Which Zelda is Right for Me?

Part 1:
 
Whether you are a casual gamer or a hardcore enthusiast, you have to give respect to the Legend of Zelda series.  Started back in the mid-eighties by Nintendo, the series has influenced gaming culture as a whole in so many ways it’s mind bottling (Did you just say "mind bottling’?!)  Think of it this way:
 
The Legend of Zelda on the 8-bit NES was the first of it’s kind in MANY categories.  It was the first console video game EVER to feature a SAVE option with a battery backup.  It was one of the first console games EVER to feature an implementation system.  And lots of people to this day argue that it was the first "sandbox" game, where (though slightly on the rails), you could take the adventure at your own pace, travel to where you wanted, and even fight some of the bosses out of order.
 
If you’ve played any of the Legend of Zelda video games, wonderful.  But if you haven’t or maybe have tried it, but haven’t gotten too deep; this article is for you. Thanks to the power of the Wii’s Virtual Console and the beauty of emulation, almost ANY Zelda game ever made can be played again.  (Side note, if you ever run across a copy of any supposed Zelda game made for the old Philips CD-i system, don’t panic.  Just take the disc, or system, and beat the livid sh*t out of it ’till it no longer works.  Your Nobel Peace Prize will arrive in the mail in 4-6 weeks) *AHEM* So where was I? Oh yes… Picking the Zelda game that is right for you, should be your choice, but an educated choice.  Here, in brief, is a run-down of Zelda games worth trying out.
 
The Legend of Zelda – NES – 1985
The first of the series boasts a fairly large, and for its time, detailed map.  Adventures are short, but implements and weapons found along the way are great fun.  Catchy tunes that you may get sick of. Replay value unbelievable for NES.  Game contains "jumbled" second full quest (game) after first quest is beaten, or by naming your character "ZELDA". My opinion in one sentence: Know your roots!
 
Zelda II: The Adventure of Link – NES – Late 80′s

A total re-imagination of the mechanics of Zelda takes place, and is made into a 95% 2-D platformer.  Though it now features a "level-up" system, the gameplay is frustrating and somewhat sloppy.  Controls are weak.  Sound does improve, as do graphics (minimal).  Magic is also broadened into a fairly decent spell list. My opinion in one sentence: Maybe if you’re really bored on a Wednesday night.
 
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past – SNES – 1991
Link’s debut on the SNES is a phenomenal smash.  The gameplay is broadened by gorgeous detail, FUN weapons and implements, a new life gaining system, etc.  Bosses are all unique and have great AI.  The jump in sound from the NES is one of the greatest growths in video game history.  Control scheme is TIGHT and best yet, it WORKS.  Detailed maps help you every step of the way. My opinion in one sentence: If you’re going to start or restart, begin with this one.
 
Part 2: Gameboy to N64 coming soon.