This Day in History: The 30th Anniversary of The Legend of Zelda on the Nintendo Entertainment System
Let’s take a journey to Hyrule, the iconic kingdom in The Legend of Zelda. The game’s protagonist, Link, and his difficult voyage to save Princess Zelda and fight Ganon is the stuff of … well, legends. Developed by Nintendo and debuted in Japan in 1986, The Legend of Zelda is credited for changing the gaming industry and bringing to life a new and exciting gaming experience. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the game’s release on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in North America, let’s look back at the game’s origins:
The Legend of Zelda NES commercial from 1987
Gamers first got a glimpse of the land of Hyrule in 1986 when The Legend of Zelda was released in Japan on the Family Computer Disk System (Famicon) game console. Thanks to its proprietary floppy disk technology, the Famicon introduced the novel concept of saving games. While we take this feature for granted today, the ability for players to save their games opened the door to a new world of expansive gaming experiences like The Legend of Zelda.
When the Famicon was rebranded as the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), it was an instant hit. Marketed as a toy rather than an electronics device, the NES rejuvenated the gaming industry and made video games enticing and accessible to adults and kids alike. On Aug. 22, 1987, The Legend of Zelda was introduced on the NES in the United States and became a sensation.
Fast forward to 2017 and The Legend of Zelda has sold more than 75 million units. Today, players can enjoy the game on the Nintendo Switch, a powerful hybrid home console and portable system that gives players the “Freedom to have fun. Wherever. Whenever.”
Cypress’ 802.11ac wireless connectivity solution enables the Switch to deliver a smooth user experience with fast downloads and low-latency, solving many of the problems associated with interactive online multiplayer gaming. The CY4356EC Wi-Fi and Bluetooth combo solution delivers high-speed connectivity in a power-efficient package to extend the battery life of the Switch, letting gamers fight Ganon longer while they’re on the go.
To celebrate this day in history, we chatted with a few Cypress Problem Solvers who are big Zelda fans. Check out what they had to say about the game below:
Vice President of Sales and Distribution
“The original Zelda is, and will always be, one of the most important video games ever made. When it released, it did things that no other game had successfully executed before. It tossed you in a vibrant and unique world that allowed you to do whatever you want. It was a game where treasures weren’t useless trinkets that just gave you points; they were new toys to play with that opened new possibilities and made you more powerful. The game offered puzzle-solving to pass through dungeons, and that’s the aspect I liked the most. The original Zelda was an inspiration to all future open-ended exploration games. I recently bought the original NES just to rekindle my nostalgia for this game.”
“Breath of the Wild is Nintendo's finest iteration yet – a bold, well-thought through open world combined with the familiar mechanics of Zelda games makes it an instant classic. The new gameplay elements, regions and secrets make it a joy to play, with tons of re-playability.”
James Henry Hill III
Business System Analyst 2
“The Legend of Zelda has resonated for this long, first and foremost, because its games are consistently excellent, with multiple entries regularly included in “Greatest Game of All Time” discussions and ratings. Beyond its quality, the series also brings fantasy thrills like other popular series like Lord of the Rings, allowing gamers to play out the classic hero’s journey, accompanied by interesting characters, fascinating settings and an excellent musical score. My personal favorite is still The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, a game that’s actually a few months older than I am. Link to the Past established many of the now-familiar details of the series, nearly doubling the game’s length with parallel worlds to explore, adding then-unheard-of depths of action and adventure and introducing main character Link’s signature weapon, the Master Sword, which at this point is as famous in the gaming world as Excalibur. Meanwhile, the newest entry in the series, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for the Nintendo Switch, has gotten such sky-high reviews that I’ve been tempted to purchase the new console almost solely for that game, and I’m sure once I have a Switch Breath of the Wild will once again show why The Legend of Zelda has captivated gamers across the world for over thirty years.”