The Legend of Zelda Turns 35 Today

In a 1994 interview, Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of The Legend of Zelda, described the premise of the iconic game as, “An everyday boy gets drawn into a series of incredible events and grows to become a hero.”

The high fantasy action-adventure game franchise, which debuted on February 21, 1986, is considered on the greatest video games of all times. The first game in the series, The Legend of Zelda was on the Famicom Disk System in Japan. A cartridge version, using battery-backed memory, was released in the US and Europe a year later.

“I wanted to create a game where the player could experience the feeling of exploration as he travels about the world, becoming familiar with the history of the land and the natural world he inhabits. That is reflected in the title: The Legend of Zelda,” Miyamoto said.

The original game features a Second Quest, which can be accessed by completing the game or by registering one’s name as ZELDA when beginning a new quest, includes different dungeons, item placement, and more challenging enemies. Since its launch, the franchise has spawned 19 installments on all of Nintendo’s major game consoles, as well as numerous spin-offs.

In 1989, an American animated TV series based on the games was released. The series, based on the original The Legend of Zelda and The Adventure of Link, combines settings and characters from both games with original storylines. In addition, several manga adaptations have been produced under license from Nintendo since 1997, mostly in Japan.

Although, The Legend of Zelda series has evolved significantly in the past 30 years, the influence of the first game is still felt throughout the series, with puzzles, action, adventure, battle gameplay, and exploration present in each game. Since its release, the franchise has sold over 90 million copies, with the original The Legend of Zelda being the fourth best-selling NES game of all time.

British film magazine Empire called the original game, “the most vividly-realised world and the most varied game-play of any game on any console,” adding that, “Zelda is a solid bet for the best game series ever.”

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