In these days, the gaming industry will be celebrating Zelda's 25th anniversary, just like we already did with Mario in Christmas. As a great fan of the series I'm noticing a great lack of articles and cover for this. The 25th birthday of Zelda should be motive for Nintendo to release new products, give us info on Skyward Sword and the media to be covering pretty much everything that has happened in the series since the NES game came out. But anyways, I will share some of my experiences with the series.
I was actually one of the few gamers in my country that actually owned and played the first Zelda. I was only a little kid, about 5 or 6 years old so as you can expect, my progress in the game was... not good, to put it in pretty words. Still, I liked the game a lot. I remember traveling around Hyrule and trying to finish the dungeons I came across but most of the times I just failed miserably. To this date I've never beaten this game and to be honest, I don't think I'll ever do it because even if Zelda is great and all we have to admit that LoZ did not age well.
I never got Adventure of Link. In fact, I found out about its existence in the N64 era. But what I did own was Link to the Past, the SNES title. As I mentioned in my "Gaming and me" article, it was the game that came bundled with my SNES. Just like with LoZ, I was just a little kid so I had a really hard time just getting out of Hyrule Castle, until a friend helped me out. LttP is probably one of the most memorable games in my life. Spending hours messing with the mirror to see what happened was of the best experiences in my childhood and I always loved just going to the game to beat Ganon again and again because I loved the credit's music (and we didn't have music downloads on the internet at the time).
But my real love for the series as a whole started with Ocarina of Time which I got about six or seven months after its release and Majora's Mask which I managed to get on release date because there was a store that somehow got it at the US launch date over here. I got to admit that I spent MUCH more time on OoT. There were a lot of rumors running around the internet when the message boards started about the Triforce being a hidden item in the game. I remember the rumors and ways to get it were so diverse that we ended up doing completely stupid things in the game like throwing bombs at the center of the lava beneath Ganon's Castle or trying to beat insane high scores on the Market's minigames. But well, even if the Triforce was never in the game, I had tons of fun doing all that stuff.
I'm definitely not lying when I say I finished Ocarina of Time about 25-30 times. I literally memorized the lines the NPCs said and played through the game in several crazy ways, like 3-heart runs, no-sword and no-shield runs, etc. But even if I did all these stuff in OoT, I have to say that Majora's Mask is my favorite in the series. The obscure atmosphere, weird plot, great environments and mask transformations just made me fall in love with that game. I only finished MM about five times, including a run I did about three years ago and I love discussing with fellow Zelda gamers my reasons why I think MM is slightly superior to OoT.
I was one of the people who went all "WTF¿" when I saw Wind Waker for the first time because I thought the first Zelda game for the Gamecube was gonna be like the one the famous tech demo showed. So I didn't pay much attention to it, in fact, I was actually a little pissed off at Nintendo for transforming my favorite gaming series (at the time) into a kid's cartoon. But around a year after the game came out, I started reading reviews for Tales of Symphonia and that game made me buy a Gamecube. Since I'm used to buy my consoles with two games and I didn't know what else to get, I bought Wind Waker.
While it’s nowhere near as epic and amazing as Ocarina and Majora, I loved WW. Especially the environments and the feeling that the ocean I was traveling around was above the land I walked around so many times in OoT. I remember even drawing maps to see if the Hyrule in WW was the same as the one in OoT, pretty crazy if you ask me. But at the time I was already playing Dead or Alive 3 and Halo (Not sure about Ninja Gaiden) so I didn't develop an obsession.
After the Xbox 360 came out I remember reading tons of info about the differences between the GC and Wii versions of Twilight Princess. After I learned the Wii version was a mirror world of the real game with a right-handed Link I decided to just buy the GC version which I didn't like very much. Nintendo kind of promised us this would be the Zelda game to dethrone Ocarina and Majora but it was even worse than WW. Don't get me wrong, TP is a great Zelda game but it just doesn't meet the standards the N64 entries started. The game tries way too hard to be like OoT and that ended up in a game that doesn't have a good identity. The three Zelda games before it made great innovations to the formula but TP was just more of the same and resulted in being a disappointment.
I feel like it's a bit unfair to leave the portable Zelda games out but the truth is that I haven't played many of them. I only finished Oracle of Ages (which I loved at the time but don't remember much about it) and Phantom Hourglass which I played recently and liked it a lot. I own them all but none of them is as epic as the console ones, still, they deserve a lot of respect and I recommend them a lot.
Right now I'm waiting for Skyward Sword just like millions of gamers out there and though I really don't expect much, I will buy it as soon as it comes out and play it a lot. I can feel from the trailer that it's not gonna recreate the impression the N64 games did because those games set the standards for the series way too high (just like VII and X made with Final Fantasy) so we have no other choice but to trust Nintendo and hope they will give us another great Zelda game to celebrate 25 amazing years of traveling around Hyrule.