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
@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.
@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.
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.
@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.
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.
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.)
@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.
@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.
@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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