The Legend of Zelda 35th anniversary infographic
Graphic looks at the history of the Zelda video game franchise, with details on game sales over the years.


Gaming’s greatest action-adventure franchise turns 35

By Ninian Carter

February 21, 2021 - A video game series that’s sold over 110 million units, made “Zelda” a household name and created a multibillion dollar franchise, was released 35 years ago.

The Legend of Zelda is a fantasy action-adventure video game franchise created by Nintendo stalwarts, Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka.

The premise of the series revolves around various incarnations of Link, a young elf-like humanoid with pointy ears, and Princess Zelda, who possesses magical powers. Together, they fight to save the kingdom of Hyrule from evil demon Ganon.

Although their personalities and backstory can differ from game to game, Link and Zelda are more or less the same each time: Link, usually wearing a green grab, starts each game with few skills and no weapons and must then attain them through side quests on his way to the big showdown; Zelda is often a member of the Royal Family, sometimes in need of rescue from Ganon, and in others helping Link to battle him.

To date, there have been 27 official canon game releases on all of Nintendo’s major game consoles, including several older titles that have been spruced up and rereleased on later, more advanced machines.

Since the original Legend of Zelda was released on February 21, 1986, the franchise has spawned an American animated television series, Japanese Manga adaptations and a whole heap of toys and merchandising.

The Legend of Zelda is one of Nintendo's most prominent and successful franchises – selling almost 115 million units (second only to Mario) – with several of its entries considered to be among the best video games ever made.

PUBLISHED: 19/02/2021; STORY: Graphic News