why do people think Ocarina of time is that good

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GamerCat108

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in my personal opinion (and as a zelda veteran) i have played every zelda game and couldn't figure out what the hype for ocarina of time is. the game was too easy and just wasnt that good

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Sombre

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Because when it came out in '98, and we were all children, it was the most mind blowing game on the planet, cause it changed everything about action adventure games

You had to be there

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mellotronrules

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z targeting, chief.

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Casepb

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It's not just "that good" it's the best ever.

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ghost_cat

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It gave a deeper meaning behind the N64's z-trigger than God.

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Zeik

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It was a fun game and still is. I don't know if it quite deserves to be considered the quintessential Zelda game at this point, but it's still one of the best.

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Rahf

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@zeik: In an episode of Doctor Who, Ocarina of Time would be a fixed point in time.

In a Stephen King novel, Ocarina of Time would be the ur-thing that binds everything together.

In anything inspired by H.P. Lovecraft, Ocarina of Time would have tentacles for a face and be called an Old--something.

It is not that the game itself is the best right now. But it was an absolute revelation during a time when we were transitioning into new visual styles, gameplay styles, and ways of production. It was creativity abound. Something new from few things people could have imagined before it.

Now? A piece of nostalgia.

Then? One of the most talked-about adventures for anyone that played video games.

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Ginormous76

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@gamercat108: Like others have said, you basically had to be there. It's like how Citizen Kane is considered the greatest movie of all-time by film "experts," but it's schtick has been done a bajillion times since then making watching it now less meaningful.

Take whatever game/movie/album you think is the best of all-time today. Think about how stupid you were 10 years ago. Ten years from now, you will view your current self at least as stupid as you currently view yourself from 10 years ago. And that is why you shouldn't get a tattoo.

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GreekTrojan

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Just like Mario 64, the ability to have a fully fleshed out, 3d world to explore was quite mindblowing at the time. Nintendo showed a much greater understanding of moving/exploring/controlling in a 3d world than virtually anyone else at the time (which is why they hold up much better than most games of the era). The switch from 2d to 3d gaming was revelatory for the people in that era. I still think its one of the better Zelda games as it is.

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Zeik

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@rahf: Yes, there is all that, but I'm talking about the game today. It's still a good game that I still enjoy playing even relative to other more modern games, but if you remove it from its place as a revelatory piece of video game history it's not going to hold up to claims of it being the greatest game of all time.

There are plenty of defining games from the history of video games that don't hold up at all now outside of nostalgia and I don't think Ocarina of Time is one of them. I can still recommend it to people just looking for a fun game to play. I just won't go around telling them it's going to be the best gaming experience they've ever had.

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Rejizzle

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#11  Edited By Rejizzle

Yeah, I never owned an N64, so I came to Ocarina of Time after I had already played Wind Waker. Because I didn't play it when it was new and wasn't able to appreciate the level of innovation it brought I consider it my least favourite Zelda game.

That being said, I like some things about it. The Hyrule Field hub has some cool moments: I like the Skeleton wolves that appear at night, and there's that helicopter flower thing that's pretty neat. I also like the characters and how the time skip affects the world. These things were probably more impressive in 98 than when I got around to it ('04 or '05 I think).

I think a lot of games from that time period hold up really well, but Ocarina of Time isn't one of them.

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MezZa

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Time and place kind of thing. Great experience back in the day and still memorable for those who were there, but it's not going to stand as the best if you're evaluating it with a fresh modern perspective of where the industry is right now.

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wollywoo

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#13  Edited By wollywoo

This is still my favorite Zelda. Of course I'm blinded by nostalgia here, so my opinion might be different if I was new to the series. But let me make the case...

- It has some of the best music in the series. The Hyrule Field theme sets the mood perfectly for adventure. Gerudo Valley makes you feel the wildness of the desert. The menu opening music while Link rides across the field is beautiful but strangely somber, even sad - a feeling so rare in video games at the time.

- Its dungeons are the most strange and atmospheric of any Zelda. The Forest Temple is so eerie with its twisting hallways and ambient music. The Shadow Temple / Bottom of the Well is probably the scariest seeming place in any Zelda. The Spirit Temple has the feeling of something ancient and important.

- The story, simple as it is compared to modern games, is one of my favorites. It has some very memorable characters like Saria, Malon, Darunia, Nabooru, Ruto, Sheik/Zelda. The transition from young Link's Hyrule to adult Link's Hyrule is poignant and unsettling.

- And of course, it was a first, in a lot of ways. When you stepped out into Hyrule Field for the first time in 1998, it was like no other game you could experience at the time - and the feeling you got when you first got to ride Epona across the landscape was total exhilaration and freedom - especially as a kid, when you don't have much freedom to speak of. Of course, it pales in comparison to modern open worlds in terms of size and scope. But at the time... whew boy. To me, it still looks and sounds great (although I would not complain about an HD remaster.)

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csl316

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I refused to play it at the time because I backed Metal Gear Solid in '98, and still haven't because it looks old and clunky now.

All I remember is that at the time, it seemed the very opposite of old and clunky.

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Rahf

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@zeik: Talking about the game today is an unfair comparison and a mistake. It is 'the best' at a certain point in time, as are all games.

I would not recommend it as a first to anyone. But I would recommend it if someone wants to find peak moments in video gaming history.

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Zeik

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@rahf: Why is it "unfair"? There are countless people who didn't play it when it came out and can only experience as it is today. Do you expect them to somehow transport themselves back in time and experience it as it was back then? Because that's just not going to happen.

While it is worth considering the time and place a game first came out from an academic point of view, that's not reality right now. You can't view games purely from a historical point of view. It is just as important to consider where a game stands in the current time and place, as video games are first and foremost a means of entertainment.

You can say "OoT is my favorite Zelda game of all time" or "OoT was considered the best game of all time when it was released" while looking at it purely from a historical point of view, but if you're going to just straight out call it the "best game of all time" or "the definitive Zelda experience" you absolutely do have to factor in the present. Otherwise that's just a lie.

I still consider OoT a good game now, in the present, compared to other games in the present. I'm just not going to tell someone it's the absolute best. Because that's not true.

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Shindig

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It's a step they had to take to get there. Much like Mario 64, Metal Gear Solid, Metroid Prime and so on. To be honest, 2D to 3D is the kind of sea change we (probably) won't see in gaming again.

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Rebel_Scum

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#19  Edited By Rebel_Scum

Never played it until it came to the 3DS. First playthrough I thought it was alright, 2nd playthrough, better than alright.

Majoras Mask is better though :D

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Rejizzle

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@rahf said:

@zeik: Talking about the game today is an unfair comparison and a mistake. It is 'the best' at a certain point in time, as are all games.

I don't necessarily think this is the case. Link to the Past is probably my favourite Zelda game still. I can, and have, heartily recommended other games from the late '90s without any caveats. Ocarina of Time just happens to not be one of those games.

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JoeDangerous

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I don't like OoT but I can still appreciate it. Game feels like an ADVENTURE! It also has a nice, warm overall tone that a lot of other Zelda's trade in for darker moods or a more unique art style as the main attraction.

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devise22

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@zeik: I think one thing to note though when someone considers something the best they aren't just considering it's place at the time, but it's impact. I agree with some of the points you make, and I would be hard pressed myself to argue OoT is the best game of all time, it isn't really unfair to argue the case that it, or even other older games that have stood the test of time/were revolutionary are in the conversation as best of all time for someone.

It isn't just about meaningful personal impact, nostalgia or the time and place factor although obviously those do create biases. It's about how/what some of those time and place games do and mean for the rest of gaming history.

The fact that, even as you say, aspects of OoT hold up now/are fun is a testament to how it has shaped games. In that regard, structurally and mechanically it was an originator. So despite the fact that a more modern game, or even a more modern Zelda game can take those blueprints or that DNA and do something "better" with it, it does not take away the originality that OoT or any other game that is known for standardizing or making staples out of original concepts. I very much feel the same way about most modern action games post RE4. It's pacing and direction was revolutionary and even as the years have gone on have become one of it's defining things to how it holds up.

Ultimately, to some, they will weigh in on their analysis of what is considered best of all time with markers such as this. Markers that either showed they knew where the industry was going and were ahead of the curve, or full on original ideas that became staples and were a heavy influence for generations of games to come. In that regard I would buy an argument for OoT being up in the conversation, even if I don't know if I'd put it there myself.

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GamerCat108

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GamerCat108

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i have played theese games on the original consoles and im only 15

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GamerCat108

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im not trying to dis Ocarina of time. sure it was fun and interesting but it was short and didnt live up to all the hype

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BigBoss1911

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Up until I played Ocarina on the 3ds a few years ago, I never had played a Zelda game. If I ever get a chance to play it again on a big screen it could possibly land in my top 10. Everything from the soundtrack to the characters and depth of the worlds you explore is just so well done and charismatic I don't know how you can't not love it.

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Ben_H

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I actually thought about this as I was playing through this game again recently. It's one of those games I play through once a year or so.

I do think it has not aged as well as I used to think it had. I realized that most of what I enjoy out of it comes from the fact that I know where everything is and know how to deal with all of the rough spots (water temple, etc.) which makes it a smooth game to play through. Without this knowledge, I could see it being a lot more frustrating because of how it hints at what to do next, and because of some of the rather outdated mechanics and level designs. Modern games tend to much more explicitly tell you what to do, so I could see someone used to only playing modern games going into Ocarina of Time cold not enjoying it.

That said, though, it's still a lot of fun to play and I enjoy replaying it a lot.

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BaneFireLord

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Up until I played Ocarina on the 3ds a few years ago, I never had played a Zelda game. If I ever get a chance to play it again on a big screen it could possibly land in my top 10. Everything from the soundtrack to the characters and depth of the worlds you explore is just so well done and charismatic I don't know how you can't not love it.

Largely agree with this. There's so much imagination, craft, and charm packed in there that I found it pretty irresistible, even though I played it as an adult with no nostalgic ties to the franchise. Sure, it's no Wind Waker, but what is, really?

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secretfan83

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I had OoT when it released and liked it but didnt love it, and dropped it before finishing it. I enjoyed LttP much more and didnt enjoy the switch to 3D for this series at the time. It took until BotW for me to really love a 3D zelda.

For comparison, Mario 64 blew me away, even thought I prefer mario 3 and super mario overall, mario64 was still a very cool experience.

Is this something about the gameplay of these games transitioning from 2D to 3D, i liked how it worked for mario but not zelda? Or maybe because I liked LttP so much, it was hard to get into something so different? Hard to say!

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BisonHero

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@ben_h said:

I actually thought about this as I was playing through this game again recently. It's one of those games I play through once a year or so.

I do think it has not aged as well as I used to think it had. I realized that most of what I enjoy out of it comes from the fact that I know where everything is and know how to deal with all of the rough spots (water temple, etc.) which makes it a smooth game to play through. Without this knowledge, I could see it being a lot more frustrating because of how it hints at what to do next, and because of some of the rather outdated mechanics and level designs. Modern games tend to much more explicitly tell you what to do, so I could see someone used to only playing modern games going into Ocarina of Time cold not enjoying it.

That said, though, it's still a lot of fun to play and I enjoy replaying it a lot.

Yeah, I think "already knowing where everything is" from either word of mouth or player's guides or just putting in dozens of hours as a kid goes a long way.

Even setting aside the outdated game design, honestly there are parts of Ocarina of Time that were clunkily implemented even in the year they came out. Just random shit they put in the game, then never explained except maybe if you read every single Gossip Stone using the Gossip Stone mask. Off the top of my head:

  • There's a small number of Golden Skulltula that you can't see, and can only hear if you're standing near one of those small golden brown dirt patches you can plant seeds in (at night). The Golden Skulltulla pops out of the dirt if you empty out a bottle of bugs on the dirt patch. I can't for the life of me remember if some specific NPC or Gossip Stone explains this purpose of bugs, but I remember at least my first or second playthrough I wasn't aware. Also it's this entire mechanic for like, 8 golden skulltula. It makes you really appreciate how intuitive all the Korok seeds discovery mechanics are in BotW.
  • That scarecrow at Lake Hylia you can talk to, and play a song for him of your own design, and then that's a song that summons him. Except oh wait, there's like 6 specific spots in the whole game you can summon him, and the game doesn't indicate this at all except that Navi random hovers up to some vaguely inaccessible area and she turns green (note: Navi random turns green to highlight an object/area for a zillion sometimes ambiguous reasons). You're meant to miraculously surmise that NOW is the time this useless song will actually summon the scarecrow, probably hours after you've forgotten that's even a song. Then even if you summon the scarecrow, his purpose isn't immediately clear, though it's somewhat intuitive that you could hookshot his body to get to where he is.
  • Some of the hidden random holes in the game are just absurdly unlikely to find unless you have a player's guide or bought the battery draining Rumble Pack. Like I remember there is one hole deep into the Hyrule Castle grounds (contains a golden skulltulla I believe), which only opens if you randomly play the Song of Storms near a tree. You only legitimately have a reason to visit the castle like twice, and you don't get the Song of Storms until like HOURS past Zelda flees the castle and you have no reason to revisit that area. This is more of a loosey goosey point, but basically some of those hidden holes/caves are absurdly unfindable, though thankfully most of them are just 20 rupees and don't need to be found.

These don't detract from the overall legacy/importance of the game, but even at time of release, I just want to point out that the game had clumsy parts to it. There is some weird shit in that game that just could've been cut; they were such minor mechanics and I bet like <10% of players interacted with them.

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wollywoo

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@bisonhero Funny, I would list those as the kind of neat details that make OoT great. None of those are game-breaking in any way - you don't depend on those to beat the game. If you did, yeah, that would suck. But as it is, they are just neat bonus things that you might not notice - and when you do notice, they seem pretty special. OK, sure, you need them to get every Gold Skultulla, but I never personally had *any* desire to do that as I'm not a completionist, so that doesn't bother me personally (although I could see how it might bother someone else.) I mean, wouldn't it be neat if we found some (intentionally hidden) secret twenty years after release that *no one* had noticed?

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devise22

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@wollywoo: Yeah I was going to say. Have we gotten so used to being hand held in video games that learning a game while you play it is now considered outdated game design?

I'm not going to say I think every aspect of OoT holds up, but in general anyone saying that coming to it now for the first time they have a hard time sussing out what to do, where to go, or how some of it's systems operates is kinda like...yeah of course. Do you think anyone who played it for the first time all those years ago, without a strategy guide, had any clue either? It's why the Water Temple was frustrating the first time through for many users.

But as a kid I recall that was kind of like, the point? You know the first big huge open world adventure set with this kind of pacing and story where you could just stumble around the world and try to learn how everything works. That was part of the appeal. So for people to say "you have to stumble around to figure out what is going on and understand the world" is like, crazy to me to think that's a negative. I distinctly remember after being wowed trying to find all the secrets and hooks that the game had when it released all those years ago being even more amazed when someone finally showed me a guide and there was a couple things I didn't know about already, explained to me or shown to me. That was the appeal of games back then. You didn't get quest markers and a huge GPS with a world map. It was meant to be an adventure game, where you go out on the adventure and suss it out.

Anyway, it's interesting that people find that aspect of it to be outdated. It really does say a lot about games nowadays, and how gameified things have become honestly. Like, one of the things that while intriguing I found to be lacking in Breath of the Wild was how it structures a lot of it's side puzzles. You find these little small puzzle rooms and solve something to get a reward. It is so damn modern day video game. None of it is tied to any story, it's divorced from the world even in such a way that it's just meant to be the most gamey ass excuse to give you a litany of puzzle rooms. It's weird because I love the puzzle rooms, they are a joy to play even in that game. But divorced from the narrative and the adventure it loses so much of the mystery. That was something a lot of the world puzzles and non dungeon stuff in OoT excelled at. You would go and interact with things and figure out how something worked and find a secret and it wasn't always the same reward either, or straight forward. I get it, from a modern design perspective it required work with very little idea of what you were getting.

But I think it says something about the time the game was released in. Games were so concerned with not trying to waste your time because the idea that you could spend time in the game to figure out all the details, especially in an open world like this, was pretty novel at the time. Not like now where games constantly waste your time that any ease of access to make things streamlined is considered welcome. It's really an odd aspect to this conversation that I find unique, and I do wonder if anyone who never played OoT or for that matter other similar games at the time they were released will really be able to grasp it. Because you can't go back to the point at which the industry was to not only understand impact and place, but just what was and wasn't considered strengths and weaknesses has evidently changed over time too. It's fascinating.