well, let's talk about a classic of classics.
I frequently see younger people whose childhood was marked by Ocarina of Time, but lots of people doesn't know the revolutionary origins of this wonderful series, in 1986:
Shigeru Miyamoto's inspiration for Zelda is an interesting story... With The Legend of Zelda, Miyamoto wanted to take the idea of a game "world" even further, giving players a "miniature garden that they can put inside their drawer." He drew his inspiration from his experiences as a boy around Kyoto, where he explored nearby fields, woods, and caves, and through the Zelda titles he always tries to impart to players some of the sense of exploration and limitless wonder he felt. "When I was a child," he said, "I went hiking and found a lake. It was quite a surprise for me to stumble upon it. When I traveled around the country without a map, trying to find my way, stumbling on amazing things as I went, I realized how it felt to go on an adventure like this." The memory of being lost amid the maze of sliding doors in his family's home in Sonobe was recreated in Zelda's labyrinth dungeons.
And so, we have the fantastic ambientation, adventure feeling and open world the Zelda games have today!