As the 2011 “Year of Zelda” comes to a close, IGN’s Associate Editor Audrey Drake decided to figure why the Zelda series has endured over the past 25 years and still manages to be one of the most beloved series on the market, even to this day.  She narrowed it down to five good and concise reasons, all of which accurately explain why Zelda’s triumphant run as a premier series in gaming is still going strong.  Click here to be directed to the full article on IGN, or hit the jump below to read the highlights.  One things for certain:  if Nintendo continues to stick to these five tenants, we’ll all be enjoying new Zelda games for many years to come.

Below are the reasons why the Zelda series has endured after all these years.
  1. A Strong Foundation:  the original Zelda game set up the formula for the rest of the series, and, even though its appeared in many different forms over the years, the basic tenants of finding items and trekking dungeons are stilled used today.  Also, each subsequent title in the franchise has built upon the lore presented in the earliest games, creating a large world that spans multiple centuries and timelines.
  2. A Tale That Spans the Ages:  by using the same persona (Link) but a physically different character in most of its installments (The Hero of Time, The Hero of Winds, et cetera), the Zelda series is able to defy repetition and continue without having to stretch its story–because the games can take place in any time period within the universe, the series is constantly able to reinvent itself, while still holding to its fundemental principles.
  3. Few Direct Sequels:  although “Phantom Hourglass follows Wind Waker, Majora’s Mask follows Ocarina, and Zelda II follows the original,” most titles in the Zelda series are able to stand on their own.  This prevents the games from becoming too repetitive, and is able to bring in new settings, characters, and stories without having to create wild reasons; it’s simply because the games are separate and distinct from one another.  Even when there are direct sequels, such as Majora’s Mask, the sequels are fresh and do not act as copies of their parent game.
  4. Keeping it Fresh:  Zelda games are constantly changing.  The original introduced a distinct formula and style of gameplay, and Zelda II immediately abandoned it and became an RPG.  Ocarina of Time introduced Z-targeting, The Wind Waker was cel-shaded and took place on an ocean, Skyward Sword has motion controls–literally every title introduced something new to the series, whether it be a gameplay mechanic, a graphic style, a new story, or a mixture of all three.
  5. Damn Good Games:  when viewed objectively, every single game in the Zelda series is just plain good.  “With deep gameplay, often magical storytelling, and a wealth of new items and characters constantly being added to the fold, each Zelda game boasts the most important element a video game can offer: pure fun.”

Reigning as one of the greatest series of all-time, don’t be surprised if, 25 years from now, you’re getting excited and playing yet another amazing Zelda game that people are claiming to be “the best.”  The Zelda series is going to keep running and running for many more years to come.

Source:  IGN.
  • LeonardoBarbosa

    Thats it. There's no way the videogames industry can stay without Zelda. Zelda isnt a adventure only genre, or a rpg… Its… Zelda. A bit of platforming, some puzzles, strategies, RPG, and adventure and here you go, The Legend of Zelda is there. Thats why this game isnt just a game, its a LEGEND.

  • Hyrule Castle Resident

    I agree entirely.

  • ABAZELDAFAN

    ONE OF THE MOST WONDERFUL THINGS THAT COULD HAPPEN TO ME IS PLAYING AND DISCOVERIN THIS AWSOME SERIES OF TLOZ!

  • eeeeggggg

    y

  • Tayo

    This is why Zelda is great. It still defines what video games have set out to do, and that is for the pure enjoyment of the player. This is what sets it apart all those FPS's and whatnot. People think Zelda doesn't change much… Pretty every shooter has the same thing except different maps and different weapons. This is why I think what is defined as a "video game" will split in the future where Shooters and games that strive for realism and violence will be called Simulations while games that strive for the traditional definition of a video game with a plethora of different genres would be called Digital Games. Then, those 15 min app games would probably just be a sub genre of Digital Games called Pocket Games. Just a theory, but there is a constant difference expanding throughout time between these genres of video games. That is why you cannot compare something like Skyrim or CoD with Skyward Sword.

    • GuildedBlood

      Actually, I would argue you can. Although Zelda and Nintendo are much older than The Elder Scrolls series and the CoD series, they have evolved and changed with each generation. A new game comes out almost as often as a Zelda game, with the good ones taking longer to produce (think Oblivion is to Skyrim as Twilight Princess is to Skyward Sword). Skyrim also is an adventure game like TLoZ although with much more RPG elements involved and CoD…well isnt that similar but they both evolve with each new release…

  • Number 4 is the one I agree with the most. Some of the stories may seem rehashed in certain areas, but their set in different environments no matter what, which still keeps the series fresh.

  • Soeroah

    Was gonna say OoX didn't seem to add anything new (though I dearly love those games and want them on a virtual console) but then I remembered they are the first example I know of that had a story which changes dramatically through connectivity between the two games.

    Other games have 'true' endings and multiple endings, but I don't know if other games have had two games with four stories achieved through connectivity.

    • Chris

      Resident Evil 2, also produced by CAPCOM

  • heroofmasks

    z

  • A_LINK_IN_TIME

    Zelda endures because it has a tradition of constantly dishing out spectacular games. Simple as that.

  • PeacefullyCrazy

    Technically number 4 and 5 were the same things. 🙂

  • Craig

    Zelda's durability through the 25 years has given it the right to become it's own genre all by itself, it's nothing like any other game of similar style to it… and none in my opinion have ever beaten the effect these games have on me – Even after around 15 years of playing them. For me, although different, Zelda even blows Mario out of the park.

  • Very good Article!

  • hiiiiiiiiiiiiii

    its the most wonderful time of the year for me because i got SS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • most 21st century zelda games suck, sorry kids

    • X-factor

      Dude, just… shut… up. That comment was not needed. However mine is, so i'll say it again, Shut the hell up!

      • GorCoronSumo

        most people who make insulting comments suck, sorry trolls