Have you ever wanted to be a hero? Someone who rides through fields on a shining steed while wielding a sword of mystical powers and racing to save the fate of your world? Well, then I suggest you play The Legend of Zelda, a critically acclaimed series of video games published by Nintendo.
This series has developed a legend of its own in the video game world, with its 16 official games earning numerous awards – from Spike TV’s Video Game Hall of Fame Award to Electronic Gaming Monthly’s Gold Award. The first game in the series, The Legend of Zelda, was created by Japanese video game producer Shigeru Miyamoto, who has also created some of the most successful video game franchises in history in Mario, Donkey Kong and Pikmin.
The games all feature similar stories: you are Link, a young boy (sometimes a teen) who starts out living a very ordinary life. The setting and time period of each game varies; in the most recent game, Skyward Sword, Link is in his early teens and lives in the floating city of Skyloft. As each game progresses, the character of Zelda appears, usually as Link’s companion.
Each game also contains a special guide character that helps Link travel the lands of whatever world he is in and leads him in the right directions. This guide usually reveals to Link he is the “chosen hero” of the goddesses, and it is his job to protect Zelda from the evil forces wishing to use her power. The main villain in The Legend of Zelda series is Ganon, also called Ganondorf. His goal is to steal all the pieces of the Triforce, a magical relic granting the holder the power of the Gods, and achieve world domination.
I have played many of the games on different consoles, and I can tell you they are all fantastic. One of the games released on the Nintendo DS, The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, is quite remarkable. The game uses the touch screen to its full effect. You not only use it to do basic actions like swinging your sword and movement, but you also have to blow on it to put out fires in the game and draw pictures to solve certain puzzles. The puzzle aspect of the Zelda games is what really sets them apart from other action-adventure titles. Each game has a series of dungeons or temples that you must maneuver through, and they’re filled with not only enemies but riddles of all kinds.
The Wii, a highly underrated game console in my opinion, provides two of the most fantastic and beautiful of the Zelda games: Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword. These games feature the use of the Wii remote for swinging your sword and the nunchucks for actions of movement, sprinting and shooting arrows. Also, the different areas unlocked throughout the games are detailed beautifully, with bright colors and extreme attention to detail. The temples and dungeons throughout the game are very well created, too, with each containing different enemies and levels that the character can explore.
The game series has spawned an intense fan base. As of December 2011, the franchise had sold 67.93 million copies since the first game, The Legend of Zelda, in 1986. There have been countless Zelda fan clubs and memes of the game series, and they even have their own official website, www.zelda.com/universe.
T-shirts, book bags, hats, mugs and many other fan trinkets have been created as well, and the music from the game has even been released on CDs for fans to purchase. I own the 25th Anniversary CD of The Legend of Zelda, and the music is enthralling and melodic. It entices your ears and creates an atmosphere in your mind that perfectly represents the game’s settings.
Graphic novels have been written about the series, and they’ve even been adapted into movies and TV shows. I’ve also watched a lot of parodies of The Legend of Zelda series on YouTube, including Smosh’s The Legend of Zelda Rap, which has more than 25 million views and was released to celebrate the release of the newest Zelda game, Skyward Sword. It provides humor, but also teaches you a little about the history of the Zelda series in an absurd and quirky way.
Overall, I greatly enjoy the Zelda game series, and not only like the actual games themselves, but the many other things associated with them. They are exciting, beautiful, and actually very challenging, despite being games focused toward a younger audience. My personal favorite is Twilight Princess, because of its more mature and complex plot, but I can definitely say the others are just as legendary.
I enjoy all of the games I have played, but if I had to recommend one series, The Legend of Zelda would be it.