Zelda Nintendo Consoles
Image: Nintendo Life

When it comes to console special editions, Nintendo takes the biscuit. Whether it's a colour variant, a game release exclusive, or a nod back to retro consoles of the past, the company is constantly looking for ways to get a 'new' model out on the market and, so it seems, get the money out of our pockets.

No more so is this the case than with special edition Zelda designs. Here at Nintendo Life, it's fair to say that we are fans of the series — hands up, you got us — and a brief survey of our staff revealed a tidy collection of Zelda-themed consoles between us. And this should come as no surprise because a Death Mountain-sized pile of them have been released over the years that positively (Ganon)dwarfs all other series-specific console designs (ok, maybe except Pokémon special editions, though that's a discussion for another day).

This obsession with all things Hyrule got us thinking — what is the sexiest Zelda-themed console out there? The ensuing research dredged up a dozen or so official limited-edition consoles, many of which we were surprised to have forgotten. It quickly became clear that separating the beautiful from the beastly was going to be a harder quest than we had first imagined.

It's for this reason that we are seeking the ever-encouraging wisdom of you lovely lot. Below, we have gathered every official Zelda console design across Nintendo's history and fashioned a poll at the bottom for you to decide which is best looking.

It's dangerous to vote alone, take a look at these...

Every Zelda-themed Nintendo console

Before we dive into the Special Editions, it's worth flagging that not all of these variants were readily available, with some being much rarer than others. This means that while there are some releases that seemingly every one of us either owned or played on at a mate's house (hi GBA SP!), there are other models which, quite frankly, took us by surprise with their legitimacy.

We've also eliminated bundles that don't include bespoke console designs (sorry, Swedish Ocarina fans and Platinum GameCube Wind Waker lovers) and have limited the options down to consoles only — see the bonus section at the bottom for a couple of honourable, peripheral mentions.

And so, let's dive off this Skyloft-like introduction and into the glowing light of the Hylian exclusives below...

Game & Watch

Game & Watch: The Legend of Zelda (1989)

Game & Watch: The Legend of Zelda
Image: Gemma Smith / Nintendo Life

The penultimate addition to the original Game & Watch range, the Zelda edition is not so much a themed design as it is a wholly different console, but we couldn't skip it. These little portables were all about providing simple gaming on the go and the Zelda model did just that with its Adventure of Link-like (sorta) side-scrolling adventure.

In terms of looks, we have to admit that this classic is still turning heads. Its white and green cover and interior are simple, yes, but the little motifs dotted around the console keep it interesting. Seriously, if we saw a Switch model with that classic cover image of Link and the Goblins on the back and with the sword/dragon motifs on the Joy-Cons, we'd be buying in the blink of an eye.

Game & Watch: The Legend of Zelda (2021)

Game & Watch: The Legend of Zelda (2021)
Image: Zion Grassl / Nintendo Life

A significant mark of Zelda's 35th anniversary, this revamped Game & Watch console packed in three separate games and a colour screen. Technology these days!

The look itself is actually very simple. The gold and green definitely suggests a certain Zelda flare but there's nothing else to really comment on here. It lacks the ooo shiny appeal of some of the later gold editions (of which there are a lot), but it is a nice spin on the usual Mario-centric red model all the same.

Gameboy Advance SP

The Legend of Zelda Gameboy Advance SP

Nintendo GBA SP Zelda
Image: Gemma Smith / Nintendo Life

Ok, having skipped the N64 and GameCube Ocarina and Wind Waker editions that just threw a standard console in a bundle box, now we're talking. This model of the Gameboy Advance SP might not have the spicy backlight of the AGS-101 units, but let's just take a moment to look at that thing.

This is the first example of a Nintendo epiphany whereby the studio can slap a gold casing and Triforce on any old console and we are all guaranteed to gobble it up. But come on, can you blame us? The gold casing is oh so shiny and that Triforce decal screams out 'yes, I have played The Minish Cap, let me tell you about it'. It's a beauty.

Nintendo DS Lite

Nintendo DS Lite The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass Special Edition

Nintendo DS Lite Zelda: Phantom Hourglass
Image: Gemma Smith / Nintendo Life

When you think of the Phantom Hourglass DS Lite, you might instantly leap to the more renowned gold edition, but let's not forget the original silver model.

This design is the rarer of the two (with only around 1,000 being made available), and it subs out the usual Triforce motif for a little Toon Link running along with his little toon map. If only the design had left it there and had not slapped a huge great game title on the other side (subtlety is key, people!) but this is a nice design nonetheless and a surefire reminder that the Triforce doesn't need to be the only signifier of a Zelda game.

Nintendo DS Lite The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass Gold

Nintendo DS Lite Zelda: Phantom Hourglass Gold
Image: Gemma Smith / Nintendo Life

See what we mean about Nintendo whacking out a gold casing and Triforce symbol? This lacks the shiny appeal of the GBA SP, it's true, but the tried and tested formula for how to reel us Zelda fans in never fails.

At this point, we're pretty sure that the company could release a gold edition of anything and we would all flock to add it to our bursting Zelda collections. Is this the design with the least effort applied to it? Probably — that Triforce is teeny tiny after all — but it's an exclusive all the same.

Nintendo 3DS

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3DS Bundle

Nintendo 3DS Zelda Special Edition
Image: Gemma Smith / Nintendo Life

Unlike the franchise's 35th anniversary, Zelda's 25th birthday at least had something going for it. The 3DS and its XL counterparts really knocked it out of the park with its Zelda editions and this OG model is no exception.

The sleek black casing and gold detail is an attempt to steal the gentleman's choice. If George Clooney were to play a 3DS, it would be this one. It's a classy design that carries something inherently Zelda despite not being brandished with an image of neither Link nor a giant Triforce — what a concept!

Those who own this console have a three-piece suit for every occasion and drink black coffee straight from their Nespresso Pods. Oooh, the dignity!

Nintendo 3DS XL / New 3DS XL

Nintendo 3DS XL A Link Between Worlds Special Edition
Image: Gemma Smith / Nintendo Life

All members of the Nintendo Life team ooh-ed and ahh-ed at several of the Zelda console designs, but none received quite as positive a reception as this bad boy.

Released alongside A Link Between Worlds, the first 3DS XL is just gorgeous. It has the gold casing and Triforce symbol (see? Like mosquitoes to an electric zapper) but there is so much more hidden between the surface. To be a fly on the wall when one clever designer suggested taking the classic gold concept and opening up the console to reveal a black mirror image underneath. "Take five everyone, we need to give this guy a huge pay rise."

It's an all-time great and many of us hold it up as one of the 'best DS designs evs' (except not phrased exactly like we're a cool kid in an early-2000s movie).

Hyrule Edition

Nintendo 3DS XL Hyrule Edition
Image: Nintendo

This New 3DS XL might just be the pinnacle of the make it gold and stick some Zelda symbol on it approach. The shine has never been shinier and the central motif has never had the chance to be quite as detailed.

There is an argument to be made that all of this extra detail does nothing but distract from the simplicity of the Triforce design, but as a nice nod back to the OG GBA SP only on a much bigger canvas, we think it's pretty neat.

Majora's Mask Edition

Nintendo 3DS XL Majora's Mask
Image: Gemma Smith / Nintendo Life

There are some out there who prefer Majora's Mask to Ocarina of Time (a big battle and we salute you for flying your flag so defiantly), so it makes sense that Nintendo would make the most of this debate and also release a Majora edition of the previous Hyrule design.

The detailing works far better here, to our eyes at least, really making that signature spooky mask pop. Of course, the gold casing is once again at work to really underline the 'this is a Zelda edition, see???', but we like it all the same.

Nintendo 2DS

Nintendo 2DS Link Edition
Image: Nintendo

It's a shame that after so many sure-fire bangers, Nintendo had to finally slip up. The boxy design of the classic 2DS was pretty contentions right from the start, but releasing a green/brown colour way is more reminiscent of something you'd find at the bottom of the food bin than something to prove you're a top-notch Zelda fan.

Don't even get us started on the yellow buttons. With so many gorgeous designs out there, this exceedingly plain example is a rare miss.

New Nintendo 2DS XL

Hylian Shield Edition

2DS XL Hylian Shield Edition
Image: Nintendo

You would be forgiven for assuming that after the 2DS' stomach-churning Zelda edition, Nintendo would never be able to bounce back to its former design greatness. You would, however, be wrong.

This bundle with A Link Between Worlds is one of the sexiest editions out there. No more focused on pure gold and Triforce, this took a swing for another iconic piece of Zelda iconography — the Hylian Shield — and struck, well, gold.

This 2DS XL design might just be one of the most out-there models going, but nothing screams Zelda quite like it. The blue interior continues the shield theme onto the console's inside so you can be reminded of just how big of a fan you really are whilst playing.

Wii U

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD Limited Edition GamePad

Nintendo Wii U Wind Waker Limited Edition
Image: Nintendo

Once Clooney gets tired with his 3DS playtime and wants to upgrade to something all-round chunkier (though no less classy, of course), where would he turn? We reckon it would be to the Wii U's Wind Waker HD GamePad.

Much like the aforementioned 3DS model, this design combines the sleek black casing of the Wii U with some subtle gold detailing for yet another dignified upgrade. Once you have finished sipping on your Nespresso, you might translate the Hylian text around the edge of the GamePad to find a Wind Waker prelude story - this is positively bursting with suaveness!

Nintendo Switch


With Breath of the Wild as a Switch launch title, it makes sense that Nintendo would not make a special edition console design that early on in the life cycle. But with a good few Zelda titles under its belt in the ensuing years (remasters though they may be), we are surely due a Hylian-themed Switch about now, right?

There are rumblings that Tears of the Kingdom might bring an exclusive OLED model our way (above), though these are but rumours for the time being. It looks subdued enough to be legit to us, but we'll have to await official confirmation...


We couldn't finish without mentioning the Skyward Sword gold Wii controller and the HD Remaster's blue Joy-Cons here.

The reason for these exclusions is quite simple: it's consoles only, mate. As for why the Wind Waker HD's Wii U GamePad is in here, it's because it came with the console itself and couldn't be purchased separately.

There you have all of the major Zelda-themed designs on Nintendo consoles, but which is your favourite? Fill out the following poll and then take to the comments to defend your solid gold opinion — and let us know if we missed something!

Which Nintendo console has the best Zelda design?