My Favorite Zelda GamesWhat are the three best Zelda games?  Well, here’s the list … according to me.

This week marks the 25th anniversary of the orignal release of The Legend of Zelda for the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System). That one game, a quarter century ago, set the standard for adventure style gaming. Link and Zelda quickly became household names, and a culural tradition was born in the minds of gamers.

Since then, the series has enjoyed a mostly positive run. There have been some rock solid titles in the stretch, and a lot of them came out for Nintendo handhelds instead of the major consoles. I’m thinking specifically of The Minish Cap here.

Picking three among them, as you would guess, isn’t easy. You’re bound to leave something out or include something that the rest of the world hates. I intend to do both. Disagree? Let me have it in the comments section below.

In order from least to most, here are my favorite Zelda games.

Wind Waker

I’m starting this one out proper and including the single title that I’m guaranteed to catch the most flack for. Wind Waker was, all at once, hated and praised by the masses. Most blame the childish, toony look for their malcontent, but I found the features positively charming.

The cel shading was fantastic. Who among us blew up bombs just to watch the smoke? The nerdiest… and the coolest.

The major slight in the game came from two portions. The boat concept and delivery were just so-so; the result was mostly boring and a little tiresome. The other downside came from the plot point where the Triforce is shattered and spread all over the world. Backtrack city.

The Legend of Zelda - Ocarina of TIme

The Ocarina of Time

This one, given infinite time, could flip flop with my first choice forever. The Ocarina of Time is a complete landmark that’s entirely original unto itself. 3D adventure gaming changed forever the day this one released. Players were treated to the unique concept of time travel and a portrayal of cause and effect that they’d never seen before in gaming.

This one is often topping “Best Games of All TIme” lists, and for good reason. Some have argued that it’s overrated, but I’m among the crowd that thinks Ocarina of Time is deserving of every inch of praise it’s received.

Moreover, I’m genuinely excited for the 3DS remake of this game that’s due out later this year. It’s not even the 3D graphics that have me jonesing to get back into this adventure. It’s simply the idea that I’ll be spurred to return to Hyrule once more and play through all of the moments that made the original great. Can’t wait for Epona, fishing and the Biggoron Sword. This game was great.

A Link to the Past

Color me biased here, but this Zelda title rocked so much of my childhood that I absolutely had to shoot it straight to the top of my list. This one arrived for the SNES and I found myself deep in Hyrule Christmas Morning of the same year. The title devoured a ton of my time, and it did so with a great story, beautiful presentation and tough puzzles.

While I’ll never be able to relive the level of shear confusion and brain-wracking bliss that ensnared me during my first play through, I’ll always remember this title as being a perfect blend of challenging and wonderful.

Hit me with your favorite Zelda games.