The Legend of Zelda: NES Classic That Started it All

The Legend of Zelda on the NES
Where it all began.

Okay, back to 1986 and Nintendo launched its first Zelda—one of its defining games series on the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Over three decades on, it’s still going strong and has produced several of the best games ever. But what about the very first one?

The Legend of Zelda

Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka were joint directors for what was, at the time, an absolutely landmark gaming experience.

The former produced it, whilst the latter wrote the story and script. Miyamoto later adapted the game to involve his childhood memories of disappearing into caves to explore.

The main inspiration for the series is Medieval Europe and the various conflicts that raged for centuries.

Anyway, make no mistake about it. As primitive as it looks now, this thing sent creative shockwaves through the gaming industry.

It pushed boundaries with its scale and sense of adventure. There was even an option to save your progress! Unheard of in those days.

And look at the beautiful way the opening of The Legend of Zelda plays out. Really sets the scene for an epic adventure.

Set in the world of Hyrule, your task is to collect eight pieces of the Triforce to rescue Princess Zelda from the evil SOB Ganon.

You star as Link, by the way. It’s a common mistake people make thinking the green protagonist is Zelda. Non!

And where it stood out in 1986 is the level of interaction available. You have to talk to an old man at the start, plus various other characters throughout the game.

You gain tips and clues to unlock various new areas. You level up as a player, find powerful new items, and come to feel more bold and confident about your abilities.

It’s still an engaging game, no doubt. But it shows its age big time. Hardly the definitive Zelda anymore, indeed, but it’s a highly important moment in video game history.


If it’s a classic retro game, you can guarantee the gaming world’s speedrunning community is on the case.

As you can see from Summoning Salt’s excellent YouTube channel, the game has faced a shredding from speedrunners.

The are various speedrun approaches you can take to the game, but if you’re looking to complete it as fast as possible you’ll need a sub 27 minute 40 second run. Good luck with that.


  1. I can’t complete it under 28 minutes. I can only do so after a good deal of cursing, about twenty hours of dying repeatedly, and thirty destroyed controllers on average! But, hey, it’s a fun game!

    Liked by 1 person

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