Gaming history was made on 1 February 1986 when the first Legend of Zelda game was released for the Famicom in Japan. This action adventure title would go on to spawn one of Nintendo’s most beloved franchises. The Legend of Zelda saw players take on the role of Link, an adventurer who had to defeat enemies, collect items and explore huge maze-like dungeons in order to rescue the titular princess.
The title became the first NES game to sell over one million copies, so a sequel was certain. To date, there have been 18 entries in the main series, each which delivered its own unique twist to the conventions established in the original game.
The worst of these gameplay gimmicks are best forgotten, but others helped cement their Zelda title as era-defining pieces of gaming. What’s impressive is how Nintendo have always been brave (or crazy) enough to reinvent the franchise with each entry, and have never been afraid to drop monumentally successful gimmicks in favour of entirely new ones.
2017’s Breath of the Wild turned the Zelda franchise on its head, but only time will tell what earth-shaking gimmicks the future of the series will hold.