Second only to Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda has stood as one of Nintendo’s best-loved franchises for more than 30 years. Following the many adventures of Link as he seeks to rescue the Princess Zelda from the clutches of Ganon, The Legend of Zelda has set the bar for action-adventure games since it first released on February 21, 1986.
The Legend of Zelda’s plot was explained in the instruction booklet – the game itself doesn’t lend itself much to storytelling. The story takes place in the land of Hyrule, which is in chaos after the Prince of Darkness, Ganon, leads his army to conquer it in his quest to obtain the Triforce of Wisdom. Hyrule’s princess, Zelda, splits the Triforce into eight pieces and hides them away before she is kidnapped by Ganon. Before she’s taken away, she tells her maid Impa to find someone with enough courage to save her and Hyrule. Impa later is rescued by Link and tasks him to become powerful enough to defeat Ganon and restore the Triforce.
When the game is beaten for the first time, the player is given access to the “Second Quest,” which reconfigured the dungeons and item placements as well as provided stronger enemies to fight. Harder replays (often referred to as “New Game+”) weren’t something that Zelda invented, but the game popularized the idea with the entirely different dungeon layouts it provided.
The game was developed by Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka; Miyamoto produced it while Tezuka came up with the story. The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Bros. were actually developed by the same team of people, though the goal was to take the games in entirely different directions – Mario was intended to be linear, while Zelda wasn’t. The Legend of Zelda became the first NES game to sell more than a million copies, and went on to sell 6.5 million total on the system.
Since that initial offering, Zelda has seen many game sequels for Nintendo consoles. Some of the key titles that video game collectors hunt for include The Legend of Zelda, The Adventure of Link, A Link to the Past, Link’s Awakening, Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask, Oracle of Ages/Seasons, Wind Waker, Minish Cap, Twilight Princess, Phantom Hourglass, Spirit Tracks, Skyward Sword, A Link Between Worlds, Tri Force Heroes, and Breath of the Wild.
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