Zelda 25th Anniversary2011 was a wonderful year to be a Zelda fan. With the series celebrating its 25th anniversary along with two major game releases, Nintendo pulled out all the stops to ensure that its fans would be left feeling overloaded with goodies.

Here are my favorite highlights from 2011.

Zelda turns 25

The Zelda series acheived this milestone on February 21. The Legend of Zelda was first released in Japan in 1986.

The Legend of Zelda 25th Anniversary Symphony

The music of the Zelda series has always been loved by gamers, and each game never fails to deliver some truly standout pieces. Nintendo’s 25th Anniversary Symphony concerts were an incredible gift to fans, giving them a chance to hear their favorite pieces played live by a full orchestra. Only two concerts were held in 2011, in Los Angeles and London, but they will be touring in 2012. From all reports of those who attended the concerts and based on the music that appeared as a pre-order bonus with Skyward Sword, these concerts are a true delight so let’s hope that they tour extensively to give as many people as possible the chance to experience them.

Skyward Sword Released

Skyward Sword was the first major console Zelda release in five years. Expectations for the game were high, and overall for most gamers it did not disappoint. In fact, I’ve seen several fans declare it to be the best Zelda ever. Skyward Sword also changed Zelda gaming as we know it, with the introduction of motion controls via the Wii MotionPlus. Despite the controls taking a little getting used to, most agreed that they were great. Those who pre-ordered the game received a special gold Zelda Wii Remote and a CD with music from the 25th anniversary symphony.

Hyrule Historia

Hyrule Historia

For me, this was a real surprise packet that came along at the very end of the year, after I’d assumed all of the 25th anniversary celebrations were finished. This 274-page book was released to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the series and contains artwork, manga, stories and a Zelda timeline. The announcement of an official Zelda timeline caused a lot of stir among Zelda fans who have spent years theorizing about the placement of each game in the series. The one downside about Hyrule Historia is that so far it has only been released in Japan and is in Japanese, so let’s all really hope that an official English translation is made.

Ocarina of Time 3D

Ocarina of Time 3D

2011 saw the re-release of the Zelda game considered to be the all-time greatest. Ocarina of Time 3D took the 1998 classic and gave it a graphical overhaul along with a conversion to 3D. This meant that fans of the classic could enjoy playing it again with its new look, and those who may not have played it when it was new back in 1998 had a chance to experience it like any other new game. For a limited time those who purchased the game could also get its official soundtrack.

Re-releases

Ocarina of Time wasn’t the only Zelda game to see a re-release in 2011. Link’s Awakening DX was also re-released, as was Four Swords with a special anniversary edition. Those who were part of the 3DS Ambassador program also received The Minish Cap, The Legend of Zelda and The Adventure of Link.

Zelda Anniversary 3DS Console

Zelda Nintendo 3DS Console

A special limited-edition Nintendo 3DS console was produced to commemorate the 25th anniversary. This beautiful 3DS was black, with gold markings which included the familiar Royal Crest.

A Look at the Future: Zelda on Wii U

Zelda Wii U Tech Demo

At E3 in June, Nintendo unveiled the successor to the Wii: the Wii U. In order to demonstrate the capabilities of the new console, they showed a tech demo which used scenes of Zelda gameplay. Although this was created purely for the demo and is not part of any Zelda game in development, it gives us a look at what Zelda might look like on the Wii U and in HD for the first time. It certainly was pretty. There’s also no doubt that we’ll be seeing Zelda on the Wii U, the only question is whether or not it will look like what we saw at E3.

25 Years in 25 Days

Zelda 25 Years in 25 Days

We at Zelda Universe also did something special in celebration of Zelda’s anniversary. In the 25 days leading up to the release of Skyward Sword, we took a look back at the last 25 years of Zelda history. Read all of the articles here.

 

There’s really no denying that 2011 was the year of Zelda, and that Zelda fans around the world, including myself, are very grateful to Nintendo for what they have given us. I’m not sure if 2012 will be able to beat it, but you can be assured that Nintendo will be continuing the series for many years to come. We at Zelda Universe wish you a very happy new year and look forward to bringing you all the latest Zelda news, insights, articles and fandom in 2012 and beyond!

Also, let us know what your own favorite Zelda moment of 2011 was in the comments below.

  • PeacefullyCrazy

    Well happy new year to!

    Now, I have to go coax my dog out of the lint closet and convince my parents to call the cops on our idiot neighbors because they just hit a car with fireworks! 🙂

  • Link and Cuccos

    I'm so glad to be a Zelda fan right now. I didn't expect 2011 to be so awesome! XD

    25th Anniversary concert – Went to LA one.
    OoT 3D – got it.
    Zelda Anniversary 3DS console – got it.
    Zelda Wii U – blew my mind.

    And finally,

    Skyward Sword (special bundle) – this game plus the 25th anniversary concert especially made this year legendary for me.

    Now to get that Hyrule Historia.

    Definitely the best time to be a Zelda fan, and looking forward to 2012!

    Happy New Year to all you awesome Zelda fans!

  • Metal Man

    Every day I regret getting a 3DS with OOT3D before the special edition 25th anniversary 3DS was released in the US, which was pretty much the same package except infinitely cooler.

    • PrimedMetroid

      And cheaper. By like 10 bucks.

  • Ovafaze

    the ONLY thing I wasn't able to get was the Zelda 3DS V_V

    #firstworldproblems

  • heyyo

    get it all EXCEPT the 3ds console and the releases

  • MDH

    I have to say, 25 Years in 25 Days made me particularly happy. It was really informative and rekindled my love for all older Zelda games. In fact, I've been replaying several of them after Skyward Sword.

  • The Skyward Sword bundle is my highlight. It came with a special edition golden Wiimote with built-in motion controls so that I didn't have to get an attachment, a fantastic orchestrated disc (though I'm still wishing they included more songs), and of course SS, possibly my favorite ever, in my poor history of gaming.

    I also loved the sneak peek of TP in HD graphics. Amazing.

  • Jen

    I already had my 3DS, and couldn't justify spending another $200 for another. However, I will likely purchase a decal of the Hylian crest from CafePress, and put it on the cover of my 3DS to snazz it up like I did for my Wii. Not quite the same, but it'll have to do.

  • Just missing Hyrule Historia, everything else I got, along with some Zelda Gashapons and the Zelda themed playing cards. Don't forget the Ocarina of Time CD and the new Zelda Anniversary posters. This was truly a great year for Zelda fans. I'm going to the concert in Dallas on the 10th, Got tickets on the 1st day, front row. I'm thinking about importing Hyrule Historia though. I don't care if they translate it a few months later.