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 keep this party going!
30. Weird characters here, there, and everywhere!
Jacob: I don’t recall many of the side characters in Zelda, but the ones I can really stand out. There is the enigmatic Happy Mask Salesman of course, but the guy that immediately comes to mind is the Windmill/Organ Grinder guy. In OoT, he’s unwittingly caught up in a time paradox of sorts and in Majora’s Mask he’s a guy who joined a pack of animals and became insanely jealous of the leader dog. Really weird dude, that guy.
Duck: The first Zelda game I ever played was Majora’s Mask, which had its own assortment of odd people. From the very start, we have the Happy Mask Man, who can switch from happiness to rage and back again at a moment’s notice. We also meet the musician Guru-Guru, who was once part of a group of animals led by a dog, of whom he was jealous. And of course, we can’t forget the guy living in the inn’s toilet!
Cary: Strange and unusual characters in the Zelda series could probably be its own list! Since I most recently played the remake of Link’s Awakening, I still have fairly clearly in mind the set of oddball folks Link meets during the game’s rather long-winded trading sequence. For example, during it, Link meets a woman whose kid just wants a Yoshi doll, a dog food-loving alligator named Sale, a guy named Tarin who wants to wack some bees, and Chef Bear who can apparently cook with honey but not pineapple. And Link doesn’t bat an eyelash at any one of them.
29. Breath of the Wild was kind of a big deal
Jacob: I wasn’t actually all that excited for this one. The climbing looked cool and the gliding looked fun, but as soon as I heard it was going to be a very open-world kind of game, I kind of lost interest. It didn’t help that apparently the dungeons (or what passed for them anyway) had much less depth than those in previous games. Freedom in games is great, but too much can be boring. Of course, I didn’t play it, so my take could be totally wrong.
Duck: Like so many other Zelda fans, I could barely contain my excitement as I awaited the release of, and subsequently bought, the biggest Zelda game to date, Breath of the Wild. Though I couldn’t see them, just knowing that I was playing the very same game as countless other fans was a real bonding experience. I can’t think of many other games where I was able to discuss my experiences with others online who were playing the game at the same time as me, people who had taken different paths and had sometimes made discoveries I had not yet made myself or who had yet to accomplish tasks that I had already done.
Cary: I don’t think it can be overstated just how much Breath of the Wild progressed the Zelda series by literal leaps and bounds. The game is still very rooted in all the things that make the series what it is, but its re-envisioning and re-imagining of Hyrule, Link’s quest, and Zelda’s story diverted from the tried and true in some really awesome ways. With more ways to travel, more things to do other than fight of enemies and break open pots, and new approaches to dungeons and temples, nothing about the game was normal, and yet, everything was.
28. The Kafei and Anju side quest in Majora’s Mask
Jacob: I really enjoyed peeling back the layers of what was going on here. Learning that there was a missing person, discovering Kafei’s child-like cursed form, and helping him stake out Sakon’s hideout, it was all riveting. It also spans the full 3 days, so the pay-off at the very edge of the apocalypse was all the more impactful I think. Easily the best sidequest in the game.
Duck: The most involved side quest in Majora’s Mask involved the couple Kafei and Anju, who were soon to be married. That is, until Kafei mysteriously vanished. Long story short, it all ends with the two reunited and awaiting their impending doom mere hours before the moon was destined to destroy Clock Town and the surrounding area. Definitely an emotional moment indeed.
Up next, #27-25!