It’s hard to overstate the importance of 1986’s The Legend of Zelda, the first title in what has become our favorite game series. The game not only birthed a long-running popular franchise for Nintendo, but it also set the standard for the budding action-adventure genre and expanded the boundaries of console gaming. And though we fans discuss the Zelda series on a daily basis around here, we often forget just how important that first game was.

Games journalist and historian Jeremy Parish recently published an in-depth retrospective on The Legend of Zelda, as part of his and the Retronauts podcast’s NES Works series. The video examines the landscape of gaming in 1986, the circumstances of Zelda I‘s release, the game’s features and innovations, and the overall impact the game has had in the years to follow. Throughout the length his 20-minute analysis, Parish develops and supports the primary thesis that The Legend of Zelda proved that console games could thrive with the same depth and substance as any other medium.

Titled “The Gold Standard”, this retrospective video is both insightful and exceptionally well made. Parish presents a wealth of information about The Legend of Zelda, while also providing essential context about the state of video games at the time of its release. I personally appreciated Parish’s focus on the games that most likely influenced Zelda I‘s design, such as The Tower of Druaga and Wizardry. I also appreciated his discussion on the specific hardware innovations that were necessary for the game’s success, such as MMC1 mapper chip and an internal battery for saving data.

Every Zelda fan owes it to his or herself to check out this retrospective. If you want to hear more from Jeremy Parish and the Retronauts team, you can check out their YouTube channel here or their website here.

What did you think of this retrospective video? Did you learn anything new? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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