A World Without the Ocarina of Time

By Sofi
October 17, 2018

Ocarina of Time was the 5th installment in The Legend of Zelda series and, of course, the first 3D Zelda. Instead of directing Link from a top-down (or front-view) through a two-dimensional world, we had the ability to look around in all directions and truly feel like you are inside of this fictional world. Whether or not this game takes a place in your top favorite games, it’s inarguably the best or one of the best received games in the series (and in video games). In a recent video that can be seen down below, YouTuber Dr.Wily poses the question, what would happen if Ocarina of Time had never existed?

First, it’s important to note that Ocarina of Time was the first video game to score a perfect 40/40 in the Famitsu magazine – a feat that only 23 games total have achieved since then. Ocarina of Time could justly be called the most vital game in actual Zelda lore due to its accepted placement in the timeline. Ocarina of Time causes the 3-way timeline split, and is therefore a pivotal point for everything that comes before and after. If you removed just this game, the timeline would be completely restructured. Dr.Wily poses that it is possible we wouldn’t see time traveling as a common aspect of the Zelda series at all, had we not been introduced to it in Ocarina of Time.

Ganondorf had his first appearance in Ocarina of Time, and has since then appeared in several games and is said to have a connection to the original evil, Demise. We would only know Beast Ganon as a villain, or perhaps we would have multiple varied bosses in every game, like Vaati or Majora. Ganondorf was the first boss to function as a true being with intentions and a human-like background – despite being filled with evil, he was a child once, and he had thought-out motivations that led him to his choices, unlike Beast Ganon.

Of course, Ocarina of Time also established the use of playing a song as part of your quest in the series. Yes, previous to Ocarina of Time, the story of Link’s Awakening had much involvement with music and did involve Link playing instruments. However, in Link’s Awakening we were not yet given the freedom as the player to control the music that we played, as we could once we had the Ocarina given to Link by Princess Zelda. This instrument gave us the freedom to learn and create music for the first time, assigning songs to people and locations, or just making up your own tunes. Subsequent games have carried on the use of instruments much like the ocarina, sometimes with less freedom, but still depending on you to play the right notes in order to open your next path.

Dungeon mechanics and structure were established in Ocarina of Time and continued as the dungeon formula of future Zelda games. For example, giving bosses an eyeball, or weak point that you had to expose, or having a key dungeon item that you needed to find to move forward and to defeat the dungeon boss.

There’s been endless games that one could argue have been influenced by Ocarina of Time, in many aspects. Dark Souls, Okami, Shadow of the Colossus, World of Warcraft, and the list goes on. However, z-targeting, of all the gaming mechanics inspired by Ocarina of Time, continues to be seen in the biggest games even today.The enemy fight structure that involved z-targeting that Ocarina of Time introduced was revolutionary, not just in Nintendo games. It’s possible that if it hadn’t appeared in Ocarina of Time the way that it did, enemy-fighting in games could have ended up being very different, perhaps using a different system.

Whether or not you’re a fan of Navi, we can agree that companions in the Zelda series have also added great depth to the series and are helpful more often than not. Previous to Ocarina of Time, there were no “companion” characters, therefore the game felt perhaps a little more quiet and possibly confusing.

One aspect that the video did not point out is that without Ocarina of Time, there would have been no Majora’s Mask either. Several games can be called Ocarina of Time “sequels” but none are as direct as Majora’s Mask. The events of Ocarina of Time are essential to Majora’s Mask, as you play the exact same child Link who went through it all. Not to mention the characters were “re-used” from Ocarina of Time, so Majora’s Mask never could have been anything close to the game we see today without that basis.

To imagine a world without Ocarina of Time, I believe, is to also imagine it without Majora’s Mask. When I imagine this world without both of these games, I start to feel a deep and dark sadness…. Personally, I do truly believe I would be a different person without these two iconic games. I most likely would not have become interested in gaming, and I would not be so deeply interested in the lore and story of the Legend of Zelda, as this was my first Zelda game and my first game to get truly invested in. I know perhaps many of you feel this way, and maybe it’s better not to imagine that world at all. We can be thankful that we had the opportunity to grow up alongside Link and discover the world of Hyrule.

What direction do you think would have been taken in the Zelda series if Ocarina of Time had never been created? Can you rethink this process with a different game and perhaps come up with even greater impacts? Comment below and let us know what you think!

You can watch the video below or click here to watch it on YouTube.