It's cool to play the original Zelda if you never have, but it doesn't hold up as well as you might hope. It's hard, and man, that world is one difficult maze to navigate. The original game came with a map, and without that, you're going to have some difficulty, I'd say. I think Link's Awakening is phenomenal. It's one of my favorite Zelda games. I just bought Oracle of Seasons since it's only like $5. I have yet to play it, but I'm excited to start.
@truthtellah: I did think about those, but I tried to play Ages on my gbc not that long ago and found it... less then awesome. So they aren't my top picks.
Well, Ages and Seasons are pretty darn solid, and I'd recommend them over the original LoZ. Awakening is certainly the best of the lot, but if you've already played it, *shrug*.
Link's Awakening, duder. I played it when it came out for the 3DS and it holds up really well. The original Zelda is a classic and fantastic game, but I don't think it holds up nearly as well. I, like you played Link's Awakening as a kid, and I think that only made it more fun, because I got to remember how fucked up yet fun that game is. (Remember the trading "quest"?)
The Legend of Zelda (NES) is really hard to appreciate since basically any modern fans of Zelda define the series by Link to the Past/Ocarina of Time, which the original is almost nothing like. The original Zelda is more like Metroid, in that you can just wander anywhere, do dungeons/bosses in sort of any order, and also there is so much bullshit arbitrary hidden shit. So I hope you like using the candle on every bush until you find the like 2 bushes in the game that are actually burnable. By which I mean "I hope you like using a guide, because you're nuts if you have the patience for all the hidden shit in this game in 2013". Unless you're a six year old with no responsibilities and an entire summer to burn on NES Zelda.
I think Link's Awakening is a remarkably good game.
What about the Zelda: Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons games? They're great!
They're good, but not great. I remember there being some really tedious bits, particularly in ages.
Next to the original LoZ(that unfortunately doesn't hold up too well), I think they fair reasonably well. Together, I'd say they're a step or two below Awakening. As far as Zeldas to get on the 3DS, I think if someone has already played Awakening, the Oracles games are a nice buy.
Links Awaking is very good, I think it is, honestly the best Zelda game.
Better then OOC, TLoZ would be much shorter, and simpler, I havernt played it ever. But I doubt it would be the type of Zelda game you have come to know.
Dag hit the nail on the head. The original is good for nostalgia, but I loved Link's Awakening. It was my first foray in the franchise.