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Plugged In

The Legend of Zelda turns 25

Plugged In

Neon Rider

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Old-school Link

Adventurous video game hero Link might stay forever young, but he's a
lot older than you think. On the heels of Mario's 25th birthday last year,
Nintendo's beloved Legend of Zelda franchise turns 25 this week.

First introduced to gamers in Japan on February 21, 1986, the smash series has spawned some of the best-selling games ever released, from the revolutionary, gold-cartridge NES classic to the seminal Nintendo
64 hit The Ocarina of Time -- still among the highest-rated
games ever (and soon to get the 3DS treatment). Toting a sword, shield and a variety of useful items, series staple Link has been a cash cow for Nintendo, helping the company sell a good 60 million Zelda games worldwide.

It hasn't always been peachy, however. In 1989, the game got
the cartoon treatment in an ill-fated series best known for creating an awesomely irritating
catchphrase
. And then there's the forehead-slapping rap from this "really rad" commercial:

But to most gamers, The Legend of Zelda is rightfully revered for its
incredible consistency. Nearly 15 'proper' Zelda games have been released in those 25 years, and there really isn't a stinker in the bunch (though some will throw down over
the maddeningly difficult sequel, The Adventure of Link.) The next game in the
series, Skyward Sword, will put that impressive track record to the test when
it arrives this fall for the Wii.

Consider yourself a fan? What's your favorite Zelda game?
Let us know in the comments.

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