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Zelda, or The Legend of Zelda to give the series its full title is an action-adventure video-game created by Japanese game designers Shigeru Miyamoto, Takashi Tezuka and Eiji Aonuma. The games that span many different console generations and are published by Nintendo. They offer a rich mix of action, adventure, and puzzle solving.

The games all focus on a playable character called Link, who is usually task of rescuing Princess Zelda and Hyrule from Ganondorf. The mix of puzzles, action, adventure/battles, exploration and questing makes them ideal for play in a family setting as players of different ages can get contribute to different aspects of this progress.

Families should expect a challenge though, these are big games and will take many hours of game-play to finish. Of course this also offers excellent value to those willing to pursue each quest to its conclusion.

This game-play is broken down into three segments: an open over-world map, buildings with character interactions and dungeons offering a range of difficult bosses and magic item. Players progress through these areas to find certain treasures while preserving their life meter, represented by hearts.

Over the years there have been Zelda games on each different iteration of Nintendo hardware. Although newer games certainly look and sound better, families will still find enjoyment (and excellent value) in playing through the older games together.

  • The Legend of Zelda (GBA)
  • The Adventure of Link (NES)
  • A Link to the Past (SNES)
  • Link's Awakening (GBC)
  • Ocarina of Time (N64)
  • Majora's Mask (N64)
  • Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages (GBC)
  • The Wind Waker (GC)
  • Four Swords Adventures (GC)
  • The Minish Cap (GBA)
  • Twilight Princess (GC)
  • Phantom Hourglass (NDS)
  • Spirit Tracks (NDS)
  • Skyward Sword (Wii)
  • A Link Between Worlds (3DS)

Some of these games have then been re-released on newer platforms. For instance the Ocarina of Time had a subsequent release on the 3DS. Here there are often visual improvements as well as accommodations for more modern audiences. In particular there are often hints added to help family players progress more easily.

The latest releases in this series have been the Wind Waker HD re-release on the Wii U and the more recent release of a brand new Zelda game for the 3DS, A Link Between Worlds. Both of these games offer players of a wide range of ages the ability to enjoy this longstanding video-game tradition.

I've worked with Nintendo on a couple of videos here that aim to show how this works in a family setting for Legend of Zelda A Link Between Worlds and Legend of Zelda The Wind Waker HD

More information about The Legend of Zelda series is available here.

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Andrew Robertson
Andy Robertson is the editor of AskAboutGames and has written for national press and broadcast about video games and families for over 15 years. He has just published the Taming Gaming book with its Family Video Game Database.