If you’re wondering why I chose to go for a list of 17 rather than the much more common 10, 15, or 20, it’s because the 17th anniversary for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is about 2 weeks away (November 21st).
Also, because Ocarina of Time is my absolute favorite game of all time (regardless of what the future has in store), narrowing this list down to 10 or 15 was just humanly impossible for me (20 was a bit much, though).
Speaking of a bit much, those last two paragraphs had a lot of parentheticals (can’t help it though, it’s how I talk).
I digress (*insert more digression*). On to the list!
1. Ocarina of Time and Super Mario 64
Both of these hugely popular N64 titles are practically cousins. Even though Ocarina of Time was released a whole 2 years after Super Mario 64, both were under development at the exact same time. Both were also directed and produced by Shigeru Miyamoto and developed by Nintendo’s EAD Division.
The similarities don’t end there though. Being as they were created at the same time, the teams behind each respective title added multiple Easter Eggs and nods to one another in their games:
Lastly, Epona (Link’s trusty, chestnut-brown steed) was originally planned to appear in Super Mario 64 as Mario’s method of transportation throughout his open world. Obviously, Epona never made it into the final version of SM64, but Miyamoto was intent on making sure that Epona came to ‘life’ in some form or another, and made sure she was added into OoT as Link’s horse.
BONUS: Both Ocarina of Time and Super Mario 64 serve big innovative milestones for their respective series’. Prior to the release of Ocarina of Time and Super Mario 64, players were limited to a 2D platform.
2. Ocarina of Time Pushed N64 Cartridge Capabilities
Before finding its way into a N64 cartridge, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was meant to be released on the N64’s disk-based peripheral, 64DD.
Obviously, that N64 expansion failed and Ocarina of Time was moved to the basic N64, which meant that it had to settle for cartridge porting. However, that is where Nintendo found some issues.
Ocarina of Time’s file size was far too big to fit into the N64’s standard cartridge. To solve this, Nintendo manufactured a 256mb (a pretty big size at the time) cartridge in order to fit the game; making The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Nintendo 64’s biggest game (both in file size and popularity).
3. The Beatles are in Ocarina of Time
Okay, so they aren’t really The Beatles, but the amount of money to get anything Beatles related into your project costs ridiculous amounts of money to do so legally, so I can’t blame Nintendo for not including the real Beatles in Ocarina of Time.
The next best thing was to name the four carpenters Link meets throughout his adventure John, Paul, George, and Ringo. Sadly, this Easter Egg is only available in the German version on Ocarina of Time.
Maybe they thought Germany loved The Beatles more than the United States (NONSENSE!).
4. Phantom Ganon’s Battle is a Nod to Ocarina of Time’s Original Concept
Remember the boss battle against Phantom Ganon where he jumped from painting to painting only to come out and play death tennis with you? Well, that battle serves as a small taste of what Ocarina of Time was planned to be before becoming the early sandbox game we have come to love (some more than others…it’s me; I love this game!).
Much like Mario could in Super Mario 64, Link was meant to have the ability to jump into paintings in order to enter the many areas and dungeons throughout Hyrule.
Along with this idea, the castle in which those paintings can be found was planned to be the main hub of the game.
5. Muslims Had Some Issues with Ocarina of Time
You see that crescent moon and star symbol? That symbol can be found on many objects in Ocarina of Time as the primary symbol of the Gerudos. It also became the center of some controversy between Ocarina of Time and the people of Islam being as it looks very similar to the star and moon symbol seen on the flags of Pakistan and Turkey.
The controversy didn’t end there, however. Upon entering the Fire Temple, you will begin to hear some rather haunting chants continuously playing throughout the dungeon. Many gamers where left unaware to what this chant said, but those who happened to speak the language in which the chant was in found that it was very similar to an Islāmic prayer.
Both of these Islamic-related features were taken out of the game’s later versions. The crescent moon and star symbol were replaced by an odd looking…face? And the chanting was replaced with an even more haunting humming/vibrating sound.
6. There’s a Random Shark in Lakeside Lab’s Tank
7. Ocarina of Time’s Link Dies at the Age of 29
In the first Final Fantasy game, a tombstone can be found that reads, “Here lies Link (837-866).”
It was originally thought to be a reference to the name the development teams (Enix, Squaresoft, Tose) wanted to give their main character. However, nowadays it is believed to be a small jab at the popular Nintendo IP and our Hero of Time, Link.
The tombstone could belong to just about any of the Links in the Zelda timeline, but I decided to add it to this Ocarina of Time list due to how cool it is (and because it’s really sad that he dies so young).
BONUS: Enix and Squaresoft later merged and became Square Enix (I always wondered where they came up with such a cool name).
8. The Final Battle Was Meant to Be Shadow of Colossus Sized
The final version’s final boss battle against Ganon was already pretty epic for its time. Cool music, intense atmosphere, and a pretty gross looking Ganon; it had everything.
However, Nintendo EAD originally planned for that battle to be much…much…MUCH more epic. They wanted to have the players scale a Massive Ganon.
Sadly, that idea was scraped due to the team deciding that never showing Ganon’s full body would be too confusing for the players. It was also due to the fact that the Nintendo 64 was incapable of rendering Massive Ganon at a steady frame rate.
9. The Triforce Was Planned to Be an Obtainable Object
A very early version of Ocarina of Time shows Link receiving the Triforce. For some reason or another, the ability to obtain the Triforce was taken out of the final version of the game, making Ocarina of Time the only game in The Legend of Zelda series to not feature the Triforce as an obtainable object.
10. Ganondorf and the Poe Sisters Have the Same Laugh
The similarities between Ocarina of Time and Super Mario 64 seem to never end. I would have added this to the first entry in the list, but I wanted the audio snippet below to have its own entry.
Quick fun fact about Super Mario 64 is that Bowser’s laugh was sped up in order to provide the boos with their unique laugh.
Well, the same thing happened in Ocarina of Time.
The idea of altering the laugh of one character to provide the laugh of another character must have been shared between the two Nintendo EAD teams since Ocarina of Time’s devs decided to use a sped up version of Ganon’s evil laugh to give the Poe Sisters their sinister laugh.
11. You Can Kill the Skull Kid
The Skull Kids are so freaking annoying. Almost as annoying as Mips from Super Mario 64.
But unlike Mips, you can murder the hell out of the Skull Kid once adultified (it’s a word; I created it). Hint: it’s a lot easier to murder the Skull Kid if you use the Biggoron’s Sword.
After killing the Skull Kid, players will be rewarded with a hefty rupee worth 200! You will also erase the dark Majora’s Mask events.
12. Ocarina of Time Was Almost a First Person Game
Along with the innovation that brought Link to a 3 dimensional open world, changing the games perspective from its well-known 3rd person to first person was considered very early on in the game’s development.
As we can all see, that idea followed the footsteps of many other OoT pre-dev concepts thanks to a really inspirational and motivational speech by Miyamoto:
He is so cool looking
Almost choked up a bit. Miyamoto, you’re an inspiration to us all.
13. Skyward Sword Artwork Can Be found in Ocarina of Time
14. Auto-Jump Was Added to Avoid ‘Action Game’ Labeling
Giving players the ability to jump via the press of a button was originally planned for the game, but was later replaced for OoT’s famous auto-jump feature.
This was due to Shigeru Miyamoto wanting to shift the focus of Ocarina of Time to puzzles rather than action. It seems like such a small thing, but it must have worked because I (and many others) see OoT as one of the best puzzle games rather than one of the best action games.
15. Twilight Princess’ Hero’s Shade and Ocarina of Time’s Link are the Same Person (Well…Elf. They’re the same Elf).
So this is more of a theory than it is a fact, but it is a theory that I hold as true as my love for the game itself.
When you happen upon Hero’s Shade in Twilight Princess, you will notice that he holds his sword in his left hand, unlike Twilight Princess’ Link (The Hero of Twilight) who holds it in his right hand.
Being as Twilight Princess falls into the same timeline split as Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask, there should be no doubt that these three titles are connected. But…why aren’t we playing the same Link from OoT & MM (The Hero of Time). Why are we given a completely new Link? That’s because the Hero of Time died!
In MM you die in the very beginning while riding through the dark forest. In TP you meet Hero’s Shade in the dark forest. In OoT and MM, Link holds his sword in his left hand. Hero’s Shade holds his sword in his left hand. All the moves Hero’s Shade teaches you in TP, were first featured in both OoT and MM.
The amount of articles for and against this theory are insanely high (some more solid than others), but writing all the arguments on it would take up the entire article. It’s ultimately up to you if you want to believe this theory. I do; I think it’s a really cool theory, which is why I added it to this list.
16. Nintendo Added a Hidden Love Note for Bug Reporters
Bug reporters are the under appreciated pieces of the video gaming industry. They work hours and hours, scouring through every nook and cranny of a video game looking for just about every bug, glitch, and oddity that might hinder a player’s ability to enjoy a game.
Nintendo EAD made sure to let Ocarina of Time‘s bug reporters know just how much they appreciate them by including a hidden love letter in the geekiest of ways.
Although the bug reporting phase of OoT is long behind us, the game still manages to crash a few time (N64 version). If this were to ever happen to you, punch in the following button sequence: L+R+Z > D-Up + C-Down > C-Up + D-Down > D-Left + C-Left > C-Right + D-Right > A + B + Start
After entering that very complicated set of button combination, you will find yourself staring at the following pop-up:
This mind-effing series of codes was used by bug reporters to pinpoint where the crash occurred and what caused it. If you understand what it says, feel free to comment below; I have no clue, but I’m curious as to what happened.
If a bug reporter was to look deep enough into these code, he or she would come face to face with an appreciative love note the devs left behind:
17. Navi Leaves Link Because She Fell in Love With Him
Navi’s departure at the end of Ocarina of Time bugged many gamers. She doesn’t say why she’s leaving, and neither does the game. She just…flies away.
The most popular theory out there is that Navi leaves Link because he isn’t a Kokiri. When the Great Deku Tree assigns a fairy to a Kokiri child, he gives that fairy the task of watching over and aiding the Kokiri for as long as he or she lives. Well…the Kokiri kids never age, which means that their fairy never departs.
Navi on the other hand is giving a similar task with Link, with the added stipulation of, “…throughout his journey.” Once Link’s journey is done, Navi leaves.
That theory holds the most ground, but (just like the Hero’s Shade theory) I chose to believe in the theory that Navi leaves Link because she fell in love with him and couldn’t bear the idea of being rejected by him. After all, she’s a fairy and he’s an elf…so I don’t think that would really work out.
When Navi begins her departure in the Temple of Time, she cries out, “Link! I love you.”
Of course, this cry of love isn’t seen in the video game version of Ocarina of Time. Instead it can be found in the game’s manga version.
It may not technically be canonical, but it’s a theory that I hold as true as my love for the game itself (I feel like I said this already).