This year marks the 35th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda series, and we could think of no better way to honor this fantastic series of games than by compiling a list of our top 35 favorite things about it! All month long, we’ll be counting down from thirty-five to one the people, places, items, and activities from The Legend of Zelda series that make the games special, memorable, and well-worth playing. Per our usual schedule, watch for new posts on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, and share your own thoughts on the series in the comment sections. And so, happy 35th to The Legend of Zelda – let’s get this party started!
35. The Zelda timeline
Jacob: For the most part, I didn’t care all that much about the Zelda timeline when I was a young fan. It was enough that the games were fun and the world was interesting. That said, I do find it fascinating how all the games link up now. The concept of a repeating cycle; a timeline that actually accounts for the Hero of Time failing, and even a not-so-happy end for some of the Links, it’s all fascinating to dig into.
Duck: I got a chance to really study the Zelda timeline once I managed to get my hands on a copy of the glorious Hyrule Historia book. Obviously, the logical explanation for why the Zelda series features the same characters involved in a seemingly endless list of adventures can best be summed up with this simple truth: it’s a video game; it doesn’t have to make sense. Nevertheless, I appreciate Nintendo’s efforts to make sense out of the nonsensical with the whole idea of reincarnation and branching timelines depending on whether Link defeats Ganondorf (or whoever the villain happens to be) or fails. I mean, think about it, whenever you die, that technically means you failed to save the day, often resulting in Ganondorf ruling Hyrule!
Cary: I will be the first to admit that I don’t fully understand how to follow the lore of The Legend of Zelda games. And it probably doesn’t help that I’ve never played a few key games, especially the series’ early titles. That said, among the games I have played, plenty of lore threads are evident, and it’s clear that the games tell the story of Hyrule itself; Zelda, Link, Ganondorf are all players on its stage. Sometimes the story threads don’t intermingle in the most obvious ways, but it’s impressive that Nintendo has been able to maintain some semblance of a timeline over the span of so many games.
34. Soaring Across the World in Breath of the Wild
Jacob: Honestly, I can’t really comment on this all that much, because I didn’t play Breath of the Wild. Gliding around does indeed look fun, but not enough to overcome the game’s sheer openness for me.
Duck: Oh yes, Breath of the Wild was truly a game-changer for the series, whether you were climbing up practically every available surface or gliding clear across this new, massive version of Hyrule. I had so much fun just climbing to the tops of mountains, finding something interesting in the distance, and gliding off towards my next destination. In that moment, that sense of adventure had no equal!
Cary: Every now and then, a mechanic is introduced into a steady game series that completely changes the playing field. The addition of the glider in Breath of the Wild was that mechanic for the Zelda series. Add to this the fact that game had pretty great climbing mechanics, too, and exploration across Hyrule became magical and compelling. I spent far more time in the game traversing Breath of the Wild’s world by glider than I should have, mainly because it was just an awesome way to travel, but partly because I had to push the glider’s limits. Oh yes, I sent Link flying off cliffs and into dark crevasses a lot, but it was all in the name of adventure, and flying!
Next up, #33-31!