Nintendo’s ‘Ocarina’ stands test of time

“The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” was released for the Nintendo 64 in 1998. Link, the game’s protagonist, is featured riding on his horse, Epona.Esteban Diaz | Editorial Cartoonist
“The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” was released for the Nintendo 64 in 1998. Link, the game’s protagonist, is featured riding on his horse, Epona.Esteban Diaz | Editorial Cartoonist

“Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” Trivia

Pretty much any notable Nintendo game of the 1980s or ‘90s carries the mark of Shigeru Miyomoto, including “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.”
Most gamers are probably already aware of his role as a one of the creators of the “Legend of Zelda” series, but what few people know is that “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” was originally developed using the same game engine as “Super Mario 64,” a remarkably different game also directed by Miyamoto.
Don’t go back to “Ocarina of Time” expecting a “Mario”-like experience, however, because developers “had to make so many modifications to it that it’s a different engine now,” Miyamoto said in a Nintendo Power interview posted on

By Tyler Alley
Sports Editor

A legendary sword, a noble steed, deadly monsters, a princess in danger and one big bad tyrant controlling the land — these aspects can be found in multiple storylines and games. I doubt, however, that many stories also contain a magical musical instrument needed to save the world.

Then again, not many stories or games even come close to “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” for the Nintendo 64.

The “Legend of Zelda” franchise was not new to video game fans in 1998 when “Ocarina of Time” was released, but this “Legend of Zelda” game was the first to have 3D graphics.

“Ocarina of Time” features a mixture of action, puzzles, combat, exploration and questing. One minute you could be fighting off walking lizards with armor and swords, and the next minute you will be moving blocks to get to the next room in the dungeon.

As always, players control Link, the iconic protagonist of the “Legend of Zelda” series. You play part of the game as the young boy Link and then play rest of the game as an adult Link. The ability to play as both versions of Link added a whole new element to the “Legend of Zelda” series.

Adult Link could do things young Link could not, such as wield both the Hylian shield and the Master Sword. Young link could also perform tasks adult Link could not, such as fit into tiny crawl spaces. These differences were referenced and expanded upon in later games, most notably “Super Smash Brothers: Melee” for the Nintendo GameCube.

Another huge element of the game was music. Learning different songs on the ocarina is required throughout “Ocarina of Time” so that the player can accomplish different things during gameplay.

Throughout the game, Link learns 12 melodies that allow him to solve music-based puzzles and to teleport. I remember reading later that this game generated an increase in sales of ocarinas.

When I was younger, I must have played through this game three times trying to do things I could not accomplish the first time. I loved venturing through the different temples and dungeons. I got excited every time I found a new item. I remember going on side quests to obtain the Biggoron Sword and the ability to ride the horse, Epona, as well as finding as many heart pieces as I could.

“Ocarina of Time” is the greatest video game ever. Don’t believe me? The game has won multiple prizes, sold 7.6 million copies worldwide and in 2008, 10 years after its release, the Guinness World Records declared it the highest-rated game ever reviewed.

The game’s popularity has been so high over the years, it has been re-released for the Nintendo GameCube, the Wii, and the 3DS. It is also the most downloaded Nintendo 64 ROM on .

When I think of “Legend of Zelda” games or the character Link, this game comes to mind first. Though many “Legend of Zelda” games follow a similar format, I have never enjoyed a single-player game as much as I enjoyed “Ocarina of Time.”

For me, no game comes close in story, gameplay and even the sound and graphics for its time. The famous sound made when a new item is found can still get stuck in gamers’ heads years later, including my own.

This is part of our running series on “Great Video Games.” Games from any time period are selected on a weekly basis by differing authors each week. If you are interested in writing a “Great Video Game” piece for the Lariat, please email us at