The Legend Of Zelda Is 30 Years Old Today


It’s another major milestone for a well-known name in gaming–pointy green hats off to Link and The Legend of Zelda!

A very happy birthday to one of the best-known game series of all time–The Legend of Zelda. For the past 30 years, fans of the series have been dungeon crawling, puzzle solving, Octorok slaying, and rescuing Princess Zelda and Hyrule as the green-clan hero who has become so loveably iconic. Ever since Link first picked up his first sword from the old man in the cave so he would not have to adventure alone, he has been a staple figure in our childhoods and adulthoods, and poster child for Nintendo alongside Mario. Congratulations, Link!

On February 21st, 1986, the simply titled The Legend of Zelda first appeared in Japan on a funny yellow floppy disc coupled with the release of the Famicom Disc System and several other games, including a few sports titles and Super Mario Bros. You may remember it better at a gorgeous golden cartridge for the NES, the form in which it made its western debut in 1987. Since then, Legend of Zelda has gone on to spawn 18 more main series entries and plenty of spin-offs.

It’s fascinating to look at the transformations the series has undergone in these 30 years, and its evolution into what we expect from a Legend of Zelda title today. The original The Legend of Zelda was a funny little top-down dungeon crawler, where the primary challenge was not getting killed by swarms of enemies and pushing the exact right innocuous block to open a secret passage. Though staples such as the Spin Attack, most of Link’s weapon arsenal, and the cheerful sound effect of a new passage opening have remained, Link has become a puzzle guru over the years. Both handheld and console Legend of Zelda games are stuffed with puzzles, and recent entries even implement hardware innovations such as the 3DS touchscreen and the Wii U gamepad to add even more variety to Link’s challenges.

It’s hard to say exactly why The Legend of Zelda has had such staying power. Perhaps the simplicity of the stories it tells has helped–though each entry features a different twist, all revolve mostly around the same enemies and heroes representing evil and good over the same kingdom of Hyrule, peopled by the same familiar faces. It’s a comfortable world, one easy to learn for new players and welcoming to veterans. Hyrule is a land populated by beauty, with quirky characters, friendly animals, lots of music, and evil that can always be beaten at the end of the day. It’s easy to love.

Happy birthday, Link! We’re all eagerly awaiting your next big adventure–it can’t come soon enough. A brand new Legend of Zelda title will be releasing (hopefully) later this year for the Wii U, and it promises to be Link’s biggest adventure yet. Here’s to another 30 years of green-capped capers across Hyrule!