Gamespot's History of Zelda
I don't know when Gamespot first published this feature, but it's a nice history lesson of our friends Zelda and Link. For those of us who weren't blessed with an NES as a child, it provides some background on one of the most successful franchises in video game history. Even if you hate Zelda and everything about her, you probably owe it to yourself to "know thy enemy" and peruse the site.
My first experience with the big Z was at a friend's house. He had the shiny gold NES cart that immediately made me want to play it more than anything else he had. Of course he had already beat the game, probably several times. There probably couldn't have been anything more painful to him than to see me flounder around on the first few screens wondering where to go and swording anything that moved. So within about twenty minutes he grabbed the controller out of my hands and proceeded to play through the game at light speed for what I guess he assumed was my entertainment. It wasn't quite the magical experience everyone else talks about.
I didn't own an NES. And I didn't own an SNES. Clearly I missed out on a lot. The next Zelda game I played was on my Gameboy Pocket. Link's Awakening was my first true Zelda experience. I know this is probably shocking for those of you who assumed I was old school Nintendo fanboy. In fact, the first Nintendo console I ever owned was the N64, which would probably be voted 'most likely to drive you forever from the Nintendo brand'. What can I tell you? You develop as a gamer in a slightly different way when you go the TurboGrafx-16 route. Link's Awakening still felt very similar to the experience I remembered from the twenty minutes I spent on the NES. Every room brought a new puzzle. Every dungeon brought a new boss. Beat enough bosses and you win. Complexity doesn't necessarily have anything to do with fun.
Even now, in The Wind Waker, we haven't strayed too far from that original formula. I still find myself trapped in a room with two torches, a powdered donut, and a roll of duct tape, and I have to find a way out. Gamespot's history gives us a nice reminder about how far the game has come, all in the pursuit of fun.