#3: The Legend of Zelda

Released In: 1987
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo

      The King of Darkness, Gannon (later retconned to Ganon), has stolen the Triforce of Power and kidnapped Princess Zelda. Before she was kidnapped, Zelda split its counterpart, the Triforce of Wisdom, into eight parts and hid them throughout Hyrule. As the hero Link, you must reassemble the Triforce and find the Master Sword. Only then will you be strong enough to enter Gannon's Death Mountain lair where you will attempt to defeat Gannon, rescue Zelda, and secure the Triforce of Power.

Syd Lexia: This game isn't just fun, it's also highly quotable. When you say something like "EASTMOST PENINSULA IS SECRET" or "PAY ME FOR THE DOOR REPAIR CHARGE" anyone worth knowing will instantly know what you're talking about.

Valdronius: The only memories I have of this game involve wandering around aimlessly and not really getting anywhere. I only played it a handful of times, but that was enough to turn me off from the game. Maybe my mental cartography skills were lacking, but I prefer a game that gives you relatively clear direction as to what to do next. Legend of Zelda dropped you in front a cave, where some old guy gave you a sword and sent you on your way. I don’t particularly enjoy wandering through screen after screen with no real destination. I even gave the game another chance recently, but after finding the third dungeon first, I knew it was going to be bad. I’m not going to deny the game its place in Nintendo history. It spawned a good line of games, and even a television show. There are thousands and thousands of people who absolutely love this game. I am not one of them. Frankly, I hate it.

Rycona: The foothold and beginning of a wonderful series. Sure, it's had its bad day like every other series, but it always seems to find some way to reinvent itself.

greeneyedzeke: Oh, Legend of Zelda, what a history we have. Our story began in 1987 when my mother took me out to find my third ever NES game, after the Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt cartridge that came with the system. However, it was not meant to be, for the lying whoremaster behind the counter at Caldor warned me that “that Zelda game is probably too hard for you, so try this instead”, and I left the store with Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out clutched in my hand. While not a bad game, it was not Zelda. Angels wept.

But my fourth game... Ah, my fourth game was you. And it was a joyous occasion. If I had a time machine, I would set it to that day, only so that I could remove your plastic wrap again, gaze in wonder at the golden shimmer of your casing, and sit aghast at the euphoric expulsion of your majestic theme for my television speakers.

Since that day, I have owned you in other forms – Gamecube bonus disc, Game Boy Advance “Classic Series” cartridge - but it is that gilded, oversized NES case that I always come back to. It is the way you were meant to be played.

Your level structure was sublime, your character designs whimsical. You had nerds rapping about you in commercials and some guy in a black jump suit screaming the names of your enemies. You were untouchable. And they tried to knock you off that lofty pedestal. You were sequelized and updated. Pretenders and wannabes claimed they were “better” than you. But where are they now? They are forgotten. But not you. No, you are immortal.

You, Legend of Zelda, are Master of the Universe! Yes, I feel it. The power fills you. I feel the universe within you. You are part of the cosmos! The power flows through you. Of what consequence are any of us now? This planet, these people. We are nothing! The universe is power! Real, unstoppable, power! And you are the force. You are that power. We are no longer your equal! You are more than man! You are more than life! You are a god!

Dr. Jeebus: A true classic if there ever was one. Is there a better way to start off one of the greatest video game franchises of all time than with a game featuring rather dubious translations? IT'S A SECRET TO EVERYONE.

BACK                              NEXT

20: Mega Man

19: Metal Gear

18: Crystalis

17: Maniac Mansion

16: Ninja Gaiden

15: StarTropics

14: Tetris

13: Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!

12: Metroid

11: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game

10: Super Mario Bros.

9: Battletoads

8: Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse

7: Contra

6: Bubble Bobble

5: Mega Man 2

4: Mega Man 3

3: The Legend of Zelda

2: Final Fantasy

1: Super Mario Bros. 3

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