November 21, 1998 saw Nintendo release a game that, ten years later, many still consider to be one of the best games ever created. A decade on and we still bang on about our fond memories of playing the game for the first time, second time, those who never finished it, why they never finished it and how they MUST go back and finish it.
Just what is it about The Legend Of Zelda: The Ocarina Of Time that makes us talk about it as though it actually was a little piece of magic? We dug up CVG's old magazine review, which can't give the game enough praise.
"Zelda is what everyone dared to hope it would be, the best game ever," glows its copy. "The colourful backdrop is set to the most lavish video game production ever created. Zelda is a landmark game, an interactive fairytale in a complete and free world. While previous title like Final Fantasy VII had the same epic qualities of scale, they were linear and shallow. Zelda is the first truly explorable 3-D world on either PC or console."
You may or may not remember that Ocarina experienced a similar hick-up to Sony's LittleBigPlanet, where early players noticed Muslim Arabic chanting in the background music of Zelda's Fire Temple. Nintendo swiftly changed the tune, and only the very first shop copies in Japan and the US have the chants.
Re-read the ten year old review here. It got top marks (5/5) but for some reason it's gone in the system as is. Don't blame us - this is ten year old stuff we're talking about.
So let's celebrate everything Ocarina Of Time. Here's why we think it's one of the best games ever made (if not the).
Gav: I remember playing bits of it at events like ECTS (poor man's E3 in the UK). But I picked up my pre-order before work (no freebies in those days) and went straight round to a friend's after my day was done. Several people were there, not all gamers, but when Zelda went on everyone in the room pipped down and watched, glued to the set.
Over the next few hours MTV, Bravo or Coronation Street didn't even get a look in. Everyone wanted to know what happened next, the pad was passed around like a model in a footballer's hotel room (allegedly), puzzle solving ideas were discussed... It was an experience that has never been recreated since, to that level of everybody being engaged and involved. Maybe I just need to get new friends? Or maybe Ocarina really IS magic...
Mike: Girls who cry during romance movies - pansies! I've never shed a tear for a film. That mushy stuff doesn't work on me until. But on the Christmas of 1998 I got Ocarina of Time and things changed for ever.
I put the cart into my sticker-covered N64. Turned it on. First, the pitter-patter of a horse, then the camera pans out to reveal the gorgeous sunset-lit field, with a little stream and a quaint town in the distance. I glare at it as that mellow title theme plays. I've literally never been so stunned by anything. A genuinely teary moment. (girl - ed)
But being a testosterone-filled 15-year-old, I swore I'd never shed a tear for a videogame again. I'm no wuss. Then I warped Link forward in time, the Hyrule market destroyed and NO ONE in my hometown of Kokiri Forest recognised me. *Sob*
Andy: Apart from being the best time I've ever spent in front of a telly (computer monitors and porn don't count), Ocarina of Time carries exceptionally fond memories because I got it for absolutely nowt. Now, this is probably going to get me in trouble with the law, but I didn't pay any money for my copy of Zelda 64.