Zelda is having a moment. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom was released less than two weeks ago and is already making its mark. A direct sequel to the largely successful Breath of the Wild (2017), Tears of the Kingdom is breaking records, selling over 10 million copies in the first three days. This makes it the fastest selling Zelda game ever. In addition, it is the fastest selling Nintendo game in America. For any console. Ever. Yeah, Zelda is having a moment.
The series began way back in 1987 with the original Legend of Zelda for the Nintendo Entertainment System. There have since been many versions of the game, released on progressively newer consoles, adapting to evolving video game trends. Around 20 total titles. Simply put, long time (old?) gamers have witnessed pixel art Link slowly transition into 3D polygon Link, before becoming a visually stunning cartoon 3D hero.
What is Legend of Zelda? At risk of oversimplifying, it is a hero’s journey. Our hero Link must quest to save Princess Zelda from a villain named Ganon in a fantasy setting. On his journey, Link will encounter monsters and other challenges while finding tools or power ups to solve puzzles and dungeons. Everyone dreams of being the hero and Link is the perfect avatar for gamers to put themselves into the adventure! To learn more about the history and impact of the Zelda series I highly suggest listening to NPR’s recent 1A segment on The Tears of the Kingdom.
How can library patrons experience this epic series? Well, we own copies of Tears of the Kingdom, but those currently have a significant hold list. Record breaking game, remember? Why not go back to the 8bit pixel art roots with our NES Classic console? This mini console can plug into a modern HDMI TV and has everything you need to play the first Legend of Zelda game (1987) along with 29 other vintage Nintendo titles. Similarly, you can check out the SNES Classic to play the critically acclaimed Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (1992). Patrons who own Nintendo consoles can also check out all the Zelda titles that the library has to offer for the Wii, Wii U, 3Ds, and Switch.
Want some titles similar to Zelda? Here are some games that might be a good fit if you enjoy the Legend of Zelda:
Immortals Fenyx Rising (PS4 & PS5) is one of the many adventure fantasy games that came out after Breath of the Wild, hoping to capitalize on its popularity. This was one of the few games that came close to capturing Breath of the Wild’s sense wonder and fun spirit of adventure.
Pokemon Legends: Arceus (Switch) The makers of Pokemon were also inspired by Breath of the Wild’s gameplay and Arceus is their poke-take on a playful open world fantasy adventure.
Yonder (Switch) is more mellow than some of the other games mentioned, incorporating some of the farm and village management aspects of a game like Harvest Moon or Animal Crossing. But the vibrant fantasy setting might be just the ticket for a Zelda fan.
Honorable mentions for the older crowd (Rated M)
Here are some critically acclaimed fantasy adventures that put you in the role of hero, but tackle darker themes and gameplay that may not be suitable for those under 17.
Do you like The Legend of Zelda? What was your first Zelda game? Drop a comment or let me know next time you see me in the library! Happy questing!