Video Games
The Evolution of Link - How Hyrule's Hero Changed Over 30 Years

Liz Finnegan | 24 Feb 2016 15:00
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"We named the protagonist Link because he connects people together." - Shigeru Miyamoto

If you haven't noticed, we've been celebrating the 30th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda this week. So far, we've given an overview of the past 30 years and ranked the top 10 games from the series. Over the course of 30 years, we've watched the story change, the setting change, and the mechanics change. But, while the series may be about the Legend of Zelda, every game was ultimately more about the Adventures of Link. While the hero himself has remained consistent (if you ignore that whole "they aren't all the same person" thing, that is), he's gone through some revolutionary changes himself. For 30 years, Link has been coming of age. He's also grown up (and down), learned some new moves, and gained some extra bits. He is the link that connects the stories of The Legend of Zelda, and has become nearly as iconic as Nintendo's beloved Mario. What kind of celebration would this be if we didn't take the time to check out Link in all of his iterations? Luckily, we don't have to answer that. With the exclusion of remakes, spin-offs, and repeats, here are your Links, 1986-2016.

1986 - The Legend of Zelda


Where it all began. Oh, the nostalgia. That little green blob child was as unlikely a hero as a plumber, but still managed to make people feel - feel adventure, feel excitement, feel heroic. We followed Link from above, with the overhead perspective adding to the overworld layout, making everything and anything feel obtainable.

1987 - The Adventure of Link


The next time we saw Link, the developers moved him in a different direction - literally. Gone was the top-down adventure, replaced with a side-scrolling perspective during times of action that made the game feel Link was taller, meant to be a 16 year old. It also had some RPG elements, but that wasn't going to become a staple in the Zelda franchise.

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