zelda always had a space reserved in my heart."

Jessica Bradley: "I'm actually guilty of liking the Final Fantasy series a wee bit more because I played them first, but Minish Cap is my favourite Zelda game, just because it is so cute! The music is awesome and it just looks stunning. Of all the Zelda games, this is the one I'd want to live in!"
(On a related note, I interviewed Jessica previously. Read it here!)

Epic-Frazz: "I like The Legend of Zelda games because the music and the scenery gives me a nice feeling, especially Wind Waker. Man, that game was EPIC. I'm really looking forward to the release of Four Swords on DSiWare in the Autumn/Fall. Bonus: It's free! Yeah, I've always had a special place in my heart for The Legend of Zelda games. 

Hyrule-man: "I've loved the Zelda games ever since I played it on my first Nes back in 1987. I'm torn between A Link To The Past and Ocarina of Time for the greatest Zelda game ever. They have an awesome storyline that has driven every  Zelda fan crazy for 20+ years trying to put the games in some kind of coherent order. But, you've gotta love Link. People can't resist the timeless tale of the hero rescuing the fair damsel from the evil villain."  
XxKid-kunxX: "I grew up with them. My family got our first Gamecube when I was around six, and one of the very first games we had was The Legend of Zelda Collectors Edition, with numerous different Zelda games on it. I remember my whole family sitting around playing Ocarina of Time, or trying to figure out what we were supposed to be doing in Majora's Mask..." 

ieatbrainsforbreakfast: I like the Zelda games because of it's childish naivety. It's one of the few games that take me back to the childhood concept of White Knight. Link doesn't save Zelda for money, or sex or love, he saves her because that's what heroes do. They help those who need it. Also, the Zelda games have the uncanny ability to make their characters look badass without much effort. My favourite Zelda is A Link To The Past with Ocarina of Time as a close second, and Majora's Mask third."  

surrenderIndependent: "Link is such a charming character. Each character has it's own charm, but I adore the simplicity of our hero."  

PaxiPeanut: "I love the Zelda series because each game I've played, I had my own life-changing experience." 

domomaniac: "It would have to be the story/time line. Definitely not Navi or the Moon-Face Guy (Majoras' Mask)."  

Bloodlust-Carman: "Even though they're all similar, the classic "rescue the Princess" theme is taken to totally new levels in each game, and it's so fun to figure out the puzzles and learn new moves. The weapons, though usually similar as well, are so exciting to find, and I don't know about you, but I STILL get more excited tham little kids at a candy store when I get the Master Sword!" 

XxFoxTailxX: "I love the Zelda series for it's classic gameplay and for the hero saving the Princess. No game series will ever compare to it." 

More comments can be found via NintyFans

Zelda Fans Get Artistic
So conclude this article, here are some great examples of Zelda fan art that is available to view on the web:
By Lewis Terry
By ReevolveR
By nayruchan
By jstyle05
By Artsammich
By Riluna

Many thanks to everyone who has contributed their opinions and fan-art to this article. 


  1. Your blog is pretty frickin' cool -- this is a great Zelda piece, and thanks for sharing the fan art stuff.

  2. Thanks for the kind comment! Glad you like the article and my blog in general! :)

  3. Someone else who loves Links Awakening :D most people I meet have never heard of it :(


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