Whether you’re a gamer or not, chances are you’ll recognize the iconic green hat and sword of Link, the main character in The Legend of Zelda games.
Fans touting merch from The Legend Zelda aren’t hard to come by, and people love showing their Hyrule pride by sporting t-shirts with a triforce on them or iPhone cases with the Master Sword decking it out.
With so many games and characters to obsess over (Link, Zelda, Saria, Midna,
Tingle…the list goes on and on!), there’s a good reason The Legend of Zelda has become an icon in pop culture. Since the first game, titled simply The Legend of Zelda, was released in 1986 for NES, over 18 different games have made their way onto every single Nintendo system.
Choosing favorites is like choosing a favorite child–each is special in its own way, and all of them together make up the glorious Legend of Zelda family–but we did our best to narrow down our top five favorites:
1. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
This was the first 3D Legend of Zelda titles, and it set a major standard for other 3D adventure video games. Originally made for Nintendo 64, the player plays as Link, starting out as a child before becoming frozen for seven years. When he awakens, Hyrule is a darker place, and he must use his magical ocarina and the power of the Master Sword to return it to normal.
2. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
Many of the Legend of Zelda games follow a similar format, but this one took a huge step outside the box by taking to the high seas. Though Link still must thwart the evil Ganon, this time he must sail from island to island and use the power of the wind to beat his foe.
3. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
Twilight Princess didn’t get a ton of praise when it first came out, but it’s slowly been building a reputation as a fan favorite. Link’s new sidekick Midna and the ability to turn into a wolf add some new innovations to the combat gameplay.
4. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
The first appearance of the Master Sword, the first use of an alternate dimension–A Link to the Past was a game changer for the series, and it set up many elements that carried over into the more modern games.
5. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
Whether you love it or hate it, there’s no denying that Majora’s Mask was an, um, interesting take on the series. The creepy alternate dimension of Termina has led many people to interpret the dungeons as each being representative of a stage of grief, which Link is going through thanks to his own death.
By the way, we may have to update this list soon. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is due out for release on Wii U in 2017, and it looks like it will have loads of new gameplay elements.