Week of Love: I Asked My Non-Gamer Wife to Name Every Mainline Zelda Game in Release Order, and This is What She Came Up With
Posted on February 15 2019 by Rod Lloyd
I’m not one to bring up my personal life in my work for Zelda Dungeon, but with this week being the Week of Love, I felt compelled to lift the curtain a bit on what goes on IRL. Last year, something pretty big happened for me: I got married! And as much as I love my new wife with all my heart, I must admit that she is very much not a gamer. She had only held a controller a few select times in her life before meeting me, and she’s still hesitant to pick one up these days.
But she’s married to a Zelda fanatic, and she’s been exposed to at least a few Zelda games by osmosis. In fact, she’s sat with me as I played at least three Zelda games since we’ve been married. So, with only her limited and tertiary experience with the series, I asked my wife to (try to) name all 19 mainline Zelda games in the order they were originally released, and this is what the poor girl came up with.
My wife started the list off well enough. This title seemed like a gimme, but I am proud of her all the same. Now, I do have to give her a little grace in just saying “Zelda” rather than the full title of “The Legend of Zelda,” but… marriage is all about compromise.
Fact check: The first Zelda game released was The Legend of Zelda.
2. Zelda II
I can say with absolute certainty that my wife had no idea that the second Zelda game was called Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. She was merely basing her guess on the standard convention for naming a sequel in nearly every piece of media. If you have a sequel to something, just add a “2”, right?
Fact check: The second Zelda game released was Zelda II: The Adventure of Link.
3. Zelda and Link
And here’s where she started to lose her momentum. Sadly, there is no “Zelda and Link” in the Zelda series, but dang it all, there probably should be. Princess Zelda and Link did eventually team up for an entire game with Spirit Tracks, but that adventure released over 15 years after the third Zelda title.
Fact check: The third Zelda game released was A Link to the Past.
4. Zelda as Link
She was just joking at this point. But after really thinking about the name “Zelda as Link,” I couldn’t help but wonder why we still haven’t seen a game in which Princess Zelda is the hero. Sure, the atrocious Zelda’s Adventure was released on the Philips CD-i, but I think Hyrule’s Princess deserves more than that.
Fact check: The fourth Zelda game released was Link’s Awakening.
5. A Link to the Past
Hey, here’s a title we all recognize! It turns out that this game was one of the few Zelda titles my wife was acquainted with as a child. She didn’t actually get the chance to play it, but she did remember it. It’s too bad she delayed its placement in this list by two positions. She could have been three for three!
Fact check: The fifth Zelda game released was Ocarina of Time.
6. Zelda on the Sea
I’m pretty sure she was thinking of The Wind Waker with this entry. And I’m going to be honest; I think “Zelda on the Sea” is a significantly better title than “The Wind Waker.” It’s also interesting to note that the direct sequel to A Link to the Past, Link’s Awakening, actually starts with Link sailing the sea. She wasn’t that far off after all!
Fact check: The sixth Zelda game released was Majora’s Mask.
7. High School Zelda Musical
My wife was having fun again with this joke answer. Though we would all probably appreciate a Zelda game in the style of an angsty Broadway musical, no such game exists. Skyward Sword does feature plenty of Highschool-esque drama and some killer songs, but nothing suitable enough for Zac Efron’s golden voice.
Fact check: The seventh Zelda game released was Oracle of Seasons / Oracle of Ages.
8. Princess of Twilight
She was so close with this one! I think that since “Twilight Princess” and “Princess of Twilight” basically convey the same idea, we should give her a point for this one. She was a bit early with the placement though. My wife should definitely know this Zelda game, as she watched me play through its first few hours.
Fact check: The eighth Zelda game released was Oracle of Seasons / Oracle of Ages.
9. Zelda 9
At this point in her list, my wife asked how many Zelda games she’d named so far. When I told her eight, she immediately came back with “Zelda 9.” I can’t in good conscious give her a point for that answer. Maybe the Zelda team’s codename for Four Swords was “Zelda 9” at some point, but the game sure wasn’t released that way.
Fact check: The ninth Zelda game released was Four Swords.
10. Mudora’s Mask
Here she half-recalled the name of a Nintendo 64 classic, but alas, it wasn’t quite on point. My wife remembered there was somebody with a funny name that starts with “M,” and that person owns a mask, but she just couldn’t come up with the right name. I even made her play through the game’s opening cycle when Majora’s Mask 3D came out. What a shame!
Fact check: The tenth Zelda game released was The Wind Waker.
11. Oracles of Time
I’m pretty sure she was looking for Ocarina of Time with this one, but she actually ended up combining the names of two (or three) Zelda games. I think that if Oracle of Ages was released under the title “Oracle of Time,” a thousand clueless parents would have ended up buying the wrong game for their kid.
Fact check: The eleventh Zelda game released was Four Swords Adventures.
12. The Wind Walker
She was clearly looking for The Wind Waker with this entry, and she was only two positions off in the list! This was actually the last title she named, but she gave me specific instructions to place it at number 12 in the list. Did she know that The Wind Waker was also “Zelda on the Sea”? We may never know.
Fact check: The twelfth Zelda game released was The Minish Cap.
13: The One with Flutes in It
I can’t even begin to guess which game she was talking about. There are so many Zelda games with flutes in them! The Legend of Zelda, The Adventure of Link, A Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask, The Minish Cap, Spirit Tracks; Link can play flutes in all them! And don’t get me started on those non-playable flutes.
Fact check: The thirteenth Zelda game released was Twilight Princess.
14: Ponya and Link
Here, my wife was trying to remember the name of Link’s horse. We all of course know the horse’s name as Epona, but I think my wife has watched too many Studio Ghibli movies in her life and mixed up Epona with Ponyo. How does my wife know Epona, by the way? Well, I’ve shown her this very silly video many times.
Fact check: The fourteenth Zelda game released was Phantom Hourglass.
15: Hyrule Nation
I think she was going for Hyrule Warriors on this one. The poor girl thinks Hyrule Warriors is a canon Zelda game… But I will give her props for remembering the name of The Legend of Zelda‘s main setting. The kingdom of Hyrule is an essential part of the series, and I’m proud of my wife for giving it a shout out.
Fact check: The fifteenth Zelda game released was Spirit Tracks.
16. Basketball Universe
This entry may sound completely random to some people. But the term “Basketball Universe” actually comes from an episode of Polygon’s Unraveled series. Host Brian David Gilbert tries to (humorously) assemble every Zelda game — canon and non-canon — into a single timeline. His name for the official “Downfall Timeline” is the “Basketball Timeline.” Just watch it; you’ll understand.
Fact check: The sixteenth Zelda game released was Skyward Sword.
17. Gandorf’s Revenge
In most circumstances, I would have given my wife a few partial points with this answer. Ganondorf — or Gandorf for short — does plot revenge in several games. But sadly, Skyward Sword, the real seventeenth Zelda game, doesn’t even feature Ganondorf. Maybe one day we’ll see a “Demise’s Revenge” though?
Fact check: The seventeenth Zelda game released was A Link Between Worlds.
18. Tingle’s Debut
Wrong again, my love! The Zelda developers sure do love to shove Tingle in places he doesn’t belong, but unfortunately, Tri Force Heroes isn’t one of those places. I should also mention that Tingle’s debut actually took place way back in game 6, Majora’s Mask. And we’ve been stuck with him ever since.
Fact check: The eighteenth Zelda game released was Tri Force Heroes.
19. Breath of the Horses
My wife knew that the latest Zelda game was “Breath of the Something,” but she couldn’t remember the something. She also knew that Link can ride many different horses in that game. So she came up with “Breath of the Horses”. She did specify that this title was released last, so good on her for that one.
Fact check: The nineteenth Zelda game released was Breath of the Wild.
And there concludes my wife’s list of every Zelda game. She may have been wildly off-base in places, but I’m proud that I, a rabid Zelda fan, could rub off on her even a little bit. Thank you to everyone that joined us on this dumb, little adventure. And special thanks to my wife for letting me have a little fun for Week of Love. I love you!
Be sure to share your thoughts on this whole ordeal in the comments below. And if you have a significant other brave enough to take the challenge, ask them to name every Zelda game in order and share the results with us!
Rod Lloyd is the Managing Editor for Zelda Dungeon. He runs the weekly Caption Contest, writes silly list articles, and dabbles with video. Follow him on Twitter!