Way Back When
After the wild success of Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda for NES, the company clearly saw an opportunity for a blockbuster franchise. However, their follow-up title, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, was a divisive game thanks to the many ways in which altered the working formula of the original. So with the SNES era now upon them, Nintendo went back to the drawing board to figure out what exactly what the fundamentals of a Zelda game should look like going forward, and thus was born The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, a release that took everything that worked about the first entry, largely ignored the second, and decided on the standard that the series would adhere to throughout the following decades.
By returning to the overhead perspective of the first release, Nintendo managed to create a game for their new 16-bit console that felt true to its roots, but they also equally succeeded at making it feel contemporary and exciting for new and returning players. A Link to the Past introduced series staples such as the Master Sword, dual realities, and Link’s famous spin attack, and it also marked the first appearance of popular items like the Hookshot and Pegasus Boots, which would also go on to be used in a variety of other entries over the years. And while the game provided a smorgasbord of challenging bosses and cryptic puzzles, it found a much better balance than the previous two releases, with its nonstop sense of reward giving players all the more reason to push through its tough parts to see what was next.
A Link to the Past was a major hit for Nintendo and became one of the best-selling SNES games, ending its run with over 4.6 million copies sold worldwide. The immense critical praise for the game ensured that players were eager to buy and dive into this expansive and creative version of Hyrule to rescue Princess Zelda once again, and it has long been considered one of the greatest video games ever made. Of course, many Zelda games have become fan favorites over the years, such as Nintendo 64’s Ocarina of Time and Nintendo Switch’s Breath of the Wild, but few would deny the impact A Link to the Past had on setting the stage for those future releases, and even fewer would deny how such a wonderful game helped to define their childhood.
Where You Can Play It Now
Luckily, Nintendo has remained dedicated to keeping the entire Zelda lineup relatively easy to access, and Link’s third outing is no exception. There are a variety of methods to play the game, so you’ll have no issue finding one that suits you.
Here’s the modern platforms on which you can access The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past:
- Wii U (Virtual Console)
- New Nintendo 3DS (Virtual Console)
- Nintendo Switch (via Nintendo Switch Online membership)
- SNES Classic Edition Console (pre-installed)
Once you’ve wrapped up your exploration of this popular iteration of Hyrule, you can always check out the game’s spiritual successor The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds on the 3DS. It’s an exceptional game in its own right and should tickle your nostalgia receptors quite a lot with its familiar design choices.