3 Articles - 3 Days: A Legend 10 Years In The Making
Can Ocarina of Time be Topped?
Written by: The King of Hyrule
PLEASE NOTE: Much of this article represents a lot of my own opinion and feelings. Please keep in mind it is meant to entertain, not to predict the future.
It has long been established that Ocarina of Time is one of the greatest games in the world, and many consider it to be the best of the best. Ocarina of Time currently holds the record as being the longest top-ranked game, and on many other occasions the gaming world has voted Ocarina of Time as the greatest game of all time. Even now, ten years after its released, it still stands as such.
A large question in the mind of every Zelda fan has always been whether or not Ocarina of Time can be topped. Then years have passed and only once has Ocarina of Time’s status been challenged (by Super Mario Galaxy according to GameRankings.com). Has Ocarina of Time’s top position been solidified now that ten years has passed? My answer: yes.
In fact, in my mind, time has nothing to do with it. Ocarina of Time’s top seat was finalized that day it hit shelves. Why? The answer is simple: because Ocarina of Time was the first of its kind, but also the last to be first. In other words, Ocarina of Time was the last game that would be “first” at anything. Although the fact that it was the first of its kind certainly played a HUGE part in its success, what solidified its position as the greatest game ever was the fact that, after Ocarina of Time, in a sense, games ran out of original ideas. Ocarina of Time so well encapsulated so many new and fresh ideas and concepts that almost every game after that had no choice but to only build upon what Ocarina of Time had already done. There was simply nothing left to do in a game that hadn’t already been done in Ocarina of Time.
That is not to say that games following Ocarina of Time aren’t original, because games use new things everyday. It’s the fact that almost all of these “new” ideas can be traced back to Ocarina of Time. Take Z-targeting for example. Ocarina of Time was one of the first games to feature an enemy targeting system, and Ocarina of Time did it perfectly (I think Sin & Punishment was the first game with a targeting system, but don’t quote me on that). All games nowadays that feature any sort of targeting mechanism or accuracy marker (crosshairs) have their roots in Ocarina of Time. Ocarina of Time’s annoying fairy Navi provides Link with rotating arrows around an enemy, exhibited an early form of crosshairs, which can be seen in tons of games today. Another example is transportation. In Ocarina of Time’s largest area, Hyrule Field, day changes to night rather quickly, and if you couldn’t make it across the field in time, you could not enter areas like Hyrule Castle. Enter Epona: Nintendo’s compensation for the fast-passing time in Hyrule Field. The horse raced Link across Hyrule Field much faster than running did. Epona was the first form of a transportation device used across large areas, which can now be seen in most every game today. Two that come to mind are Pokémon, which featured a bike, and Halo, which featured multiple vehicles like the Warthog and the Ghost. Transportation items are provided in games such as these to move the player from one area to another in the quickest way possible. Epona was the original form of this concept, and the credit goes to Ocarina of Time because of it. It can now be seen in tons of games following Ocarina of Time, including those on other platforms, proving once again that almost all game concepts can be seen in Ocarina of Time, and were perfected or even created by it.
Another widespread example is the Free-Roaming overworld (no pun intended). Ocarina of Time was the first stateside game to allow the player to go anywhere in the game whenever they wanted to. Ocarina of Time became the definition of what a Free-Roaming overworld was supposed to be. Numerous games today also make use of the Free-Roaming overworld introduced by Ocarina of Time, but it is one of those features that really depends on the type of game being created. However, in those games that do, the model is clearly related to what was done in Ocarina of Time. The final example I will use of how almost all aspects of video games today can be related back to Ocarina of Time is the storyline. There is no question that, at its release, Ocarina of Time had the largest and greatest storyline around. In many people’s opinion it has not been beat, but many games have definitely tried. Ocarina of Time is proof that a game’s storyline must be a perfect balance of length and mystery, and Ocarina of Time achieved that perfect balance. Ocarina of Time is not only now the model of balance that game developers strive for, but also laid out plain and simple all of the base elements that are required in a storyline to make it good. Because of this and the amazing level of implementation that the storyline reaches, there is not a single part of any storyline today that cannot be related back to what was done in Ocarina of Time.
Those are just a few of the many examples of game elements that can be traced back to Ocarina of Time. So how do those things make Ocarina of Time unsurpassable? In short, because almost every other game is in some way a derivative of Ocarina of Time’s styles and techniques, no can possibly be, on the surface, better than Ocarina of Time. Each game that hits stores these days has better graphics, better controls, and runs more smoothly, to say the least, compared to its predecessors. But good graphics, good controls, and how smoothly the game flows aren’t what makes a game. Yes, it does help the game succeed, but it is not what a game is designed around. A game is designed around its things that you don’t physically see; things like the storyline, the difficulty, the human relation, etc. A game could run flawlessly, have perfect graphics, and have the most comfortable controls known to man, but still end up being a terrible game.
The bottom line: creativity in all aspects is what makes a game. Ocarina of Time is the epitome of the creative mind, and it is clearly shown by its number one, unsurpassable status.
Ocarina of Time’s success can be seen all over the place, but is it still receiving the same praise today as it was ten years ago?