It's Dangerous to Go Alone: The History of 'The Legend of Zelda'

Given fans' reaction to "The Adventure of Link," it's no surprise that the third "Zelda" game had more in common with the first "Legend of Zelda" game, dropping the experience points in favor of a combat-focused top-down game.

In "A Link to the Past," players took the role of a young boy named Link, who is again tasked with rescuing a princess named Zelda. However, for the first time, it wasn't clear whether this Link and Zelda were the same characters as the Link and Zelda of the first two games. This helped create the idea that there could be many different heroes and princesses, each with their own adventures in the magical kingdom of Hyrule.

MORE: Your Guide to Building a Gaming PC

When it came out for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) in 1991, "A Link to the Past" awed players with its even larger explorable world, made twice as big by the incorporation of a parallel world, or "Dark World," that was central to the game's story. The game was so big, in fact, that it was the first SNES title to come on an 8-Mbit cartridge (1MB in size) instead of a 4-Mbit cartridge.

A defining moment in video game development history that still holds up today, for many players, "A Link to the Past" remains the definitive "Zelda" experience. Today, you can purchase a remastered version of this classic game for the Game Boy Advance, or on the Nintendo Virtual Console.

Jill Scharr is a creative writer and narrative designer in the videogame industry. She's currently Project Lead Writer at the games studio Harebrained Schemes, and has also worked at Bungie. Prior to that she worked as a Staff Writer for Tom's Guide, covering video games, online security, 3D printing and tech innovation among many subjects. 

  • Warsaw don't include little articles about Wind Waker, Twilight Princess or Skyward Sword? Though they are not as impactful as the others I still believe them to be worth at least a short article each.
  • spookyman
    Hmm a half finished article. Sounds like CNN reporting to me.
  • knowom
    The adventure of Link was actually my favorite Zelda game was a bit like Nintendo's version of a Konami Castlevania game or a bit like Metroid with a rpg theme as opposed to sci-fi.
  • tomate2
    Long live Nintendo 64!
  • Spanky Deluxe
    It feels like half the article is missing.
  • tobalaz
    A Link to the Past was my all time favorite Zelda.
    I've played LttP through so many times as a kid I've got every boss and item location still burned into my memory!
    Good times.
    Zelda never really felt the same again after that.