As part of its celebration of The Legend of Zelda’s 35th anniversary, Nintendo announced at E3 2021 a special Game & Watch system with three classic games: the 1986 original, its polarising sequel The Adventure of Link, and the Game Boy version of Link’s Awakening.
The Legend of Zelda debuted on the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1986, spawning a sequel the following year en route to becoming a mainstay in Nintendo’s development schedule. In the 35 years since, every major Nintendo home console, from the Super Nintendo to the Switch, has received at least one mainline Zelda game. This long-standing tradition culminated in the 2017 release of Breath of the Wild, a game many consider the best in the franchise even with the depth and variety of the classics that came before it.
That’s why, when the series’ 35th anniversary came and went in February without any celebration, fans couldn’t help but wonder if Nintendo had anything substantial in store for The Legend of Zelda. Sure, the company announced a high-definition re-release of waggle-filled, red-headed stepchild Skyward Sword (originally launched on the Wii in 2011) and a direct Breath of the Wild sequel is still in active development, but it’s far from the extravaganza one might expect for a series of such enduring importance. Fortunately, with today’s announcement, folks don’t have to wonder about Nintendo’s plans anymore.
Last year, Nintendo recognised a similar milestone for the Mario series, marking the occasion with the launch of Super Mario 3D All-Stars. The release included mostly faithful recreations of three fantastic games — Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy — bundled with a bunch of great music and artwork from the series’ past. Of course, this only led people to complain about Super Mario Galaxy 2 not being included in the collection, but all in all, it was a nice way to look back on Mario’s history.
Even if The Legend of Zelda ended today, it would leave behind a monumental legacy, one that helped shape the early days of modern gaming and inspired countless creators to make games of their own. I consider everything we get from here on out as just extra cherries on top of an already-wonderful sundae.