I'd like to start off with a small introduction covering what brought on my desire to write this list. If you assumed it was because of the fast-approaching A Link Between Worlds, you got half credit. The truth is, I've had a major regret as a gamer for about as long as I can remember. After working diligently for the past several days to make peace with myself, I can finally say I have completed A Link to the Past. Not only did I clean out one of the skeletons in my gaming closet, I have equipped myself with a better understanding of the similarities between A Link to the Past and its upcoming sequel. Following this personal achievement, I feel more comfortable compiling a list of my top Zelda games. Please enjoy.

5. Majora's Mask

As easily one of the most atmospheric Zelda titles, Majora's Mask's world left more of an impression on me than most iterations of Hyrule. The ever-present moon accentuated the sense of impending doom that permeated all of Termina. Plenty of fans griped about its trademark three day time-limit, but I thought it was an interesting mechanic that set it apart from the rest of the series in a good way. The time limit showed its merits especially well during sidequests that featured time-sensitive events that would only take place on certain days. Speaking of sidequests, I thought Majora's Mask struck a nice balance between them and the main game. With no shortage of interesting characters, *cough* Tingle *cough*, it was easy to immerse myself in Termina for hours without conquering a single dungeon.

4. A Link to the Past

I know with certainty that I have spent more time in A Link to the Past than any other Zelda game. Its iconic overworld, perhaps the most iconic of the entire series, is permanently etched into my memory. Maybe if I hadn't spent so much time trying to complete it over the years, it would be ranked higher on this list. The superb dungeon and overworld design were bogged down by my own frustration with playing through them several times over. Naturally, I most enjoyed the final few dungeons in my latest run, as I had never reached them before. I suppose my only real complaints are the hit-and-miss boss battles, the magic meter that made certain dungeons unnecessarily difficult, and the deficit of memorable characters.

3. Wind Waker HD

As my personal pick for the most beautiful game of all time, Wind Waker embodies the creative spirit of Zelda games. Zelda isn't restricted to any specific design aspects, art style or otherwise, and Wind Waker really drove that point home back in the day. The dungeon design may have been a little weak, but the Great Sea's secret-laden islands more than made up for that. The most impactful ending in series history, and possibly the best soundtrack a game ever had, solidify Wind Waker's place among the best Zelda has to offer.

It's worth noting that Wind Waker HD is my choice rather than the original. You can read why in my full review.

2. Ocarina of Time

Most commonly a predictable choice for #1 Zelda game, or even #1 game of all time, Ocarina of Time is undeniably the most revered title of the series, and it's easy to understand why. The design is impeccable and not offensive in any way. I guess you could say it's the most infallible of all Zelda games. It stands to this day as an unforgettable example of how to successfully translate a series into 3D. I literally cannot think of any criticisms whatsoever, unless you count my reasoning for picking this next Zelda game as my #1.

1. Skyward Sword

Brace yourself, for I am about to make a controversial statement. Skyward Sword is the single greatest video game ever created. While it may not be as flawless as Ocarina of Time, it certainly is bolder. Creating an entire Zelda game centered on motion control without descending into gimmick territory was a daring attempt on Nintendo's part, but in the end, they pulled it off. The result is the most intuitive overall control scheme of any Zelda game. Motion control isn't Skyward Sword's only success, however. Dungeon design is among the best of the series and I would argue that the overworld is on par with A Link to the Past's. The environments are rich with detail and hidden goodies. Finally, Skyword Sword's story may not be any more complex than the rest of the series, though it is the most heartfelt. It's impressive how emotionally expressive Link is when you consider he never speaks.

Now I'm curious what your favorite Zelda titles are. Did I disgrace myself by naming Skyward Sword the crowning achievement of what is arguably gaming's ultimate franchise? Are you upset that Twilight Princess didn't make the cut? I'd love to hear from you in the comments.