Next to Super Mario, Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda franchise is probably the world’s most popular video game. Mario, the moustached plumber and Link, the blonde adventurer are two of the most recognizable heroes ever created for video games.
It’s time for veteran gamers to feel old once again as The Legend of Zelda celebrates the 30th anniversary since its launch. The classic action-adventure was released at the beginning of Nintendo as a gaming company in Japan, way back on February 21st, 1986.
The Legend of Zelda was launched on the Famicom Disk System – cartridges weren’t even a thing yet – setting the context for one of the greatest franchises in the history of video games.
Tens of millions of copies have been sold since – the last count places them at over 75 million – with the game making an appearance on virtually every Nintendo system to date.
However, the Zelda franchise didn’t always enjoy the success it has today. Gamers would gladly forget about the cringe-worthy CD period or about the (thankfully) short-lived TV show.
But in its defense, it also had its world renowned hits over the years, while also pushing the boundaries of gaming. Some argue the original Zelda was the one to set the foundation for hack-and-slash games that came later on.
It was the Ocarina of Time that utterly and completely assured gamers and developers alike that 3D games were here to stay, while The Wind Waker opened our eyes to the was distinctive art can improve an already great title.
And let’s not forget about the music it inspired and the endless memes that spread like fire on the Internet. But that was in the past, and Nintendo must look to the future and do some planning.
What’s coming next, then? Unsurprisingly, the company is doing all the milking it can with the 30th birthday cash-cow. The upcoming weeks will bring the launch of both a Hyrule Warriors Legends (for 3DS) and a Twilight Princess remaster (for Wii U).
As longs as gamers still have a soft spot for Link and the crew, more games will only bring more revenue to Nintendo. Zelda is second only to Mario in terms of surefire moneymakers, and it’s expected for the game to a long and healthy future ahead.
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