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Revisiting Ocarina of Time 25 Years After Its Release

Revisiting Ocarina of Time 25 Years After Its Release

I have a bad habit of coming back to the same things for years. It's evident as I just watch the same five shows and continue to come back to the same old games; this is why it wasn't shocking to me when my wife suggested we revisit one of my childhood favourites —The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

In addition to being obsessed with revisiting things that make me happy, I also tend to leave things halfway. So when I booted up the game and began walking through the surprisingly polygonic Kokiri Forest and into my first dungeon, I was pretty sure that this would be the first and last day I played the game. Although I love Ocarina of Time with all of my heart — and it was possibly my favourite game for many years as a kid — it would be naive of me to assume I could get through such an old title. Especially not when so many new games sit waiting for me to explore them!

I'm not going to lie to you: during the first few hours, my wife and I couldn't help but notice how bad the game was. Although it is my favourite area of the game, the Kokiri Forest and the first dungeon were much worse than I remembered, and it's not just because of the hideously lacking graphics. The Great Deku Tree's dialogue was quite hilarious to us — it felt forced, dated, and kind of silly, as opposed to how emotional it was to me as a kid. Additionally, some things, such as Mido — the bully elf who refuses to let you pass — and Link's awkward reaction to Saria giving him the ocarina, had us near fits of laughter. It was all so awkward and bad

The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time screenshot 1

But as I moved past these terrible beginning areas — carried mostly by nostalgia and my wife's jokes — the game suddenly began to pick up. Once I was actually free to explore the world, I stopped noticing the game's age and instead got lost in the adventure. I found myself looking for rocks to blow up, gathering the Skulltula tokens, and doing my darndest to collect as many heart pieces as I would come across. 

As I arrived at the Zora domain and spent about 40 minutes getting enough money to buy all the "magic" beans for my future self, I realised I was actually playing the game now — this was no longer a nostalgia trip. This set my wife and me into a conversation about what made the game so great — how, even after 25 years since its release back in 1998, Ocarina of Time felt like one of the best adventure games I had played in a while?

We surmised that it's due to the perfect balance between backtracking and progression and the phenomenal mix of genres. Every place in the game will have a reason for you to revisit it at least once more, and Nintendo did a great job at making it worth the trouble, as the puzzles and mysteries (why is there a cow inside a hole?) are amusing and rewarding. 

The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time screenshot 2

Additionally, despite the fact that the game is quite old now, the puzzles and secrets do a great job at remaining interesting: they're neither too hard nor too easy, and there is enough variety to feel incredibly abundant. Whether you're planting the seeds for your future self, exploring every hole under the rocks, or just trying to get all you can from the multiple shops in Castle Town, it feels like in Ocarina of Time, you're never at a loss for an adventure.

I'm really grateful that this nostalgia trip has revitalised my love for the title as an actual game, not just something I like coming back to every now and then as I age. I could've never imagined that I could enjoy this classic, with all its quirks and flaws, even more than I did as a kid. And if it's been a few years since you picked up the game — or you've never even had the chance to — I couldn't recommend it more that you give it a go; just remember that the first area is going to be a rough patch! 

Violet Plata

Violet Plata

Staff Writer

Liable to jump at her own shadow.

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