Zelda is definately not as popular with the younger generation due to the rise in FPS popularity and that Nintendo is seen as a kids or casual gamer company now, but I still think Zelda is a widely poplar series.
With the sales of past games and the fact that most legitimate reviews rarely give a Zelda game less than a 9/10 it's pretty much impossible for the franchise to be underrated. It's just less overrated than FPS games at the moment.
Nah, I definately don't think it's underrated. It has a considerably large fanbase, and gets all the credit it deserves among those fans, and even people who aren't fans of the series recigonize it as a very well-renowned series. It doesn't get as much attention as overrated FPS games like CoD, but it doesn't really need that much attention since it already has a ton of recigonition as a great series.
The thing with this is, you have to ask a certain age group. I mean, if I went up to any of my older siblings or parents, they would say, "Zelda? I love Ocarina of Time! I haven't played that game in a while," or something along those lines. But, I worn Zelda gear to school, and my peers ask, "What is Zelda?" The younger generation seems to be out of touch with good games like Zelda, Chrono Trigger, and Final Fantasy. They are used to FPS now, and don't take the time to explore all the awesome games that the gaming world has to offer. So, in short, Zelda is very underrated, but mostly by the younger generations.
I don't think the word you're looking for is underrated, more so less recognized, that applies especially with my generation. I don't think a series that's held to such a high standard could ever be underrated. Though if you were to ask somebody of my age if they knew what Zelda was, they probably would of at least heard the name before. At least, that's how it is with people I know.
I think MegaTallica nailed it. It's an age thing. Most people I've talked to on my college campus at least have heard of Zelda. Out of those, the majority of people have played at least one of the games. But a lot of people my age started playing when OoT was released. Since then, Nintendo has gained a much more kid-friendly reputation and thus 'uncool' in the eyes of kids. It's really not surprising that if someone doesn't even give Nintendo games a chance, they wouldn't know of their more popular games. There's also the non-gamers. Nintendo doesn't promote Zelda near as much as their more 'casual' games, so non-gamers just don't know about it. Recently, though, advertisement seems to be up, thanks to the 25th anniversary.
All-in-all, Zelda isn't underrated. It's more the reputation Nintendo received the past decade or so that has made Zelda a little bit more obscure to younger gamers.
Do I think Zelda is underrated? No. On the contrary, I think it's pretty overrated. With the rise of Ocarina of Time, everyone overrates many Zelda games a lot because they're related to OoT. In another's point of view, though, they beat up the game BECAUSE it's related to Ocarina of Time. But I mean, they say Ocarina of Time is "perfect". How is that "underrating"? Of course, due to the popularity of more mature oriented games, it may seem that way, but the Legend of Zelda franchise is far from underrated.
Yeah,Zelda underrated,because(At least for people of my generation around me) they all focus of FPS like COD,they like the HD graphics and we all know Nintendo about graphic,when they look at a game like Zelda they first look at the graphic before even play(cough,cough...Wind Waker...)they're like: WTF are these horrible childish,SD graphics it sucks.And some people(alot) wron't play awesome game like Wind Waker,Ocarina of time,Majora Mask etc. simple because the consoles are outdated,all they want is HD graphics even if the game is crap. And Zelda is underrated because of the actual reputation of Nintendo,alot of people hate the Wii because of the SD graphics,Space limitation,''Childish'' console,''cheep'' online and ''childish games,so they think Zelda sucks.
I think mario just overtook it easily while in my opinion I enjoy the zelda series more. Although I do agree with vibed and most people (mostly younger people) don't recognize it. If i asked someone in my grade. "Hey, you hear about zelda?" They'd say No. Maybe one or two of them heard about it from smash bros. And maybe saw his older brother playing it. If i said "Hey, hear about mario?" Almost everyone would say yes....