The very first game that started me into the world of gaming was not ‘Zelda’. In fact, I had already been playing some games on the Intellivision and the NES before I ever heard of ‘Zelda’. It had released in Japan a year and a half before I got to play it, but when I finally got my hands on the title in late 1987, I was three years old and I was hooked.
At the time, I was not aware that Link started his adventure on the Famicom Disk System, which released in Japan with the game as its feature title on February 21, 1986. I wouldn’t hear about a Famicom until my age hit double digits.
By Evan-Amos – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19135792
I also didn’t know that ‘The Legend of Zelda’ was a groundbreaking game. I didn’t know that it would serve as a template for many action RPGs later on. I didn’t know about battery backup saving, nonlinear gameplay or open worlds. I didn’t know that it would become the first of many in a series, and that Link would be one of the most popular game characters of all time, even though some people still called him Zelda.
By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30877412
What I did know was that this game was different. The music was catchy, and I would sing the tune on the playground. I would sit and be amazed by all the different colors of the dungeons, the amount of different items you could swap, and try to open all of the rooms on the map in the dungeons. I spent (probably way too much) time trying to find my way through the forest, and figure out how to get that heart piece that just seems right out of reach. I was whisked away to new lands using a flute, battled ghosts after disturbing their graves, and climbed the highest mountains raining down boulders, all to save a princess from an evil being named Ganon.
For the first time, at the young age of three, I really CONNECTED with a game. And I wasn’t the first. ‘The Legend of Zelda’ was a huge hit both in Japan and America, and by the time I played the game its successor ‘The Adventure of Link’ had already been out for almost a year. And although the Famicom has come and gone, Link and Zelda still continue their adventures today on the newest consoles bringing their story to a whole new generation of gamers. The series continues to be my favorite today. I love to open ‘The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia’ and look at the stories and behind the scenes artwork. I’ve proudly shown my own children the different iterations of LoZ on different consoles, as well as the cartoon that I watched late in the 1980s on the “Super Mario Bros Super Show”. For Christmas, my husband even bought me the Master Sword.
So Happy Birthday to ‘The Legend of Zelda’ (and to the Famicom Disk System)! 30 years and counting. May you have the courage, wisdom, and strength to continue for years to come.