The Timeline: The Legend of Zelda In Games And Pop Culture

By Zante Barker

Since Breath of the Wild is one of my favorite games ever, I decided to research The Legend of Zelda series in games and in pop culture. I looked at Wikipedia, YouTube and elsewhere to come up with this timeline. Take a look!


  • February 21, 1986: The Legend of Zelda

The original! It was the first great action adventure based video game to be released and it has sold over 6.5 million copies. According to Harold Goldberg’s “All Your Base Are Belong to Us,” Mr. Miyamoto said he was inspired to make Zelda by scouting trips he took as a child.

  • January 14, 1987: The Adventure of Link

This game was released less then a year later after The Legend of Zelda on January 14, 1987. The Adventure of Link was an action role-playing video game that consisted of Link saving Zelda from a sleeping spell she was under. This game didn’t sell as well as the first, though.

  • July 31, 1989: Zelda Williams

Zelda Williams is comic actor Robin Williams’ daughter. Robin loved the game. So he named his daughter after it.

  • September 9, 1989: Captain N: The Game Master

This NBC Saturday morning show has various Nintendo references. Four of the show’s 34 episodes revolved around Link and Hyrule. They included things such bosses and enemies like Ganon, and Zelda and Link together in a scene. Up above, Link says he “pulled a muscle dodging boomerangs…comes with the territory.”

  • November 21, 1991: A Link to the Past

A Link to the Past was the 3rd game in a series on its way to becoming one the greatest of all time. It also sold 4.6 million copies. This game consists of Link saving Hyrule, defeating Ganon and saving the Seven Sages.

  • June 6, 1993: Link’s Awakening

Link’s Awakening did not take place in Hyrule, didn’t include Zelda, or even the Triforce relic. An updated version came out titled: The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX for the Game Boy system in color in 1998 on the super small screen.

  • 1993: The X Files: False

Big Mistake. A Zelda wiki said that in The X-Files there was a beggar that had on green clothes and a hat that was fairly close to Link’s in style. If you watch the episode “Little Green Men,” there’s no evidence that this ever happened.

  • November 21, 1998: Ocarina of Time

In November of 1998, Ocarina of Time was released and was the fifth game in the Legend of Zelda series. This became the 10th best selling game and sold over 7 million copies worldwide. As one of the most highly rated and one that has won numerous awards, you had to play 12 musical selections to solve puzzles throughout the game.

  • 1999: Durango Kids

In this film, one of the child characters was playing Ocarina of Time at the beginning Ganon’s Castle.


  • April 27, 2000: Majora’s Mask

Majora’s Mask was the sixth game in the Legend of Zelda and the second game to have 3D graphics. This game has sold over 3.3 million copies worldwide and it was considered a step forward for game play. It was recognized for its amazing art, level design, and the dark themes.

  • August 18, 2000: The Powerpuff Girls

In the episode titled “Child Fearing,” the Mayor can be clearly seen playing a Zelda game which is probably The Ocarina of Time on a Nintendo 64. The Mayor did receive a Game Over screen when he had Link kill the fairy.

  • December 2, 2002: Four Swords

Four Swords was the 9th installment into the The Legend of Zelda series and which promoted coop multiplayer in a story that took place 100 years after Twilight Princess.

  • December 13, 2002: The Wind Waker

The Wind Waker features a cel-shaded Link and, unusually, was set on a mysterious group of islands. This game won several Game of The Year awards as well. 

  • November 19, 2006.: Twilight Princess

Twilight Princess was the thirteenth installment for the Legend of Zelda series. Here, Link’s goal was to keep Hyrule from going into a corrupt parallel dimension. This happen many years after Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask.

  • November 2, 2007: Chowder Episode: “Froggy Apple Crumple Thumbkin”

In Chowder, there was a Legend of Zelda reference where Mung Daal had a list of ingredients that was going to be used for a complex recipe. You almost couldn’t see it as it flashed along the screen. But if it was slowed down, it looks like the Triforce was an ingredient.

  • 2008: WWE

Cody Rhodes a WWE superstar, briefly discussed in the WWE Magazine the fact that he had boots with the symbol of the Triforce – because he loves the series.

  • August 13, 2010: Scott Pilgrim vs The World

For this film, much of the background music in the first scene included The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past music. There’s also music from Ocarina of Time and “The Great Fairy Fountain” them can be heard during the dream sequence. Mr. Miyamoto pushed hard to get Nintendo to allow the music to be licensed.

  • September 28, 2011: The Binding of Issac

 In the game The Binding of Issac, some of the graphics, coding and UI have been seen as an homage to The Legend of Zelda. As an example, when the protagonist Issac goes to open a chest, the item would pop up similar to the way Link opens a chest to get a treasure item.

  • November 16, 2011: Psych

The Psych episode “Shawn Interrupted” had a Legend of Zelda references. Shawn enters and says “I’m headed up to my room to play Legend of Zelda.” Molly Ringwald guest stars.

  • November 18, 2011: Skyward Sword

Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword includes the origins of the Master Sword that has been continuously popping up. Here, you deal with Link saving Zelda after she was kidnapped and brought to this area that was below clouds. Aspects of this game are said to have inspired the creation of Breath of the Wild. 

  • May 14, 2012: How I Met Your Mother

In the episode titled “The Magician’s Code: Part 2”, Marshall was intoxicated and talks to an ATM machine. At this point, Legend of Zelda music is played and we see a screen from the original game!

June 15, 2012: Gravity Falls: Episode: “Tourist Trapped”

In Gravity Falls’s pilot episode, the grappling hook is the Hookshot item which made its first appearance in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.

  • April 10, 2012: Skullgirls

In the game Skullgirls, one of the Parasoul’s Egrats would often say, “Well excuuuuse me, princess”  which was a direct reference to the Legend of Zelda TV series.

  • November 22, 2013: A Link Between Worlds

A Link Between Worlds was the 17th game of the Legend of Zelda series, a sequel to A Link to the Past. In this game Link is trying to restore the kingdom of Hyrule after the evil sorcerer Yuga captures Princess Zelda and ruined the world of Lorule. Within five months 2.5 million games were sold worldwide and the three-dimensional art style from the 3DS system was loved by many.

  • March 3, 2017: Breath of the Wild

Breath of the Wild was the 19th Zelda game to be released. Link wakes up after a long slumber to save Princess Zelda after Ganon came back to take over Hyrule. The game won numerous awards, including one for game of the year at our New York Game Awards. Breath of the Wild sold over 16 million copies worldwide. 

September 20, 2019: Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening

It’s good when things come full circle. The most recent game was a graphical upgrade and remastering of the 1993 game for Switch which included aspects of the DX game. Critics and fans generally loved it. But then again, they love most Zelda games. What’s not to love?

Zante “Zelda” Barker is a Circle intern from our partnership with the DreamYard Preparatory School in the Bronx.

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