30 Years in 30 Days – 2016
by on February 21, 2016

Today marks 30 years since the very first Legend of Zelda game was released. What’s most exciting is that we’re not just remembering some old game that came out in the ’80s but one that birthed a series with a rich history that’s still going strong today. Today we celebrate the entire Legend of Zelda franchise. The numerous hours enjoyed while playing the games. The friends we’ve bonded with over a shared love of Zelda. The controllers we’ve broken while stuck on a frustrating puzzle. The many words typed up while theorizing and debating about the timeline or story. And for many of us, the impact that it’s had upon our greater lives.

The video game industry itself has arguably been bettered from Zelda’s existence. Many of the early Zelda titles were considered influential to game development, if not groundbreaking, beginning with the original Legend of Zelda, the first home console game that allowed progress to be saved. Prior to that, games either had to be completed in a single sitting or used passwords at specific stages so that players could return to that stage in future sessions. Ocarina of Time led the movement of games transitioning from 2D to 3D and introduced a revolutionary targeting system that was replicated time and time again. Zelda games frequently appear, often in multiple spots, in those “Top Ten Games of All-Time”-type of lists, and Ocarina of Time was even awarded a Guinness World Record for being the most critically acclaimed game of all time.


It’s early in 2016 and we don’t know the full extent of what Nintendo has planned for Zelda’s 30th anniversary. Will it be like the 25th?

Here at Zelda Universe we’ve just spent the past 30 days reflecting on each year in the franchise’s history. It’s now time to think about the future. We’re still early into 2016 and while we don’t know the full extent of what Nintendo has planned to mark this important milestone, it’s already clear that this is going to be a good year for Zelda fans. The long-awaited Zelda game for the Wii U will be released later this year, the first major console Zelda title since 2011’s Skyward Sword. And in just a couple of weeks a HD remake of Twilight Princess will come out on the Wii U. Later in March we’ll also see Hyrule Warriors Legends on the 3DS.

We’ll also be doing more at Zelda Universe to celebrate the anniversary so make sure you keep checking back regularly.

I think that on behalf of Zelda fans all around the world I can say a massive thank you to Nintendo for giving us this series that we love so much. Thank you for your hard work and we hope that we will be seeing new Zelda games for at least 30 more years!

thank you to Nintendo for making the Zelda series.

We’d also love to hear from you. Use the comments section below to share your Zelda story. How has it impacted upon your life? What are some of your favorite moments from its history? And where do you want to see the franchise go in the future?

Shona Johnson
Shona is one of Zelda Universe's webmasters and has been running Zelda fan sites since 2001. She's an aspiring fantasy author, an avid reader and gamer, and loves bringing her favorite characters to life through cosplay.
  • The Missing Link

    It’s been a wild ride these past three decades, and I’m super stoked for the future – for Twilight Princess HD, for Hyrule Warriors Legends, and for Zelda U. Bring on the future!

  • Shona

    One thing that I didn’t mention in the article because it’s a more personal reflection, but in two weeks I’m marrying an amazing guy that I met because of Zelda. If that’s not an example of the huge impact that Zelda can have, I don’t know what is!

  • Nintenerd

    I haven’t been with the Zelda series since 1986 because I was born a bit later. However that didn’t stop me from being a fan. Every summer I visit my relatives in a different state because I live in a different state than all of them. My Uncle bought a Wii and he showed me all the games he had. One caught my eye in particular and that was Twilight Princess. He said he used to play the original one on the NES. I wasn’t a massive Nintendo fan at the time so I really wasn’t sure what he was talking about. I gave it a try and I was instantly hooked. I had a Wii back home but I really didn’t play it or even own Any Nintendo games. I was that nerd who always read books in their free time. So it was weird that I shifted from bookworm to gamer. I anticipated every coming summer just to visit him so I could play the game (we stayed at his house). While he went to work, I’d always go into his room everyday to play it and eventually finished it the next summer. I then searched for other games in the series and made it my mission to not only play every single Zelda game, but every single Nintendo game. Without Zelda, I’d probably have kept on being teased, and I wouldn’t have been able to find the meaning in the word fun. I’m still a straight A student but I don’t overwork myself like I used to. Because of Zelda, I have many great friends, I have improved my violin playing by playing the songs by ear, and have strengthened my sense of curiosity and exploration which has helped in my academics. Thank you Nintendo, for not only making me the amazing person that I am now, but for helping me understand what it is to have fun.

  • Reggie

    According to a lot of people and timeline of things, Ocarina of Time wasn’t the first to introduce the Z-Target system. It was used in the PSX’s Mega Man Legends, which came out before it.

    Anyway, I can definitely say that the Zelda series has impacted my life in part. It has inspired many hopes and dreams, and brought me closer to some people. While I can’t say that my personal ride has been all that smooth, especially in recent years, it’s a series that has bettered myself as a person. It ranks up there as one of my all-time favorite game series.

  • Darkstar

    Thank you Nintendo for making the most legendary, epic and awesome adventure series in the world! The Legend of Zelda has really expanded and enhanced my imagination and my interests in medieval history, lore, myths and legends. It also made me want to explore the huge forests and wilderness here in my province of Ontario (and knowing how huge and green Canada is, there are hundreds of thousands of kilometers of nature to explore).

    Before Zelda, I was first introduced to Nintendo through the Super Mario games on the NES when I was a child (around 4 or so) playing the games on my uncle’s NES. I first heard of the Zelda series in elementary school when a few classmates of mine mentioned A Link to the Past on the SNES. I might have played a bit of it back then, but I hardly remember (I eventually played and completed the entire game about 4-5 years ago in Wii VC)

    However, My First real introduction to Zelda (and the first game I actually played myself all the way through) was Ocarina of TIme. It was around Spring of 1999 when my younger cousin came over one day and brought an N64 game that he rented. He put in in the Ng4 console and turned it on, and I remember seeing the intro screen and was amazed by how cool it looked. The song sounded nice and when we first got the game started, I remember seeing child Link running around kokiri forest. I had never seen a game like this before, (besides Super Mario 64) where the player could walk around freely in a 3D space in a medieval land. I then discovered that I can use a sword and shield to defend myself against enemies, and my interest in the game was heightened. I remember walking out into Hyrule field for the first time and being absolutely awestruck by the huge scenery and adventurous music. From that moment on, I knew I was in for an awesome adventure.

    I eventually got the rest of the games throughout the years (MM, WW, MC, 4 Swords, TP, etc) and become more involved in figuring out the timeline and lore behind the games. I still enjoy deciphering where each new game fits on the timeline, and I am eagerly anticipating the arrival of Zelda U late this year to continue my adventure through Hyrule (or other lands) and continue the legacy that Nintendo created 30 years ago.

    Happy Birthday Zelda!

  • MDH

    A Zelda memory that sticks out to me is that I used to absolutely hate both OoT and MM because the dungeons were too frustrating for 10-year-old me. Now both of them stand as my favorite titles and I can appreciate them in their full glory. Funny how that goes. As for Zelda U, I’ve made a promise with my oldest friend, who has largely turned away from Nintendo, that we’d take turns playing through the game together, just like we used to with OoT.

    Here’s hoping Zelda U will be as great as we all want it to be. But just look at A Link Between Worlds, with its back-to-the-roots approach and focus on player freedom, and the remakes/remasters of OoT, MM, WW and TP, with their focus on making the game mechanics and interface better and more convenient, and generally speeding up the pace of the games. If these are any indication at all, then the dev team has learned from the mistakes that arguably culminated in Skyward Sword, and that makes me fairly optimistic for Zelda U.

    And finally, thanks to everyone at Zelda Universe for this informative and nostalgic series of articles! My only complaints would be the articles on Minish Cap and Twilight Princess, as both of them read like annoyingly subjective author-centric blog posts/opinion pieces instead of focusing on what the games actually bring to the table. Maybe consider brushing them up for next time. Yes, next time! I look forward to reading this series again five years from now.

  • Hylian Shieldmaiden

    Thank you Miyamoto-san, and Nintendo, for giving us The Legend of Zelda!

    My boyfriend and I met through our shared love of Zelda, and we’ve been together for over 6 happy years now. It’s truly looking like this relationship is here to stay 🙂

    I’ve also made a lot of friends indirectly due to Zelda. I took up the ocarina initially because I was inspired by OoT, joined The Ocarina Network, and have made many friends with my fellow TON members. I now play a lot more than just video game music on my ocarinas, but Zelda is what inspired me.

    Here’s to another 30+ years of the best video game franchise 🙂

  • DimensionalRanger

    This series has come a long way. My very first game was Phantom Hourglass (ah, those hours spent in that goddess-forsaken temple), it was good but it didn’t really addict me to the series, so to speak. Spirit tracks was good as well, but, like the previous, it didn’t really have enormous depth.
    Then I bought a 3ds (initially for pokemon X) and eventually got my hands on Ocarina of Time 3d.
    Well, let me tell you, from the toony Phantom hourglass and spirit tracks to that, I was blown away.
    What really hooked me was the sense of ancient mystery the game had, and that its story was actually had real substance. I perhaps would have enjoyed it more if I hadn’t read the OOT manga prior to playing it (oh well, my mistake).
    It was an amazing game, and had an ending that left a lot of thought to be had.
    It’s very strange, but since i heard of Zelda wii u shortly after playing OOT, and didn’t know yet about the whole Zelda community online, the fabled wii u game has become some sort of El Dorado for me.
    It’s almost as if I won’t have a reason to play video games after I play Zelda wii u…