The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Genre Action-Adventure
Developer(s) Nintendo EAD
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Composer(s) Koji Kondo
Series The Legend of Zelda
Platform(s) Nintendo 64, Nintendo GameCube (Master Quest), iQue Player, Wii (Virtual Console)
Release Date Nintendo 64
NA November 23, 1998
JP November 21, 1998
EU December 11, 1998
AUS December 18, 1998
NA February 18, 2003
JP November 18, 2002
EU May 3, 2003
iQue Player
CHN November 2003
Virtual Console
NA February 26, 2007
JP February 27, 2007
PAL Feburary 23, 2007
Mode(s) Single-Player
ESRB:80px-ESRB Everyone.svg - Everyone
PEGI:60px-PEGI 7.svg - 7 and older
ACB:35px-OFLC Australia Rating - G8 - General 8 and older

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
North America
438px-The Legend of Zelda - Ocarina of Time (Japan)
The Legend of Zelda - Ocarina of Time (Europe)
The Legend of Zelda - Ocarina of Time (Australia)

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time​ is an action-adventure video game developed by Nintendo's Entertainment Analysis and Development division for the Nintendo 64 video game console. It was released in Japan on November 21, 1998; in North America on November 23, 1998; and in Europe on December 11, 1998. Originally developed for the Nintendo 64DD peripheral, the game was instead released on a 256-megabit (32-megabyte) cartridge, which was the largest-capacity cartridge Nintendo produced at that time. Ocarina of Time is the fifth game in The Legend of Zelda series, and the first with 3D graphics. It was followed two years after its release by the sequel The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask.


The player controls the series' trademark hero, Link, in the land of Hyrule. Link sets out on a quest to stop Ganondorf, King of the Gerudo tribe, from obtaining the Triforce, a sacred relic that grants the wishes of its holder. Link travels through time and navigates various dungeons to awaken sages who have the power to seal Ganondorf away forever. Music plays an important role—to progress, the player must learn to play and perform several songs on an ocarina. The game was responsible for generating an increased interest in and rise in sales of the ocarina.


Ocarina of Time's gameplay system introduced features such as a target lock system and context-sensitive buttons that have since become common elements in 3D adventure games. In Japan, it sold over 820,000 copies in 1998, becoming the tenth-best-selling game of that year. During its lifetime, Ocarina of Time sold 1.14 million copies in Japan, becoming the 134th-best-selling game of all time, and has sold over 7.6 million copies worldwide. The game won the Grand Prize in the Interactive Art division at the Japan Media Arts Festival, won six honors at the 2nd Annual Interactive Achievement Awards, and received overwhelmingly positive acclaim [citation needed]. The title is widely considered by both critics and gamers alike to be the greatest video game ever made. In 2008 and 2010, Guinness World Records declared that Ocarina of Time is the highest rated game ever reviewed.


First shown as a technical demo at Nintendo's Space World trade show in December 1995, Ocarina of Time was developed concurrently with Super Mario 64 by Nintendo's EAD division. Both were the first free-roaming 3D game in their respective series. Nintendo planned to release Super Mario 64 as a launch game for the Nintendo 64 and later release Ocarina of Time for the Nintendo 64DD, a disk drive peripheral for the system. Nintendo eventually decided to release Ocarina of Time on a cartridge instead and follow it with a 64DD expansion. At its release the 32 megabyte game was the largest game Nintendo had ever created. Early in the game's development concerns over the memory constraints of the N64 cartridge led producer and supervisor Shigeru Miyamoto to imagine a worst case scenario in which Ocarina of Time would follow a similar structure to Super Mario 64 with Link restricted to Ganondorf's castle as a central hub, and using a portal system similar to the paintings that Mario used to transport to different areas. An idea that arose from this stage of development, a battle with a doppleganger of Ganondorf that rides through paintings, ultimately made its way into the finished game as the boss of the Forest Temple dungeon.

While Shigeru Miyamoto had been the principal director of Super Mario 64 he was now in charge of several directors as a producer and supervisor of Ocarina of Time. During its development individual parts of Ocarina of Time were handled by multiple directors—a new strategy for Nintendo EAD. When things were progressing slower than expected however Miyamoto returned to the development team with a more hands-on directorial role. Although the development team was new to 3D games assistant director Makoto Miyanaga recalls a sense of "passion for creating something new and unprecedented". Miyamoto initially intended Ocarina of Time to be played in a first-person perspective, so as to enable the players to take in the vast terrain of Hyrule Field better, as well as being able to focus more on developing enemies and environments. However, the development team did not go through with it once the idea of having a child Link was introduced, and Miyamoto felt it necessary for Link to be visible on screen. The development crew involved over 120 people, including stuntmen used to capture the effects of sword fighting and Link's movement. Some of Miyamoto's ideas for the new Zelda title were instead used in Super Mario 64, since it was to be released first. Other ideas were not used due to time constraints.

Ocarina of Time originally ran on the same engine as Super Mario 64, but was so heavily modified that designer Shigeru Miyamoto considers the final products entirely different engines. One major difference between the two is camera control. The player has much control over the camera in Super Mario 64, but the camera in Ocarina of Time is largely controlled by the game's AI. Miyamoto says the camera controls for Ocarina of Time are intended to reflect a focus on the game's world, whereas those of Super Mario 64 are centered on the character of Mario. Miyamoto wanted to make a game that was cinematic, but still distinguished from actual films. Takumi Kawagoe, who creates cut scenes for Nintendo, says that his top priority is to have the player feel in control of the action. To promote this feeling, cut scenes in Ocarina of Time are completely generated with real-time computing and do not use pre-recorded or full-motion video. Toru Osawa created the scenario for the game, based on a story idea by Miyamoto and Yoshiaki Koizumi. He was given support by A Link to the Past and Link's Awakening script writer Kensuke Tanabe. The dungeons were designed by Eiji Aonuma.

Customers in North America who pre-ordered the game received a limited edition box with a golden plastic card affixed, reading "Collector's Edition". This edition contained a gold-colored cartridge, a tradition for the Zelda series that began with the original game for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Demand was so great that Electronics Boutique stopped pre-selling the title on November 3, 1998. Later versions of Ocarina of Time feature minor changes such as glitch repairs, and the alteration of Ganondorf's blood from crimson to green. For a time the Fire Temple chant was thought to have been removed because of public outcry, however this change was made months before the game was even announced.

Ports and RemakesEdit

Ocarina of Time had four major re-releases on the Nintendo GameCube and Wii consoles. It was ported to the GameCube as part of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: Master Quest, featuring reworked dungeons with new puzzles, and The Legend of Zelda: Collector's Edition as a direct port. It was also ported to the iQue Player in 2003 and the Wii's Virtual Console service in 2007. These re-releases were well received: while some critics considered the relatively-unchanged game to be outdated, most reviewers felt that the game has held up well over the years.


An improved version of the game called The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D was released in 2011 for the 3DS. It has better graphics and newer features.