So today (It's still the 21st as I write this) marks the 25th anniversary of the release of The Legend of Zelda. It made it's debut on the Japanese only Famicom Disk System then in 1987 it came to the US on the NES. Since then we've all helped a young swordsman named Link save a princess named Zelda from the thief Ganon.
I remember when I got my NES and along with it were two games (Well four if you count Gyromite and Duck Hunt) Super Mario Bros and The Legend of Zelda. SMB I had played before in the arcade and on a friend's NES. LOZ on the other hand was something completely new to me. I didn't really have any experience with RPGs at that point so playing Zelda for the first time I was blown away by the massive scale this game had. Pretty much the whole world is available to you from the start of the game and you're free to explore and find your way in the land of Hyrule. Wooden Sword in hand you guide Link out into the wilds to fight Octoroks and Moblins. I was in awe of everything this game had.
Legend of Zelda was also a game I struggled with for some time, it actually holds my record for taking the longest time to beat. A little bit into the game I became hopelessly stuck unable to locate the raft and get to the fourth dungeon. I knew the raft was in the third dungeon but for some reason I couldn't find it. Eventually after about a year of playing it on and off I finally found the item I so desperately needed! As anyone who's played this knows Darknuts are some of the worst enemies in the game and in the third dungeon they are everywhere. Well there is a room that is completely filled with these monstrous knights and past that room is where the raft waited for me. I was still really young when I played this in 1987 but I'll admit I felt dumb when I found the raft. I was just avoiding the Darknut room not wanting to fight them and eventually I decided it was the thing to do and BAM, RAFT! After that I sailed right through the rest of the game in a couple days. The one thing though through all of that searching was that the game was still really fun.
After I killed Ganon I was surprised to find a whole second quest ahead of me! I immediately jumped back into the game and did it all over again. This time nothing stood in my way and I plowed my way to Ganon a second time. This game also has one of the first secrets in a game I ever found on my own. If you take a empty save file and name it Zelda you start on the second quest. My sister had wanted to play so I gave her a slot named Zelda as I was Link to only discover the game was different. I don't remember how I found out it was the second quest but I did and I really happy with myself for finding this out on my own.
Since the first Legend of Zelda we've been given plenty of sequels on all manner of platforms but this is also part of the series weakness. Every Zelda gave is really the exact same game, especially story wise. I guess it works but I would of liked to see the story evolve into more not just become rehash after rehash. There are a few entries in the series that deviate from this mold but they are few and far between.
Over the years I've had a lot of fun with the Zelda series and I look back on all those games fondly. The original introduced me to a completely different type of game that I had never played before and it remains to this day one of the best games ever made for any platform.