The Legend of Zelda was one of the killer apps for the NES and was largely responsible for creating and popularizing the action RPG genre. Released in 1987, it spawned a franchise that continues today. Zelda has changed a lot over the years but the first game of the series is still one of the best.
The name of the game always seemed to be the source of some confusion as the name of the protagonist was Link and Zelda was the princess he was attempting to rescue. As Link, you are tasked with finding the Triforce of Wisdom pieces that Princess Zelda hid to protect them from the evil prince that invaded the kingdom and to rescue her from said prince.
The Legend of Zelda has spawned a large number of sequels (mostly prequels really) over the years. My favorite will probably always be A Link to the Past on the Super Nintendo but they are all excellent games. I just prefer the 2D variants to the newer 3D games.
There were several unique things about the original Legend of Zelda. It was the first NES game with a battery backup, the cartridge was the only one that had that distinctive gold color, and it was the first NES title to sell over a million copies, eventually selling over 6.5 million copies in total. It’s probably harder to find a “best” or “most influential” games of all-time list without Zelda in it than it is to find one with it. It would be hard to overstate the popularity and influence of this game.
The Legend of Zelda was eventually ported to the Game Boy Advance in 2004 and the GameCube in 2006. It was also released in emulated form for the Wii, Wii U and 3DS virtual consoles. This game is pretty easy to come by in one form or another so there’s no reason to miss out. This is one definitely worth playing for those who have not even if this isn’t your favorite genre and it is probably worth a replay if its been a while.
The Legend of Zelda (1986)