I Remember... The Legend of Zelda!

25 years ago, on this very day, The Legend of Zelda was released in Japan. I didn't realise it then, because I was four years old and too busy playing in the back garden, smearing my face in dirt or something, but it was the starting point of what is probably my favourite game series of all time.

I have so many memories of Zelda. The first time I ever stayed up all night was Christmas 1992 - because I was so excited about getting my Super Nintendo, and so excited to play A Link to the Past. I remember throwing my little brother the map that came inside the box, telling him he was the 'navigator' so I didn't have to share.

I remember playing Link's Awakening on the Game Boy, and being genuinely distrought when the world I'd spent hours playing in and engaging with turned out to be just an elaborate dream. Sob.

I remember waiting years for Ocarina of Time. Buying every single magazine that had Zelda on the cover, scrimping for information. I remember finishing it - being interrupted by a family member constantly calling the house during the epic end sequence, and getting so wound up that I actually punched my bedroom door. It hurt. And I felt like an idiot.

I remember the hassle of living in Japan, and having to wait weeks for my brother to send an English version of Wind Waker all the way from Scotland to Nagoya, Japan. I remember when it finally came in the post. I remember being blown away by the art direction, and bitterly disappointed by the Tri-Force fetch quest. I remember the kid with the huge boogers.

I remember desperately trying to convince myself to fall in love with Twilight Princess, but just not quite connecting. I remember feeling a little bit sad.

I have so many memories associated with the Zelda series - more than with any other series I can think of. Since it's the 25th Anniversary of the game's release, I thought this might be a good time to share some memories of the game.

Do you have any memories of Zelda? Do you have a favourite in the series? Let us know in the comments below.


    Oh zelda, how I do love thee...

    Side note, you forgot to actually say it was wind waker when you were talking about living in japan. (My favourite zelda!)

    I don't know if it's simply bias based off my personal experiences or if it's actually the case, but I grew up in New Zealand and it felt like during the NES and SNES eras, Nintendo barely had any presence there at all. So I never got exposed to Legend of Zelda until the N64, aside from a guy I knew who had it on his Gameboy (I'd seen it, but never played it). The first one I actually played was Ocarina, and that was in an emulator many years after the fact, would have been about 2000 or so.

    Deprived childhood :(

      I had a similar experience, living for the first 6 or 7 years of my life in New Zealand the only Nintendo console i was exposed too was my best friends nintendo 64 and that was mostly pokemon and mario games :P

    Haha, that was so good. I connected with pretty much every title in a similar way...

    Playing a Majora's Mask demo in Parramatta Toys 'R' Us, where a cameraman suddenly decided to squish up right next to me and take some footage of the game. What the hell, man.

    Actually game-related though, the opening of Link's Awakening. First Zelda game I played, and I know that specific scene isn't anything particularly amazing, but I always view it as a key point in my history of gaming, of course wearing some nostalgia goggles as I look back.

    All I got from reading this is that you, Mark, are 29 years of age!

    I, stupidly, for some reason, believed that you were in your early 20's (like 21 or 22). Maybe it's because Scottish men do not age that rapidly, or perhaps it is due to the fact that you look very dapper... either way, I'm shocked! xD

    Oh yes, on topic... erm, zelda something...

    I never played Zelda, I was 17 when it was released in Japan.

    Would it be worth playing now, or is it the kind of thing that is great if it taps childhood memories of playing it, but flat if you didn't play it as a kid?

    And by series you mean remake of one game over and aver again?

      Haters gonna hate.

        Hey I never said it wasn't a good game; and I've played half a dozen Zelda games and enjoyed almost all of them.

    OoT was my first Zelda (still the earliest I've played) and I was PUMPED. I played it at demo kiosks, I read every magazine that slightly mentioned it and christmas morning I devoured it. Incredible.

    Wind Waker dissapointed, I just didn't connect with it. So much seemed to have no real purpose.

    Twilight Princess was my first Wii game and I think that the different control scheme helped set it apart a little, and the scope was epic, but maybe it was a little too OoT? I knew I was playing a masterpiece but it felt maybe to familiar at the same time.

    Oh, and I never played Majora's Mask (Dreamcast was calling...). One day...

    I had a NES but missed the original somehow, then i jumped ship to SEGA for the 16bit generation. I was back to the big N for the N64 so Ocarina was my first Zelda experience and I have been in love ever since! I've played most of them now and Ocarina still wins my nostalgia vote (I still listen to the orchestrated sound track) but I think if all things were equal Wind Waker would probably be the best of the 3D iterations - that game was damn brilliant (even with the fetch quest - it's still not as bad as going through the same damn temple 1000 times in phantom hourglass!).

    I'm yet to make it all the way through the Gamecube version of Twilight princess, I just keep putting it down and taking forever to come back.

    Having never bought a Wii I will probably never play Skyward Sword and to be honest i'm not really upset...

    My current ringtone is Ballad of the Windfish.

      My message notification is the item fanfare: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGE0P_jWWSg&feature=related

    Ocarina of Time was my first Zelda, I loved it to death as well as Majora's Mask.

    Wind Waker blew (pun intended) me away. For a game that was short on temples and had a tacked on fetch quest it's still my favourite game of all time so I can only imagine what it would have been like had it been as full an experience as other Zelda games.

    Twilight Princess was a great game too but I never got into it as much as the previous titles.

    I never got into the 2d games much once I bought them on VC, I enjoyed Minish cap and the DS titles (loved Phantom Hourglass, Spirit Tracks not so much) but never played the original gameboy titles so will probably get them on 3DS VC should they ever materialise.

    Skyward sword intrigues me with its art direction that seems to be a mixture of Wind Waker and Twilight Princess but I'm not sure about the motion controls.

      Apparently Wind Waker was meant to have two extra dungeons instead of the fetch quest. If it had two properly developed dungeons at the end, instead of what it had, it would have probably been the best Zelda game ever made. Shame.

        Nintendo love remakes, they should really do a Wind Waker 1.5 with extra dungeons on the Wii (with the option of waggle or gamecube controls) in widescreen, or in HD on the next console.

          They would barely have to update the visuals. What an amazing art style that game had.

            Mark, I demand you bring out a "I Remember the Legend of Zelda" 1.5 article where you dedicate an entire paragraph to the Fishing in OoT!

            Great article mate, really makes me want to dust off the Wii and give Wind Waker another play. Sure its not as good as OoT in my opinion, but its a very close second. Hell I even enjoyed the fetch quest, but Im the sort of type who only used that song of teleportation when needed. I loved just sailing the high seas.

            Gah! You just made me cry a little, considering the possibility of that potential greatness...

        It definitely was. That was why it didn't have the standard 8 dungeons that most Zelda games do. Still, that game was brilliant regardless. T'was my first 3D Zelda, and nothing before or since (sorry OoT, you were good, but not WW good) has compared when it comes to 3D Zeldas.

        Just as a particular experience I've experienced with Zelda: when Link to the Past got the GBA port with Four Swords included, both my friend and I got into the game heavily. Since I was a massive Sega fan back in the day, and back then you were either a Sega fanboy or a Nintendo fanboy (we're talking the REAL console wars, kids!), I didn't get to play LttP until the GBA port.

        Anyways, a mate of mine and I were powering through Four Swords, having a fantastic time. Then out of nowhere, some walls appear around us and trap us in a fairly small area (3x3 squares, by my recollection). Suddenly, rupees are being spawned everywhere! We both absolutely lost our shit, and started running our Links around, trying out hardest to snap up every last rupee. During this almighty struggle, I accidentally managed to have my Link pick up my friend's Link. He started yelling at me to let him go, and I told him just to shake himself loose.

        So it turns out that in Four Swords, one Link cannot escape the grasp of another Link until they have been thrown by said Link. And as such, anybody who would've walked into that room would've seen one individual cackling at the top of their lungs, yelling such classic lines as "I am the master of the rupees! Tell your friends!", while manoeuvring a sprite around a small screen, while also holding up another similar-looking sprite, hoovering up every single rupee thrown onto the screen. They would have also seen another individual screaming obscenities that would make a sailor blush at the first individual while punching them in the shoulder rapidly.

        When the walls and rupees disappeared and I came out of my rupee-induced stupor, I lifted my head, only to find my friend gone, his unmanned GBA on the floor, and a very painful ache in my shoulder. For some reason, my friend refused to play Four Swords ever again after that. :-P

          WW was your first 3D Zelda, so of COURSE you'd think it was the best one. And it SHOULD feel better than OoT after it had a whole console generation backing it up, better camera mechanics etc. But really, a person getting into Skyward Sword would think it's the best one too.

          Objectively speaking, OoT is probably the 'best' one.

    I have -never- had a Zelda experience. Not more than 10 minutes here or there, at least. I've deftly managed to inadvertantly dodge ever playing the venerable series at all!

    I've owned a SNES, and a DS, but at the time of SNES I wasn't buying my own games, and by the time of the DS, I didn't have time for or interest in an action game. At least, not on that teeny tiny screen.

    The one time I looked into trying to play Ocarina of Time on an emulator, I was put off completely by the horrible 8-directional control. Maybe 3DS will be my salvation there? Only time will tell...

    ...and whether or not they refined the controls.

      Having played the Ocarina demo at one of the 3DS previews, I can tell you that it is probably the best version of Ocarina of Time to date. N64 version still wins over it for being the original version and nostalgia and etc.

      Yeah, I've never had even one second of Zelda, still wondering if it is worth trying it out now, and which one would be best to get one's feet wet.

        It's a shame because there isn't really a Zelda game out there that hasn't aged besides A Link to the Past and Wind Waker. Wind Waker is a flawed masterpiece, but LttP is probably the most perfectly designed game ever made! I would start with that!

    Y'know what? I'm gonna throw this in another direction.

    I never liked OoT. It just... never clicked with me. I just never felt the need to finish it, and had no desire to. Also being different, I thought that TP was better than OoT, and I really enjoyed it. It was a massive game and it all just worked for me.

    My best zelda memory for me though was playing the NES version for the first time around 5 years ago. I was just so shocked at how hard and basic and complex it was at the same time! It really threw me back!

    how cold you write an article about the zelda series and not mention FISHING! so many hours down at that ol' fishing hole..... and the dog track in majora's mask! turned me into the compulsive gambler i am today :P

    totally agree about twilight princess (even though i absolutely loved midna) and wind waker.

      I'd link Sir Ron Lionheart's OoT LP, when he catches the Hylian Loach at the Lake Hyrule fishing pond, but IIRC his reaction to only being rewarded with rupees(?) is NSFW. As was mine, in the day.

    I first played Majoras Mask. I really, [i]really[/i], loved that game. I was younger so I never got into the NES/SNES era, but I have played both games.
    My next favorite have to be Capcom's Oracle of Ages/Seasons games. They are just so fulfilling and have quite a high level of difficulty.

    I like all the Zelda games, but those stand out. I can see Skyward Sword really standing out to me too, and I really hope the Zelda "Collectors Editoin 25th Anniversary" is much, MUCH, better than Mario's.

    How could you write about Zelda and not mention Majora's Mask?! *shakes fist*

    Pretty much all of the above, including finishing Link's awakening around a dozen times over under my bedsheets with a wormlight.

    Maybe I'm one of the few out there who thought Majora's Mask was a better game than OoT. Ocarina did wonders for 3D adventure games and it set the bar, but Majora topped it in almost every aspect. It had great new mechanics, polished old ones, had an interesting spin on the Zelda formula and still looks decent (that N64 Expansion Pak really paid dividends) while OoT's graphics haven't aged well.

    I also loved Twilight Princess and would definitely put in in the top 3 Zeldas, I never understood the backlash. It was horribly delayed and the Wii port was half-assed at best, but it was still fantastic.

    Strangely, my favourite Zeldas have often been the less loved ones. Ages/Seasons I played the shit out of, despite Capcom having the easy option of simply making a Pokemon Red/Blue identical game. But they made 2 distinct games that were both amazing.

    Oh Wind Waker... Definitely the most charming Zelda, with one of the best soundtracks. Great locations, quests, etc. Never wore out its welcome (a minor problem with Twilight Princess).

    Main problem I had with this game was that every portable Zelda or spin-off since just completely re-used the chibi art style. The DS could have easily powered a 3D Zelda, but no... The DS/GBA games were all 2D Links Awakenings with the recycled WW art direction. As far as I'm concerned, The OoT remake was a generation late.

      Agreed with most of the above as well! DS Zeldas were a massive disappointment - just didn't feel canon, or like proper zelda. I can't explain it.

        I know, right! I just can't put my finger on it, but the DS Zeldas just feel... wonky.
        It's almost like watching a sock puppet reenactment of your favourite movie.

      You'd be surprised.
      There are a lot of Zelda fans who far prefer Majoras Mask over Ocarina of Time

    I remember getting Link to the Past out of pity after some major nasal surgery. I remember waking up early each morning because I was excited each day to play Ocarina of Time. I remember getting the Hylian loach and 2,000 score on horseback archery. In Majora's Mask I remember the rush to complete quests in time. In Wind Waker I loved the quests where you stalked and photographed people. And finally in Twilight Princess I loved fishing and the fight mechanics.

    I'm not a big Zelda fan in that I have really never played anything but Ocarina of Time. That said, OoT was a masterpiece. It only took 3 games to really make the N64, for me, and OoT was one of them.

    Guess the other two for cool prizes.

    (Prizes may or may not be cool or have form of any kind.)

    I've only ever played Twilight Princess, and about half of Ocarina of Time. I got up to the Water Temple and ragequit. Ocarina of Time may have been the better game in terms of groundbreaking new design, but I think Twilight Princess polished and refined that design (no matter how marginally), making it my preferred Zelda game of the two. Yes I haven't played any of the other games. Someone punish me =(

      Also interesting that you used a Twilight Princess picture of Link when you much clearly prefer the other console games over that one =D

    I loved OoT so much, first played in in a mall when the traveling Nintendo stand set up in my town it was pure magic in the Doku tree. My main wtf in the Zelda series was Zelda 2 on the NES with the whole side scrolling thing and seeing a CDi version when i was in Asia, that game was wacked.

    For the last year every morning I have woken up to the Kakariko Village tune.


    Never gets old!

    my fondest memories of zelda were of ocarina of time, pursuing the big Goron's sword quest haha :)

    oh and lord Jabbu Jabbu's belly qeust because of how many times i died during the Octopus boss battle.

    how could you not love twilight princess? i understand if you only played the wii version, but the gamecube version played as originally intended is amazing.

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