Wonderpod Online’s Top 50 Games: #2 is Ocarina of Time

SRD: For me, this game is the apex of the Legend of Zelda series. It defines the series, and honestly, they haven’t been able to top it since. Sure, they have introduced new elements into the Zelda mythos with each new game… but none of them have achieved what OoT did and still does. It IS The Legend of Zelda.

Nintendo Legend: At the time of writing, Nintendo recently announced the release date for Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword as being November 20, 2011. Despite that being over a decade after the release of Ocarina of Time, their own staff publicize Skyward Sword by being quoted as saying that the new title lays the “foundation” for the events that take place in Ocarina. Now, seriously, take a few moments to consider that: In order to place their upcoming game release in the most positive light possible, they prominently reference a different, much older game, two console generations behind; and, not only reference it, but practically defer to it, like the new game is just a set-up, a prequel, a set-the-grand-stage event for the true tale at hand.

The 64-bit days were a fun time to engage in gaming debates. Adherents of the Sony Playstation would laugh at Nintendo fanboys (and girls) and their inferior, obsolete cartridge-based games. They would point to their movie-quality sound and cutscene clips, their games so big they could be placed on multiple disks, their extensive libraries of envelope-pushing, technology-advancing, limits-stretching, genre-bending selections… but, when the smoke cleared, Nintendo fans could just keep their mouths shut and point at perhaps the one single gaming experience that best stands on its own as the title we all dreamed of as children, the true immersion of our human minds, the God-sent, time-traveling, Master Sword Epoch of a game – The
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Despite their extensive, passionate rhetoric, the Playstationers could only roll their eyes and throw up their hands, having to be content with another stalemate in the great debate. If the term “masterpiece” can ever be attributed to a video game, or perhaps “art,” or even “literature,” Ocarina of Time can be held up as Exhibit A. This is a game for which, when you came it goes beyond the visceral and impacts the spiritual, you are not engaging in hyperbole or exaggeration. From the initial innocent wonder of Kokiri Village, across the sun-splashed Hyrulian plains, over the realms of rock men and aquatic royalty, through death and shadow, and unto the outright most tense and creepy tread upstairs toward increasingly loud organ music, Ocarina is… beyond words. To say that you “play” it is to use an expression too crude, too human to describe the true encounter.

Gun Sage: Putting aside my “starvation = profit” story, OOT is considered by some to be the best Zelda game ever. I am one of those some. Sure, it’s not a technical marvel and it is fairly dated, looking back on it now, but then again, so was my #1 pick, so don’t knock it. What makes this game especially fun was there were so many new elements to it AND it had the transition to 3D…and it did it effortlessly. Think about how many games that couldn’t do that correctly such as Megaman, Sonic, and for a while, Contra. And they pulled it off in one try and in such a way that it became many a fanboys’ #1 for the series. That’s Zelda. LIKE A BOSS. Nevermind that there’s an interesting dual time story, lots of exploration possibilities, plenty of hidden stuff, great dungeon and level design (though Hyrule Field was very lacking), great atmosphere…I mean, it really is an incredible game.

Al Creed: If there was ever a game that pushed the limits of the Nintendo 64, it was Zelda. This, more than any other cart, was the masterpiece, the crown jewel of the system. It wasn’t just a game, it was an epic, and hands-down, one of the greatest achievements in entertainment during the 1990’s. Every single adventure game since, owes so much to Zelda, it’s downright astounding. Most critics consider it the GREATEST VIDEO GAME EVER MADE. Guinness lists it as the highest-rated video game of them all. I loved it. It was one of the big reasons why one needed to own a Nintendo 64.

G: I’m certainly a fan of the Zelda franchise, albeit have not played every single title out there. This one in particular is the last title in the series that I have played from start to finish. In fact, this was also the last title I spent a three day weekend binging on in order to complete it as the console and game were on loan to me by fellow university students. It was a reward for making it through my fourth and final semester.

As a result, I look at this title through a very biased and nostolgic lens. I don’t recall any significant problems with this title. It played solidly and the graphics at the time were fantastic. For the purposes of this project, I rewatched a number of scenes and battles and cannot argue that it may be the best Zelda title of all time… maybe.

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