The original, imperial.
Link doing what he does best.
RELEASE DATE: August 1987
Zelda was its own genre. It wasn’t just an action game or an adventure game or an RPG. It incorporated elements of all three to form something that was entirely unique.
It was non-linear, which forced players to get outside their comfort zones and explore the land of Hyrule without knowing exactly what they were doing or where they were going.
The game’s progression is expertly paced. After each dungeon, you walk away with a new item (or two) a heart piece, and a powerful feeling of accomplishment.
You could save! Saving is expected in a game now, so it’s hard to imagine the impact, but pre-1987, the only games you could save were on the computer. Zelda was the first cartridge to carry an internal battery for saving.
The adventure itself is epic. After exploring nine dungeons and a massive world, you feel positively spent… until you find out Zelda comes with a second more challenging quest. The second quest is either unlocked after you beat the game or by entering ZELDA on the registration screen. Dungeons and enemies were more difficult, and the placement of items was different.