It’s hard to imagine that The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is 25 years old. But, it is, and I’m sure some of you remember the game’s release like it was yesterday, whether you wish to admit your age or not.
In that time, some of us graduated high school, went to college, graduated college, acquired our first car, moved multiple times, broke up with quite a few people, started a career, bought a home, got married, had children, went through a divorce, became grandparents, retired, lost a parent, and experienced many other life events.
Major world events have happened since the game was released. 1998 ushered in the age of Google, and in the years that followed, the International Space Station opened, Facebook was founded, the iPhone took the cellular world by storm, we got a close-up look at Pluto. Various other amazing, terrible, and foolish things have also happened all over the world since Ocarina of Time first graced the N64.
Yeah, 25 years is quite a big deal: that’s a quarter of a lifetime.
For some of us, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is one of the best Zelda games of all time – if not THE best. It was the first game in the series’ to transition from 2D to 3D graphics, wowing us in the process. The open-world design was larger than previous Zelda games and allowed us to explore it at our own pace. There were always new secrets to uncover, plenty of challenges, and many different areas to discover. Remember the first time you went to the Forest Temple? Or the Spirit Temple? What about the Water Temple? That last area could be rather challenging, but it was still amazing.
Now, just because Ocarina of Time is considered one of the best Zelda games ever made doesn’t mean there was anything wrong with The Legend of Zelda, The Adventure of Link, or the rather awesome A Link to the Past. On the contrary, all are great console games, but there is something special about Ocarina of Time: it makes many a fan’s heart swell, and they can become misty-eyed when recalling their first playthrough – or multiple playthroughs.
I’m a member of the latter faction. I can’t tell you how many times I played the game. How, when I first started playing it, I became so frustrated at times that I called the Nintendo Tip Line (a 900 number), racking up quite a phone bill in the process (sorry, Mom). How, at the end of the game, I could not for the life of me defeat Ganondork – I mean, Ganon. It finally happened once I figured it out, but it took me a few tries for some reason. I couldn’t ask for help either because, by that time, I was banned from calling the Nintendo Tip Line (again, sorry, Mom).
It’s my favorite Zelda game, next to Wind Waker. Between the puzzles, the interesting NPCs, the fun with chickens, the lovely score, riding Epona, traveling through time, the awesome dungeons, the compelling story, and playing songs on your ocarina, there’s just so much to love. Speaking of music, the soundtrack is just epic. It’s beautiful, iconic, and has some of the most memorable compositions in any video game produced.
It had everything, really, and it also introduced us to one of the most polarizing characters ever to appear in a video game: the fairy Navi (Hey, listen!). You either loved her or hated her, but you can’t deny she was helpful despite the annoyance.
The game wasn’t just a hit with players, as it also inspired many game developers with its target-lock system, context-sensitive buttons, and an open world that made it feel truly alive.
It wasn’t just a hit with players and developers either: critics loved it, making it the highest-rated game of all time on Metacritic. Ocarina of Time also earned a spot on many ‘best games of all time’ lists – and does still to this day.
It’s no wonder then that, since its release, Ocarina of Time has been re-released on all of Nintendo’s home consoles. An enhanced version was even released for Nintendo 3DS. Currently, you can play it on Switch with a Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack subscription, if you don’t have access to an N64 or other Nintendo console.
It would be lovely if Nintendo remastered Ocarina of Time for Switch, but only if they did nothing major to it. If the company can do it for 3DS, surely it can be done for Switch. Everyone needs to play this game at least once, and there is a new generation out there that only knows Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom. It’s a disservice to them not to be able to play one of the best Zelda games ever created in full HD glory.
Hopefully, someday Nintendo will do us a favor and remaster the game. We deserve it, and a new generation of players deserve it. But most of all, the game deserves it.