One of the most iconic franchises in the business, Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda, celebrates its 25th anniversary today. This is the day that the original Zelda went on sale in Japan, kickstarting a series that would sell 59 million units worldwide
The series, which was released in Japan on February 21, 1986 on the NES (known as the Famicom over in Japan), ushered in a completely new era of adventure games with its unique expansive overworld that hadn’t been seen in any other games during the time. The series has become one of Nintendo’s most treasured properties with every one of their platforms having a title grace it, save the Virtual Boy.
Created by a legend himself, Shigeru Miyamoto, the game was and is still considered the title to help start many conventions in action/adventure RPGs – a huge, non-linear overworld, an attack button with animated weapon, and even battery-based saving inside the cartridge to avoid the dreaded scribbling of passwords. The game also gave birth to many recurring elements – including the land of Hyrule itself, the powerful Triforce, Dodongos, Darknuts, Keese, Octorok and Leevers.
As of April 2010, The Legend of Zelda series has sold over 59 million copies since, and the original game ranks as fourth best selling out of any NES game.
Dedicated USENET newsgroups have followed Zelda since the very beginning, first starting in general Nintendo newsgroups and then migrating to individual newsgroups for each game and platform for many of the chapters of the series.
After 25 years, the Zelda universe has stayed around in numerous sequels, TV shows, and merchandise, and you can guarantee, that people aren’t forgetting about this game for a long time.
Nintendo will be continuing the brand with the Summer 2011 release of the Nintendo 3DS port of the classic The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Alongside the Wii release of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword later this year.