Retro Ad Replay – The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker 17th Anniversary

It’s time for another Retro Ad Replay! This is the series where we take a trip back in time to reminisce and celebrate the anniversary of the most significant moments in gaming. If you find yourself wanting more content like this, be sure to visit

In this December 13 edition of Retro Ad Replay, we’re traveling back 17 years in time to when The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker launched in Japan. December 13, 2002 was the day that a cel-shaded Link first became available on the Nintendo GameCube. North American players were able to get their hands on the new Zelda title on March 24, 2003, while those in Europe had to wait until May 2. Thankfully this was at a time when spoilers didn’t spring up too often across continents, so the months between the releases weren’t as dangerous as they are today.

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The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker set itself apart from other Zelda titles with its huge open world that was largely covered in water. The ocean had to be navigated by boat, aided by Link’s ability to manipulate the wind. Moving from island to island, players progressed through the story that paralleled previous adventures. There’s a Triforce, there’s a Zelda, and there’s also a Ganon. The cel-shaded visuals also went in a different direction to the more realistic presentations that we’ve seen before and after.

The game was later remastered in HD for the Wii U console. You can see the official trailer embedded below:

In GameRevolution’s The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker review published in 2003, we concluded:

From its graphics to its gameplay, Wind Waker continues the excellent tradition of the Zelda series. It is beautifully stylized and the gameplay is finely tuned. The flow of the game isn’t the traditional episodic rhythm of dungeon/town/dungeon, which is a welcome departure, but the drawn-out exploration near the end is a bit much. Score another winner for Link.

You can read the full review, in which we awarded the game a 4.5/5, here.

I think most would agree that the majority of Zelda games are special. Most recently, we’ve seen The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild wow critics and players everywhere. I know I’m not the only one excited to see what’s next for Link!