It's the Legend of Zelda and it's really rad! Those creatures from Ganon are really bad. Octoroks and Tektites and Leevers too, but with your help our hero makes it through. Yeah!
With that infamously awful rap (clumsily spouted by a dead ringer for the dude from those old Encyclopedia Brittanica commercials), Nintendo introduced me to The Legend of Zelda, a so-called "never-ending adventure" for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Somehow, despite such an unfavorable introduction, I fell in love with the game anyway. The golden packaging, the shiny cartridge peeking through, the massive manual and fold-out map (which left the deadliest corners of the world shrouded in mystery) — it suckered me in, no question. Once I played the game, though, I found myself disappointed to discover that it wasn't truly never-ending; after the Second Quest, the game doesn't offer anything new. Nevertheless, it was a heck of a game, one that etched itself on my mind (as my 30th anniversary live stream of the game can attest).
Wired's Chris Kohler and IGN's Sam Claiborn join Jeremy and Bob to dive deep into a part of the Zelda series Retronauts has rarely touched on: The NES duo of The Legend of Zelda and Zelda II.
Inspired by the game's 30th anniversary back in February, the Retronauts podcast does a deep-dive into the original Zelda — then goes into detail on its sequel as well. We've talked plenty about the Zelda series, and Bob has already headed up some thorough analyses of A Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time, and Majora's Mask in recent months. But in nearly 10 years of Retronauts, we've never really put the original NES games under a magnifying glass... well, not until this week, anyway.
I called in two experts on the NES and the Zelda series in general this time around, and I hope you'll find the results both entertaining and informative. Much about the NES Zelda games can feel dated or primitive by modern standards, I won't deny it. Yet both of them overflow with innovative ideas that would go on to define the series decades later. In fact, you might be surprised by just how much of the Zelda universe was locked down as of the very first entry in the series.