In the gaming world, Shigeru Miyamoto is just about as revered as you can get. The Nintendo video game developer not only created the Donkey Kong and Mario franchises, but he also designed a darker classic in The Legend of Zelda. The game, which was the first to include an internal battery to give users the ability to save progress, is also one of the most revered, often ranking as one of the best games ever designed.
Like Miyamoto's other games, the plot was simple: save the damsel-in-distress.The setting was a war-engulfed kingdom in the land of Hyrule, where Ganon, the Prince of Darkness, invaded and stole part of a magical artifact named the Triforce of Power. Princess Zelda tries to prevent Ganon from stealing another one of the pieces, the Triforce of Wisdom, so she splits it and hides fragments in eight different dungeons throughout Hyrule. Zelda sends Impa, her nurse, to the countryside to find someone courageous enough to save Hyrule, and that is when Link appears. Just when Impa is surrounded by Ganon's henchmen, the young boy shows up and saves her. After Impa explains that the princess had been kidnapped, Link decides to save Zelda and the land of Hyrule. And, of course, become powerful enough to stop Ganon in his tracks.
Miyamoto and his development team designed both Super Mario Bros. and Zelda at the same time. That's why one could look at Zelda as the darker counterpart to Mario's bright and bubbly charisma. He wanted to create a "minature garden that can put inside their drawer", drawing inspirations from memories of when he explored Kyoto, Japan in his younger years.
"When I was a child," Miyamoto told David Sheff in an interview for Game Over, "I went hiking and found a lake. It was quite a surprise for me to stumble upon it. When I travelled around the country without a map, trying to find my way, stumbling on amazing things as I went, I realised how it felt to go on an adventure like this." The legendary Nintendo game designer also recreated memories of becoming lost in the maze of sliding doors of his family home in Zelda's dungeons.
Zelda was originally released on February 21, 1986 in Japan for the Famicon Disk System. It took more than a year for the game to appear in North America, but that did not stop the game from becoming the first Nintendo title to sell over one million copies. The game's music and magical atmosphere also helped set the tone for the the future RPG genre.
After 25 years, the Zelda universe has stayed around in numerous sequels, TV shows, and merchandise, and you can guarantee, that people aren't forgetting about this game for a long time.