In 1988, Milton Bradley released a Legend of Zelda board game. Awesomely, it wasn't a lazy conversion of an existing game like we see now, with Nintendo Monopoly or Metal Gear Risk. It was a game specifically tailored for Zelda.
And take a look at that box art! Amazing stuff.
The game was based on the idea of replicating the original Zelda's top-down perspective, split across six "rooms" which each took the form of one of the terrains found in the game. So you got a few different types of dungeon, a grassland, a desert, etc.
It even strove to work like Zelda, and when it couldn't manage that, at least operate like a cardboard-based JRPG. Dice were rolled to determine both movement and combat, and what kind of tile you landed on determined whether you moved, fought a random opponent (the JRPG bit) or received a random item (the Zelda chest bit). There were even other neat little Zelda touches like receiving extra hearts for your life meter by defeating opponents and having to face bosses .
Cute touches aside, it was a little simple, though that's cool considering that in 1988 it was aimed only at kids. Those looking for a Zelda board game with a little more detail should instead check out Japan's take on the idea.
Two years earlier, in 1986, Bandai released a board game called Hyrule Fantasy, which instead of basic tiles recreated the overworld map from the original Zelda, and to simulate dungeons had separate tiles, cards and even plastic pieces to represent the players. I've never played this superior-looking version, and with copies priced at $500 used, won't be any time soon.
Which is a shame, because it looks awesome.
Total Recall is a look back at the history of video games through their characters, franchises, developers and trends.