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.