1986 saw the release of the original The Legend of Zelda on the NES, although it wasn’t on cartridge – it was on floppy disk. Specifically: for the Nintendo Famicom Disk System (FDS).
A cartridge version, with battery backup-up saves, was released in North America in 1987.
As important, historical video games go, The Legend of Zelda is probably up there with the most important of them. From humble 8-bit beginnings; a clunky interface; badly-translated (or at least badly written in English) text; a green, pixelly Link; obscure puzzles and tricky, archaic gameplay did a great franchise arise… Everyone’s heard of the Zelda games, and it all started with this, way back in 1986.
Of course, legendary Nintendo game designer Shigeru Miyamoto was heavily involved in the making of this game, although he wasn’t really legendary at the time. That came later. After the game came out… [shrugs]
One interesting thing about The Legend of Zelda, that I didn’t know until recently, is that it has a “New Game Plus” type mode, called “Second Quest”, which you activate after completing the game for the first time. Playing Second Quest offers new dungeon locations/layouts, different item placements, and stronger enemies. This kind of detail is not as insignificant as it may seem, as it may have been the first ever video game to do this – a feature that is now common in many games, but back then was unheard of.
Tip: you can activate Second Quest mode by starting a new file with the name “ZELDA”. 🙂