Because they don’t count the CDi Zelda games, and because they count the repeatedly re-released Ocarine of Time twice, Nintendo promotes a worldview in which 17  Zelda games have been released in the past 25 years.
I’m fine with that.
But I didn’t notice until I was looking at Nintendo’s new Zelda history chart today that in the first half of our quarter century of Zelda we only had five Zelda games. In the second 12.5 years of the Zelda era, we’ve had a dozen more.
Are we fine with that?
People do love their Zelda, and I’m an admitted Zelda outlier. I prefer Majora’s Mask to Ocarine; Spirit Tracks to Phantom Hourglass. I have a hunch that, if I were to go back and play them, I’d prefer Minish Cap to A Link to… oh, who am I kidding? I’m not that much of a contrarian.
How odd (and commercially comprehensible) it is that in 25 years, Zeldas have gone from being rarities to being an annual cascade. But if weirdos like me are going to like the Zeldas a lot of other people are going to say were the weak ones, maybe we need that many to keep folks (those with my refined tastes and those without) happy.
Looking at Nintendo’s Zelda history chart, a few other things stand out to me that I also never noticed until now:
1) He stopped using what looks like a Christian shield a long time ago.
2) He changed his hair colour.
3) The Zelda releases are slowing down a tad lately, so maybe new ones are going to be rarities again. (Aside from this year sort of being a two-release Zelda year, of course.)
Want more Zeldas? Less?
*Nintendo’s Zelda history chart may show 16 spots, but the keen observer will notice that Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages share a spot.