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The Legend of Zelda (NES, 1987)

Run Jump Shoot #17 - The Legend of Zelda  (NES, 1987)

By Nathan Meunier

October 1, 2008 - When I first laid my hands on The Legend of Zelda, I had absolutely no clue what an addiction the series would become for me in the years ahead. Turning the power on, the melodic notes of the classic theme stirred something inside. I'd never seen anything quite like it before, but I knew right away; this was my kind of game.

The little elf-boy's journey begins very simply. The very first screen contains a small black cave that immediately beckons you into its depths. Therein resides an old man who expresses concern for your wellbeing before presenting you with the very first tool at your disposal - a tool that I recall made me want to immediately kick some ass. The kind gesture is not lost on me, but I can't help thinking the gift was ill-thought out. In retrospect, it seems like such a dangerous quest calls for something more than a whittled stick with a hilt. Delving into the murky depths with a half-assed poker is no way to go adventuring.

Run Jump Shoot #17 - The Legend of Zelda  (NES, 1987)

Regardless, Zelda very quickly impressed by giving players a freaking huge fantasy world to freely romp around in. Exploring the overworld in an attempt to locate and overcome the game's numerous dungeons (some of which were a bastard to find) was a relatively innovative concept. Its nonlinear nature was balanced well by the confined, maze-like dungeons themselves.

Zelda's dungeon formula - find some keys, find the map, find a compass, find a cool special weapon, kill a bunch of stuff, nab the Triforce piece, and move on to the next dungeon - is an action RPG staple nowadays. Back then, it was something fresh and exciting. It's endured well over several ages of sequels and spinoffs, and I suspect it will continue to do so long into the future. Little Link's ongoing saga is timeless.

By Nathan Meunier
CCC Staff Contributor / Pixel Artist

The Legend of Zelda  (NES, 1987) Screenshot

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