What comes to mind when someone says "adventure game"? While it may conjure up images of many titles, most people are likely to say Zelda. Some may even be more specific and say something like Ocarina of Time. However, while some games from the past are still popularly played today, others get brushed to the side, even in the same series. The Legend of Zelda is one of those games, people often proclaiming it is too difficult or outdated for them to enjoy. Neither of these things are true if you take the time to appreciate it, however. Before there was an Ocarina that played magical notes, and before we had timeline arguments, and debates over which game in the series reigns supreme, there was only one legend. And I feel it is important for today's gamers to at some point forsake the modern conveniences, and just play games like these and discover their roots.
The Legend of Zelda was a groundbreaking title for its time, and helped establish the modern adventure game. You control Link on a 2D plane, exploring the vast and of lesser Hyrule in search of the pieces of the Triforce of Courage. Only with them can you defeat Ganon, save Zelda and restore peace. There are a total of 8 dungeons throughout Hyrule, and each contains a portion of the Triforce of Courage. In each dungeon you will find a new item which will be crucial to making progress in the overworld and well as future dungeons.
Nowadays, we can buy a strategy guide for $20, or even go to the internet for help in a game. Imagine being a 13 year old, and sitting down in front of your TV to play some Zelda on your NES. You have no guide, you have no internet. All you have is your memory, whatever notes you may have taken or maps you may have drawn, and perhaps the advice of friends. The game certainly doesn't do much to point you in the right direction either - it truly is an adventure just trying to figure out what to do. In a way, this is the games most fatal weakness, but at that very same time it is also one of its greatest strengths. The real challenge in Zelda is not the bosses, or the dungeons themselves (not that some of them are not difficult), but rather discovering these dungeons. Even harder is finding the heart containers scattered across Hyrule.
Graphically, the game isn't that impressive, though it's very much in par with other games on the system. You can easily tell that the old men have beards, and that link is wearing a green hat, but I imagine that some of the enemy designs were laughed at back before their names were common knowledge.
The sounds in Zelda are repetitive, but tolerable. The music is where the audio really shines, as you may have guessed. While there are only a handful of songs in the game, they are all very recognizable. Most of them are still used in Zelda games to this very day. Of course, they sound much better now, but your ear will still pick up on them if you go back and play this.
The Legend of Zelda has aged remarkably well, and while there are still many who refuse to truly play the game for more than a minute or two, I highly recommend that you attempt a complete run. It is loads of fun, even when you get frustrated. There's even a second, harder quest if you're up to it after you defeat Ganon! There are a plethora of games with the word "legend" in their title. Legend of Dragoon, Legend of Gaia, and many more. In my mind, however, only one game is truly a legend - The Legend of Zelda.