With The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild so close that we can almost touch it, the famous franchise is on everyone's lips once again. Before the Switch / Wii U entry arrives to rock the boat, we thought we'd celebrate some of our favourites in a snappy and personal article.

Four of our team have written a little about their favourite games in the series. Nope, none of us picked The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, so by all means prepare some furious comments. Frankly, this writer has been reminded how fresh-faced some of our team truly are, with talk of 'first Zelda' games on GameCube and Wii - those crazy kids.

The generational aspect is interesting, though, as we seem to get drawn towards our early encounters with the series, though that's not always the case when choosing our favourites. The four of us that turned around our thoughts at short notice also share a love of the 3D entries in the series, too.

So, below are some favourite Zelda games among a few of our team members.

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Tom Whitehead - The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Looking at the entries below I feel rather old, frankly, with these whippersnappers first encountering this series in the GameCube era and beyond - oh the humanity! As for me, growing up we didn't have a NES or SNES in the house (I've caught up since, so put the pitchforks away) as we had a sensible budget and we picked a Mega Drive in the early '90s. That's fine, I'll get my coat...

Yet later on when my older brother got his first salary, literally the first one at about 18 years old, he bought a Nintendo 64. I was about 12 / 13 at the time and was amazed by the system, its controller and those 3D graphics. It was eye-popping, especially as we'd been hanging around in the 16-bit era with a bit of PC gaming thrown in. Ocarina of Time, when we got that, blew my mind. Its scale, the drama, the visuals, that music - everything about it seared itself into my brain.

The game's also special to me as it gave me a pretty big break here at Nintendo Life. Not too long after joining as a download reviewer in early 2011 I got the chance to review the 3DS re-release, and I got carried away and wrote way too much. As I now spend my days writing about Nintendo on these pages, no doubt annoying some on a daily basis with my odd British references and opinions, I feel like Ocarina of Time not only opened my eyes to extraordinary Nintendo gaming on the N64, but gave me a chance - years later - to share that passion with others online.

So thank you, Ocarina of Time.

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Mitch Vogel - The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

I've played every Zelda game in the series (with the exception of those CD-i abominations) and yet the game I find myself returning to the most is The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. Growing up, I was quite a fan of the 2D Game Boy Advance Zelda games until I played The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, which brought things to an entirely new level. Then, a couple years later, I picked up Wind Waker and was positively blown away by how it essentially played like a better Ocarina of Time. Graphics, story, gameplay, it was all there.

Though I'm aware it divided opinion, I was a huge fan of the cartoony cel-shaded look that Nintendo chose to run with for Link's first GameCube outing. Right from the start on Outset Island, I noticed how the graphics held a certain kind of vibrance and charm that made the world feel so alive. Then, once I could finally explore the Great Sea, I found myself frequently distracted by all the things that you could do. There was so much of the map to fill out, so much unknown territory to explore, that I just couldn't keep myself from usually deviating from the main story path.

Of course, it wasn't all sunshine and roses; sailing could become grating and the tri-force fetch quest was quite a chore. But even with those issues, I've never played a Zelda game which feels so easy to just lose yourself to. The tone is lighthearted, the Great Sea begs you to learn its secrets, and the sense of adventure never really disappears. Though it certainly seems like Breath of the Wild may manage to top Wind Waker in most of these aspects, that game will always hold a special place in my gaming library.

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Matthew Forde - The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Twilight Princess means to me what Ocarina of Time means to a generation of gamers. That may come as sacrilege for some to hear, yet as my first foray into the world of Hyrule I have fond memories of waking up one frosty Christmas morning and journeying into my first Zelda. Every time I scour the icy mountains of Snowpeak, sprint through the vast desert of Gerudo and engage in debatably the most intelligent dungeons to ever grace the series I instantly remember what a magnificent accomplishment Twilight is.

Despite this being Link's adventure, the true star is his sassy sidekick Midna; With her own intentions shrouded, Midna is easily one of the more interesting characters to appear in the Zelda universe. Witty, lovable and sometimes a bit devilish, Midna is the games strongest asset helping to propel the story forward, and by the end you really care for the character and the relationship she shares with Link.

On the opposite end of the spectrum we have Zant. One dimensional is not a term that suits this brute as with progression you learn the events of what drove him to being such a monstrosity. Once discovered he cements himself as not only a distinctive and memorable villain, but truly a unique one.

Otherwise a criminally underrated strength that has held up extremely well is the music. This can be said for most Zelda titles, still from time to time Twilight Princess falls under the radar. From dark, gruelling theatrical showdowns to poignant storyline moments, the constant sounds help emphasise just what a truly special game this is. I have high expectations for Breath of the Wild, and above all hope it will take me back to that frosty Christmas morning all those years ago...

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Ryan Craddock - The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

I clearly remember the first time I bought a game from The Legend of Zelda series. Using some leftover birthday money I wandered into a local retailer - thoughts of "Ah, this is that game with that 'Link' guy from Super Smash Bros." echoing around my as of yet, painfully uneducated child mind - and grabbed a copy of The Wind Waker on GameCube. Let me just quickly put on some body armour or something before I say my reactions were mixed; I had fun, but it wasn't quite the game I was expecting it to be and was vastly different from anything I had played before.

Roll on 2006 and the release of the Wii. After an agonising couple of months making my dad travel up and down the country just to find a console I finally got my hands on one alongside a copy of Twilight Princess amongst other titles. I was hooked immediately. Of course, this was at a time when having motion controls in my living room was impressive enough by itself, but coupling arm-swing sword battles with outstanding dungeon and puzzle design and the dark, grizzly, epic world I was hoping for from the Zelda franchise instantly turned this game into one of my all time favourites.

I will never forget the adventure with Midna, the Wolf Link transformation mechanic, the creepy sounds from the genuinely scary Shadow Beasts and for some reason that part where a giant Yeti makes you endlessly run around his home in circles whilst he makes some soup. You can't really ask for more. Whilst Skyward Sword also really struck a chord with me, the HD re-release of Twilight Princess on Wii U reminded me just how much I loved this game the first time around and it will take something pretty special to beat it…

P.S. - to clarify, I now love The Wind Waker just as much as the next person, so put your boomerangs and Master Swords down!

Ahead of Breath of the Wild's arrival, let us know which Zelda games are your favourites in the comments.