From Centipede to Zelda, these are the 20 best (and most influential) videos games of the '80s

The Legend of Zelda

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

The Legend of Zelda

Why you can trust Windows Central Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Developer: Nintendo

Platforms: Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)

Release Date: Feb. 21, 1986

Why this game mattered: The Legend of Zelda set the standard for action-adventure games the moment it hit shelves. It's one of the original open-world exploration titles, teaming with dungeon crawling, exciting puzzles, and the classic trope of the young, silent hero Link rescuing the now iconic Princess Zelda from the villain Ganon.

Fun fact: Shigeru Miyamoto created The Legend of Zelda based on how he explored as a child. That child-like wonder and excitement of discovery translate very well since there are so many hidden secrets to discover, monsters to battle, and new ways to beat the game, even 34 years later.

Future games influenced by this title: Not only did this first entry spawn many franchise greats to follow, like the legendary Link to the Past on the SNES, Ocarina of Time on the N64, and Breath of the Wild on the Nintendo Switch, but The Legend of Zelda inspired many successful RPGs, such as Crystalis, Soul Blazer, and Brave Fencer Musashi.

Where you can play it today: The Legend of Zelda is now available on Nintendo Switch Online or on the NES Classic.

WC Staff