I really like the first NES Zelda, but I can't help but think that it's sort of a failure in terms of its design.
You take a game like Super Mario Bros. and it has held up amazingly well in terms of design. Anyone with any skill set can sit down, start up Level 1-1 and learn the basics in five minutes or less, with the implication that they'll improve their skill set over time. It's simple.
I know Zelda is its own thing and a totally different genre, but in replaying it I can't help but think that this ideology of a game where swapping secrets with your friends just guarantees that your game will feel dated not only in terms of visual/audio presentation but in gameplay as well.
There is so much obscure, cryptic stuff in this game that it's a frustration in of itself just to figure out what step one really is. I know that's the point, but all these years later down the road that directionlessness just seems sort of boggling. I know the American manual had a map (albiet a very poor one) and the game isn't that hard to figure out after a lot of tinkering, but the fact that someone can't really get full enjoyment out of the game without looking stuff up or posting on a forum kind of disappoints me.
I'm not ragging on the gameplay or anything like that, I'm having a blast, but the idea of not having these resources and having to load up the same screen every time just to burn individual bushes makes me realize that maybe at its core philosophy, the original NES Zelda (and Zelda II to an extent) is not very fun.