The lights are on
1. The Legend of Zelda
It was wrapped in gold when released, and now it's earned the gold amongst its peers.
Running neck-and-neck with Super Mario Bros. during most of the voting process,
it was only toward the end of the tallying that The Legend of Zelda came out on
top as the best game of all time. All things considered, we are lucky to have been
pleasured with its presence at all. Nintendo was worried about how an American audience
would respond to this very different game, and when you think about it, the trepidation
was justified. At the time, the most successful games in the States had been linear
action titles providing instant gratification. The Legend of Zelda was a free-roaming
title with strange game mechanics. It took hours to learn, and so much time to finish
the cartridge had to have an internal battery to allow for game saves. It didn't
take long for Nintendo to find that the US was indeed ready to experience an adventure
like Zelda. So ready, in fact, that over a million copies of the cartridge were
sold within six months of its 1987 release. To music that no one can forget, players
take the role of Link, and guide him on his quest to find the pieces of the Tri-Force,
defeat the evil Ganon, and rescue the princess Zelda. On this unforgettable adventure,
one travels an incredibly huge overworld, explores nine labyrinthine dungeons, earns
new weapons, and discovers secret areas aplenty. Gameplay alone made Zelda addicting,
but the way Miyamoto structured the world caused people to play it ravenously. You
could see items and new areas on the edge of the screen, yet you could not get to
them. Obtaining access to these things drove interest in the game from high to obsessive.
Most pleasantly surprising of all, once the game is beaten, an entirely different
and more difficult quest opens up. The Legend of Zelda is the ubiquitous experience
of video games – it's not a question of if you've played it, but how much.
Perfect in every conceivable way, it is well-deserving of the top honor amongst
Email the author Jeff Cork, or follow on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Game Informer.