Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles As the legend goes, the world was created by three Goddesses. Together, they also created the Triforce, a magical object that would grant a wish to anyone who possessed all three of the Goddesses' virtues. However, should there be an improper balance of these virtues, the Triforce would be split. Throughout time, only a select few have wielded the individual powers granted by the Triforce; Ganondorf, a dark lord seeking to overthrow the kingdom of Hyrule, has long possessed the Triforce of power. Zelda, the noble princess of Hyrule, wields the Triforce of wisdom. And Link, a brave young hero, bears the mark of the Triforce of courage. Only by reuniting the pieces could the ultimate power of the Triforce be obtained. In pursuit of ultimate power, and in defense against it, many battles has been fought between these characters of good and evil. The legend itself has spawned many adventures across multiple timelines in an attempt to cover them all! This is the evolution of The Legend of Zelda! Let's start at the very beginning. Shigeru Miyamoto, a name that is no doubt familiar to Nintendo fans, created a few small indie franchises, such as Donkey Kong, Mario, and the Legend of Zelda. I'm of course kidding, these are some of the best-selling and most loved franchises in the world! When Miyamoto was a child, he loved adventures. He spent days exploring and discovering things as he went. One day he came upon a cave, and, after days of hesitation, went inside with just a small lantern. These adventures inspired Miyamoto to create The Legend of Zelda, a franchise which largely takes place in the fantasy kingdom of Hyrule. The name of the series was a bold choice, considering the chief protagonist and playable character is actually Link, not Zelda. I'm sure a few of you will say: “Wait what?! That boy is not Zelda??” No, that is Link. Link is modelled after Peter Pan, Miyamoto confirmed it in an interview, adding he was a big fan of Disney. I mean it's fairy obvious… Okay, I'll let myself out. It also helped that distinctive features, such as a long green hat and pointy ears, made Link stand out in early games of the series when graphics were very limited. Throughout the years, Zelda games have been spread in multiple timelines. It's fair to say that Miyamoto probably didn't envision The Legend of Zelda becoming the mammoth franchise that it is today. After all, there have been 19 major releases, with one more on the way. Now though, let's dust off the cartridges and go back in time to when our adventure first began! The original Legend of Zelda, the game that started it all, was released in February 1986. It could be played on the Famicom in Japan, and more than a year later, on the NES in the rest of the world The groundbreaking new game invited players to play as a boy named Link, in an action adventure title. Link must defeat Ganon to save princess Zelda and become the Hero of Hyrule. The gameplay was revolutionary, pioneering many features that would later become industry standards. It was completely different compared to the linear gameplay of games like Mario Brothers. The Legend of Zelda gave you choices, allowed players to explore both overworld and dungeon sections freely, providing you had the necessary items required for some areas. This variety and freedom to take different paths separated it from other games at the time. It was also the first console game with the ability to save one's progress and resume playing later. Funnily enough, if we go through the entire timeline of the Zelda games, we find the original Legend of Zelda almost at the end. Despite this, it was the one that introduced the main characters, setting and lore that would come to be loved and appreciated by many for years to come. Upon completing the game, players also unlocked a more difficult 'Second Quest'. While the idea of a trickier replay wasn't anything new, the fact that areas and items were rearranged, offering different levels to complete, was innovative. The Legend of Zelda was extremely well-received by fans and critics. It went on to sell more than 6.5 million copies worldwide, making it the 5th highest-selling game on the NES. FUN FACT: Did you know that the iconic main theme music was created in a single night? Nintendo's composer, Koji Kondo, initially wanted to use the song 'Bolero', but developers discovered that the song was still under copyright. Kondo therefore came up with his own tune, although it is seemingly still heavily inspired by Bolero. In 1987, 'Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link' arrived as a sequel to the original. It picked up the story only a few years after the first game. The now 16-year-old Link notices a strange mark on the back of his hand. According to Impa, this means that he is the hero chosen to awaken Zelda, who has fallen under a sleeping spell. To awaken her he needs the Triforce. The Adventure of Link came with significant changes to the gameplay and visuals. It introduced a levelling up system, and combined a top down view with side-scrolling action. The combat system was more challenging. This time the enemies could actually fight, whereas in the first, it felt more like the enemies were obstacles. And for those of you who hate the game, you're probably just tired of hearing Ganon laugh. Zelda 2 did not reach the heights of the first game in terms of sales, but it still sold 4.4 million copies on the NES, placing it 8th among the best-selling games for the console. 'The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past' came in 1991. It was released on the Super Famicom in Japan and the SNES in the rest of the world. Due to the success of previous Zelda games Nintendo was able to invest a substantial amount. This led to a remarkably expansive world with a Light and Dark World. The concept of two different worlds offered gamers the chance to explore familiar yet varied environments. Locations such as Hyrule Castle turned into the Pyramid of Power. A Link to the Past returned to the overhead view and gameplay style of the original Legend of Zelda. However, graphical upgrades brought about by the SNES meant that players benefitted from more detailed scenery and beautiful colors. A Link to the Past is a prequel to the original two Zelda games. The story is more elaborate than the first two. Yet again, Link is on an epic adventure, exploring dungeons, fighting enemies all to save Zelda and Hyrule, for a short while anyways… This Zelda was groundbreaking for its time. It had many puzzles which worked really well in the game. The all-important Master Sword was introduced… And it had amazing dungeons, story, music and enemies. Many still regard it as one of the greatest games ever. A Link to the Past became a huge success, selling over 4.6 million copies worldwide, placing it 7th on the list of most-sold SNES games. 'Link's Awakening' is the first entry in the series to release on a handheld in 1993. It was released on the Game Boy. Link's Awakening was quite unique in that it was one of the few games in the franchise not to take place in Hyrule, or to feature the princess Zelda or indeed the Triforce relic. The story does continue after A Link in the Past. After Link saved Hyrule, he went on a journey to sail across the oceans and came in a rough storm. Lighting struck and everything turned dark. Link found himself stranded on an island. Before Link can escape from the Island he has to go through another adventure. The game was loved, but it lacked something… That's right, it lacked color, that's why Nintendo made Link's Awakening in color for the Game Boy Color. Both versions were a massive success. The original sold 3.8 million copies and the color version sold another 2.2 million. While I won't cover all Zelda game remakes, I will feature the remake of Link's Awakening that came in 2019 for the Nintendo Switch. It is a fantastic remake that keeps its charm while having the visuals of Playmobil. Link's Awakening also introduced a character more powerful than Ganon! The shopkeeper when you steal something. After an agonizing 5-year wait, came 'Ocarina of Time' in 1998. It was released on the Nintendo 64. Making use of the N64's graphics capabilities, Ocarina of Time led the transition to 3D gameplay, which was an important evolution in the franchise. It also introduced a targeting system that allowed players to lock onto enemies. Character models were far more realistic and detailed, plus there were many more side quests and items to collect. Ocarina of time takes place before all the previous games in the series. In the story Link has a fairy companion named Navi. Players traveled through different realms and time periods on a mission to stop Ganondorf from obtaining and using the Triforce's ultimate power. In the child world, things are fun and happy and then you become an adult and everything sucks. It's almost like real life! After the Ocarina of Time, the timeline splits into three branches in which Zelda games take place. There is a timeline where the Hero of Time is defeated and the Hero is triumphant in the Child and Adult Era timelines.. At the end of the Ocarina of Time, Zelda sends Link back in time to be a kid again. That's why there is a Child Era besides the Adult Era. While the 3D graphics noticeably aged compared to the newer Zelda games, these graphics were actually groundbreaking for its time and helped shape the way 3D games were made moving forward. Despite its graphics, it's still an amazing game to play, even after 22 years. Ocarina of Time has earned a wide recognition as one of the best video games of all time. Nintendo sold a whopping 7.6 million copies, placing it 4th on the list of most-sold N64 games. FUN FACT: Nintendo planned to make an expansion for the Ocarina of Time, named 'Ura Zelda'. However, it was designed for the Nintendo 64 Disk Drive, that was due to commercial failure, only released in Japan. Nintendo scrapped the release of Ura Zelda and instead used parts of the expansion for the Ocarina of Time Master Quest. Only two years after the release of Ocarina of Time, came Majora's Mask in the year 2000. Nintendo has been known for the innovative takes on the Zelda formula, to keep Zelda fresh. Love it or hate it, Majora's Mask is one of those different takes, in which Link is in a search for his fairy Navi, whom he lost at the end of Ocarina of Time. In search of Navi, Link finds Termina, a land which is under threat of destruction from a giant falling moon. Majora's Mask is a sequel of Ocarina of Time and is the first Zelda game in the Child Era timeline. The story is very dark and creepy, so it's good that they rated it E for: Everything is terrifying. The graphics and gameplay are almost similar to its predecessor, but that doesn't stop the game from being original. The 3-day system, the ability to change into different beings using various masks and the dark, but beautiful, story make this an incredible Zelda game. Majora's Mask had the impossible task of living up to the expectations of Ocarina of Time, which sold 7.6 million copies. Majora's Mask however only sold 3.4 million copies. By the way, Emberlab has made an incredible animation about Majora's Mask! Just imagine if they made a full movie with this quality! I would highly recommend giving the video a watch! The link is in the description! 'Oracle of Ages' and 'Oracle of Seasons' are two Legend of Zelda games that were released in 2001. Both saw life on the Game Boy Color and have different stories that happen in the timeline after Link's Awakening. In Oracle of Ages, Link has the Harp of Ages, which he can use to travel between the past and present, while in the Oracle of Seasons, Link has the Rod of the Seasons, which he can use to solve puzzles and change the seasons. Both games also had a different focus: Oracle of Ages focuses more on puzzles, while Oracle of Seasons focuses more on action. The games basically copied the controls, graphics and sounds from Link's Awakening and although they weren't revolutionary games in the Zelda series, they sure were fun games to play on the go.