The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

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This article is about the game itself. For information about the Nintendo GameCube compilation featuring the original game and Master Quest, see The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Nintendo GameCube).
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Developer Nintendo EAD
Publisher Nintendo
Release date Nintendo 64:
Japan November 21, 1998
USA November 23, 1998
Europe December 11, 1998
Australia December 18, 1998
Players Choice:
USA August 23, 1999
iQue Player:
China November 18, 2003
Virtual Console (Wii):
Europe February 23, 2007
Australia February 23, 2007
USA February 26, 2007
Japan February 27, 2007
Virtual Console (Wii U):
USA July 2, 2015
Europe July 2, 2015
Australia July 2, 2015
Japan December 22, 2015
Nintendo 64 - Nintendo Switch Online:
USA October 25, 2021
Japan October 26, 2021
Europe October 26, 2021
Australia October 26, 2021
HK October 26, 2021
South Korea October 26, 2021
Genre Action-adventure
ESRB: - Everyone
PEGI: - Twelve years and older
ACB: - Eight years and older
Mode(s) Single player
Nintendo 64:
Game Pak
iQue Player:
Digital download
Nintendo 64DD:
Magneto-optical drive
Digital download
Nintendo 64:
iQue Player:
Wii U:
Nintendo Switch:

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is a popular Nintendo 64 title and the fifth installment of the main The Legend of Zelda series. It was developed by Nintendo EAD and published by Nintendo. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is also the first game where Link explores fully open three-dimensional environments. The game was first announced at Shoshinkai 1995 alongside Super Mario 64. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was one of the most anticipated games of its time, having a development span of about three years not receiving a release until late 1998.

The game has been reissued several times over the years, starting with a Player's Choice re-release in 1999. It was first ported to the Nintendo GameCube, along with its previously unreleased Master Quest mode, as part of the compilation of the same name. In 2003, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was ported to the Nintendo GameCube a second time in the form of being one of the four games included on The Legend of Zelda: Collector's Edition. Around the same time, it was ported to the iQue Player, for which it was one of the launch titles. Following this, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has been ported to the Wii's Virtual Console in 2007, then for the Wii U's Virtual Console in 2015, and as a Nintendo 64 - Nintendo Switch Online title in 2021. The game also received a remake for the Nintendo 3DS titled The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, which released in 2011.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has some connections to the Mario franchise. Its engine is heavily modified from that of Super Mario 64, which was the Super Mario series title that it was concurrently developed alongside in its earlier stage. Talon is a counterpart of Mario, bearing a very similar design, and is the de-facto successor to Tarin from The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening. Ingo, the daughter Malon wears a Bowser necklace. In the Castle Courtyard, through the windows of Hyrule Castle, one can see paintings of a few Mario characters, such as Mario (depicting his Wing Mario artwork from Super Mario 64) and Luigi (depicting crop of his head from one of his Mario Kart 64 artworks).


Navi is assigned as Link's guardian fairy.
Poster of the game's main cast

The game is introduced by the Great Deku Tree, who tells that every Kokiri of the Kokiri Forest have their own fairy, except for Link. Link has a nightmare of a young girl fleeing on a horse from a man in black armor. The Great Deku Tree is nearing death, and he assigns Navi to be Link's guardian fairy, and also requests her to bring Link over. Navi wakes Link from his nightmare and directs him to meet the Great Deku Tree.

After equipping with a sword and a shield, Link and Navi go to meet The Great Deku Tree. The tree tells them that he was cursed by a "wicked man of the desert", who seeks to conquer the world, and that Link is the chosen one to stop him. The Great Deku Tree provides a test of courage to Link to enter inside him. After Link defeats the Gohma within the Great Deku Tree, he rewards Link with the Kokiri's Emerald, the Spiritual Stone of the forest, and instructs him to visit Hyrule Castle to speak with the princess of Hyrule. Just after providing this instruction, the Great Deku Tree dies.

Link leaves Kokiri Forest and goes all the way through Castle Town and to the Hyrule Castle, where he sneaks past some soldiers to meet with Princess Zelda in the Castle Courtyard. She explains about her dream of Link and his guardian fairy, Navi, bearing the Kokiri's Emerald and slashing through the darkness. She points out the evil Ganondorf, whom she believes was represented by the darkness in her dream, and that he is seeking to steal the Triforce from the Sacred Realm. Zelda instructs Link to retrieve the other Spiritual Stones so that he can enter the Sacred Realm and claim the Triforce before Ganondorf.

Link sets off to both Death Mountain and Zora's Domain, where he successfully assists both the Gorons and the Zoras against Ganondorf's forces in their pursuit of the two other Spiritual Stones. Darunia, the leader of the Gorons, rewards link with the Goron's Ruby while Ruto, the princess of the Zoras, rewards Link with the Zora's Sapphire.

Link returns outside of Hyrule Castle, where he witnesses the same events as in his nightmare: Zelda and Impa are fleeing on horseback from Ganondorf, who attempts to steal the Ocarina of Time from them. Zelda quickly throws the Ocarina of Time into the moat for Link to obtain. When he obtains the ocarina, Link receives a telepathic message from Zelda, who teaches him the Song of Time and instructs him to play it at the altar of the Temple of Time.

Link pulling the Master Sword from its pedestal.

At the Temple of Time, Link opens the Door of Time by playing the Song of Time and using the three Spiritual Stones. There, he finds the Master Sword in the Pedestal of Time and draws it, unlocking the Sacred Realm. Link successfully wields the sword, although he remains trapped in the Sacred Realm. Ganondorf sneaks into the Sacred Realm, believing that Link had the means necessary for entering the Sacred Realm. Link helplessly watches Ganondorf entering the Sacred Realm and obtaining the Triforce.

Seven years later, Link is awakened in the Chamber of Sages by an old man named Rauru. He reveals that Link is the Hero of Time, who is the person that can pull the Master Sword from its pedestal. He also explains that Link's spirit was locked away in the Sacred Realm because he was too young to be the Hero of Time and defeat Ganondorf. Rauru also tells Link that Ganondorf used the stolen Triforce to transform Hyrule into a land filled with darkness and monsters. He then instructs Link to find the other missing Sages, who have the collective power to trap Ganondorf within the Sacred Realm. However, five of the Sages are unaware of their identity as one, so Rauru grants Link with the Light Medallion and instructs him to find the other missing Sages.

Link returns into the Temple of Time, where he is greeted by Sheik, a survivor of the Sheikah tribe. He further guides Link by instructing him to free five temples from Ganondorf's control and allow each temple's Sage to awaken. Link had befriended the five other Sages during his childhood: Saria, the Sage of the Forest, Darunia, the Sage of Fire, Ruto, the Sage of Water, Nabooru, the Sage of Spirit, and Impa, the Sage of Shadow.

Link is confronted by Ganondorf at the end of his castle.

After awakening every Sage, Link returns to the Temple of Time, where Sheik tells another legend of the Triforce, explaining that it to be a fusion of three triangles that represent the three virtues governed by the three goddesses: Power, Wisdom, and Courage. If the person holding the Triforce has a balance of these virtues, then they can obtain the Triforce intact. However, if that person does not have a balance of those virtues, then the Triforce splits into three pieces, and the owner only keeps the piece of whichever virtue they most strongly believe in. The prophecy is a reference to Ganondorf's case, where his strongest belief was in power, and therefore he lost the other two parts of the Triforce. The legend further states that the person must strive to acquire the two missing parts, each one being safeguarded by a person with the crest of the goddesses on the back of their hands.

Ganondorf had managed to conquer the Sacred Realm, but felt that his acquisition of power was not enough. Ganondorf, wanting complete control over the world, started a search for the two missing pieces of the Triforce. Sheik reveals that Link holds the Triforce of Courage, just before taking off his own disguise, revealing himself as Princess Zelda. She reveals herself to be the seventh Sage and the safeguarder of the Triforce of Wisdom. However, by exposing herself to Link, Ganondorf finds out, and he traps her within a large crystal and retreats with her into his Castle.

Link rushes outside of Ganon's Castle (where Hyrule Castle had originally stood). With help from the six other Sages, Link manages to travel through the castle. Link eventually enters a room with Ganondorf and Zelda, where he engages in a battle against Ganondorf. After their first battle, Link frees Zelda from her crystal. Ganondorf destroys the Castle in an attempt to kill both Link and Zelda, who manage to quickly escape from it.

Ganondorf emerges from the castle's rubble, and with the Triforce of Power, he transforms into a beast named Ganon. Just before the second battle, Ganon knocks the Master Sword out of Link's hands, and encloses both of them within a forcefield, preventing Link from retrieving the Master Sword. However, with Zelda's help, Link manages to retrieve Master Sword, which he ultimately uses to destroy Ganon. With their restored powers, the seven Sages banish Ganondorf into the Dark Realm. Since Ganondorf still has the Triforce of Power, Ganondorf vows to get revenge on their descendants.

Zelda instructs Link to return the Master Sword in its pedestal, closing the path between the two timelines. She then plays the Song of Time and returns Link back into his childhood. Link still retains the knowledge of the entire incident, and revisits Princess Zelda in the Castle Courtyard, informing her of the whole incident to prevent it from happening again.


Link exploring the first dungeon, Inside the Deku Tree

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is set within an expansive 3D environment where the player moves Link around. Like The Legend of Zelda, the game introduced a few mechanics that were reused in subsequent games of its type; in Ocarina of Time's case, it is context-sensitive actions and targeting. Much of the gameplay was later reused in the sequel, The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask.

With context-sensitive actions, this allows for numerous actions to be assigned to one button, which varies based on Link's location and action in the game. For example, if Link draws out his sword, the HUD display instructs the player to holster it by pressing A Button. Another example is if Link is standing at a door, causing the HUD's A Button button to read "Open", which directly instructs the player to press the button to open the door. Targeting causes the camera to directly focus on an object or enemy. During this mode, when the player presses a button, Link automatically performs the corresponding action (such as striking his sword) on the target without the player having to move the Control Stick.

Adult Link exploring around Hyrule Field

The player controls Link as an adult or a child in different parts of his adventure. From the Door of Time, when Link pulls the Master Sword, he travels seven years in the future and becomes an adult. Link has different abilities as both a child and an adult, both of which are key to solving puzzles. For example, Link can only use the Fairy Bow as an adult, while only young Link can crawl through small passages.

Like previous The Legend of Zelda installments, Link's main weapon is a sword and shield. As a child, Link can obtain more basic weapons, such as Bombs and Deku Seeds, within the dungeons or from different locations. As an adult, Link can still obtain most of the basic weapons (which does not include Deku Seeds). As an adult, Link can obtain two additional tunics and boots, aside from the default Kokiri Tunic and Kokiri Boots; the player can switch Link's tunic and boots from the Equipment subscreen of the Inventory. The tunics include the Goron Tunic and Zora Tunic, which respectively allow Link to withstand hot, volcanic climate and to breathe underwater, and the boots include the Iron Boots and Hover Boots which respectively allow him to sink to the bottom of water and to temporarily hover in midair.

There are side quests during Link's adventure, and they are optional but often involve a reward at the end, such as the Biggoron's Sword or the ability to ride Epona, allowing Link to navigate around Hyrule Field faster.

Just as Link exits from Kokiri Forest, Saria provides him with the Fairy Ocarina, later replaced with the titular Ocarina of Time. Throughout the game, Link learns twelve melodies that allow him to solve music-based puzzles and to teleport back to specific location that he has already visited.




The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is the first The Legend of Zelda title to prominently feature a variety of different races. There are six different races, each located in a different area:

  • The Hylians are similar to humans, except for their pointed, elf-like ears. Most of them like Castle Town, though some live in nearby Kakariko Village and others are scattered sporadically throughout Hyrule. They are ruled by a king, whose daughter is Princess Zelda.
  • The Kokiri are forest children who were created by the guardian spirit of Kokiri Forest, the Great Deku Tree. They never age and can never leave the forest. Link, the hero of the game, lives among them at the start of the game. His closest friend is a Kokiri named Saria. Link is not a true Kokiri but a Hylian, orphaned in the forest as a baby, and raised by the Great Deku Tree, who sensed Link to be a child of destiny. The Kokiri are led by Mido.
  • The Gorons are large, brown, rock-eating creatures that vary immensely in size and live in Goron City, halfway up Death Mountain, an active volcano. They are led by Darunia.
  • The Zoras are blue fish-like creatures, who live at the top of Zora's River, the kingdom's source of water. The river runs all the way through Hyrule to Lake Hylia at the very opposite end of the kingdom. The Zoras are ruled by King Zora who has a daughter, Princess Ruto. The guardian spirit of Zora's Domain is Lord Jabu-Jabu.
  • The Gerudo are an almost entirely female race of thieves who live in Gerudo Valley. Only one man is born within the race every century. According to tradition, that man is meant to be the king of the Gerudo race. Ganondorf is the most recent male of this race.
  • The Sheikah, sworn "shadow guardians" of the royal family, appear to be Hylian with red eyes. They possess various magical abilities and are known to operate from within the shadows. Impa, Zelda's childhood nanny and bodyguard, is said to be the last remaining Sheikah. She helped establish Kakariko Village, at the base of Death Mountain.

Supporting characters

During Link's adventure, he encounters some supporting characters who directly assist him during his adventure.

Six sages

Not including Princess Zelda, the six Sages are the guardians of the Sacred Realm. Each Sage is from one of the six races.

Other characters

It has been requested that this section be rewritten. Reason: has conjectural, unsourced names; also needs reorganization, as some characters appear in the main quest while others only appear in sidequests

These are other, miscellaneous characters encountered by Link during his adventure. They act neither directly antagonistic nor supportive towards Link.


Main locations


Name Description
Inside the Deku Tree The first dungeon in the game has Link traveling through the Great Deku Tree in an attempt to break a curse that Ganondorf placed on him. The first Spiritual Stone, the Kokiri's Emerald, is the reward for completing the dungeon.
Dodongo's Cavern This area is the main source of food for the Gorons. The area was invaded by Dodongos during the game, and Link must go in to dispatch of them. The second Spiritual Stone, the Goron's Ruby, is the reward for completing the dungeon.
Inside Jabu-Jabu's Belly The third dungeon takes place in Jabu-Jabu's belly, and Link must go in to rescue Princess Ruto. The third and final Spiritual Stone, the Zora's Sapphire, is the reward for completing the dungeon.
Forest Temple The Forest Temple is the first dungeon that Link explores as an adult and the fourth dungeon overall. One of its distinct rooms is a long, twisted hallway. Completing the dungeon awakens the first Sage, Saria.
Fire Temple In the Fire Temple, Link has to rescue all of the Gorons, who were captured by Ganondorf and planned to be fed to Volvagia for not complying to his requests. By completing the dungeon, Link saves the Gorons and awakens the second Sage, Darunia.
Water Temple In the Water Temple, Link has to solve a variety of puzzles both in water and on land. Completing the temple awakens the third Sage, Ruto.
Spirit Temple For the penultimate dungeon, Link must first explore it as a child, then as an adult. Completing the temple awakens the sixth Sage, Nabooru.
Shadow Temple In the temple, Link has to travel through a labyrinth of hidden areas, where he encounters several undead and paranormal enemies. Completing the Shadow Temple awakens the fourth Sage, Impa.
Inside Ganon's Castle
Ganon's Tower
The final dungeon takes place in Ganon's Castle, which features several mid-boss battles and eventually one against Ganondorf himself.

Minor dungeons


Poster of Link and Sheik fighting some of the game's enemies




Image Name Dungeon
Parasitic Armored Arachnid: Gohma Inside the Deku Tree
Infernal Dinosaur: King Dodongo Dodongo's Cavern
Bio-Electric Anemone: Barinade Inside Jabu-Jabu's Belly
Evil Spirit from Beyond: Phantom Ganon Forest Temple
Subterranean Lava Dragon: Volvagia Fire Temple
Giant Aquatic Amoeba: Morpha Water Temple

Sorceress Sisters: Twinrova (Koume and Kotake) Spirit Temple
Phantom Shadow Beast: Bongo Bongo Shadow Temple
Great King of Evil: Ganondorf Ganon's Tower
Ganon Ganon's Castle


This The Legend of Zelda-related section is a stub. You can help Mariopedia by expanding it.
The Select Item Subscreen

The items and weapons that Link uses often depends on whether he is a child or an adult. The player can assign items to either C Down Button, C Left Button, and C Right Button from the Select Item Subscreen.

There are some items that Link can only obtain once.

Icon Name Child/Adult Timeline? Description
Fairy Ocarina Child
Gerudo's Membership Card Adult
Letter in a Bottle Child
Ocarina of Time Both
Stone of Agony Both
Weird Egg / Cucco Child
Zelda's Letter Child

There are some items that Link obtains more than once during his adventure, many of which reappear from previous The Legend of Zelda installments. All of these items are accessible to Link as either a child or an adult except the Magic Beans, which he can only obtain as a child.

Icon Name Description
Empty Bottle
Gold Skulltula Token
Heart Container
Magic Bean
Magic Jar
Piece of Heart

There are a few items that reappear only in dungeons. While child Link can obtain Small Keys during the Treasure Chest Shop minigame, the keys start appearing in dungeons when Link is an adult.

Icon Name Description
Boss Key These are one-time use items that unlock the boss room of a dungeon. Link can always obtain a Boss Key by defeating the second mini-boss of a dungeon.
Compass These allow Link to see where treasure chests are located in a dungeon. They also show the direction Link is facing and where he entered the room.
Dungeon Map These show which rooms Link has visited and which room he is currently in. When paired with a Compass, a Dungeon Map shows which rooms have treasure chests, which rooms have not yet been visited, and the dungeon boss's room.
Small Key One-time use items that unlock certain regular doors within dungeons. They are usually found within treasure chests.

There are some items that Link cannot obtain unless he has a bottle to store it in. Every bottled item is usable in both timelines.

Icon Name Description
Blue Fire
Blue Potion
Green Potion
Poe Soul / Big Poe Soul
Red Potion


There are a couple of weapons that Link obtains only once.

Icon Name Child/Adult Timeline? Description
Boomerang Child
Fairy Bow Adult
Fairy Slingshot Child
Hookshot Adult
Lens of Truth Both
Longshot Adult
Megaton Hammer Adult

There are some weapons that Link can carry more than one of.

Icon Name Child/Adult Timeline? Description
Bomb Both
Bombchu Both
Deku Nut Both
Deku Seed Child
Deku Stick Child
Fire Arrow Adult
Ice Arrow Adult
Light Arrow Adult

Link can acquire three new abilities from a spell, each provided by one of the Great Fairies. Every spell is named after one of the three goddesses.

Icon Name Description
Din's Fire
Farore's Wind
Nayru's Love


The Equipment Subscreen, which shows all available equipment.

The equipment is organized horizontally on a separate menu, the Equipment Subscreen. If Link has more than one type of sword, shield, tunic, or boots, the player can switch between them.

Icon Name Child/Adult Timeline? Description
Kokiri Sword Child
Master Sword Adult
Biggoron's Sword Adult
Giant's Knife Adult
Deku Shield Child
Hylian Shield Both
Mirror Shield Adult
Kokiri Tunic Both
Goron Tunic Adult
Zora Tunic Adult
Kokiri Boots Both
Iron Boots Adult
Hover Boots Adult

There is some equipment that Link can upgrade later on in his adventure. Each type is displayed from the leftmost side of the Inventory.

Icon Name Child/Adult Timeline? Description
Deku Seed Bullet Bags
Deku Seed Bullet Bag Child
Big Deku Seed Bullet Bag Child
Biggest Deku Seed Bullet Bag Child
Quiver Adult
Big Quiver Adult
Biggest Quiver Adult
Bomb Bags
Bomb Bag Both
Big Bomb Bag Both
Biggest Bomb Bag Both
Goron's Bracelet Child
Silver Gauntlets Adult
Golden Gauntlets Adult
Silver Scale Both
Golden Scale Both

Link starts out with a Wallet that holds up to 99 Rupees. There are two Wallet upgrades that he can acquire during his adventure, and these can hold a higher capacity of rupees. Unlike the other equipment, the Wallets do not have icons that are displayed on inventory; their icon is only shown when Link in the dialogue box for when Link obtains the wallet. Both wallets can be used in either the child or the adult timeline.

Icon Name Description
Adult's Wallet
Giant's Wallet

Spiritual Stones

As a child, Link must obtain three Spiritual Stones in order to open the Door of Time at the Temple of Time. The obtained stones are displayed from the Inventory's "Quest Status" subscreen.


As an adult, Link must obtain six Medallions, each corresponding to one of the Sages. They are a source of the Sages' power, which they use to help Link enter into Ganon's Castle. Link's collected Medallions are displayed from the Inventory's "Quest Status" subscreen.


There are seven masks that Link can wear as a child. They are optional and most do not have any purpose aside from others reacting differently when seeing Link. A few of these masks would later play a major role in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask.

Item trading sequence

As an adult, Link can participate in a trading sequence where he must trade ten items, each to a different character, until finally receiving the Biggoron's Sword.


A scene from the 12-second Shoshinkai 1995 reel, where Link fights a metallic swordsman.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was first presented as a technical and thematic demonstration video at Nintendo's Shoshinkai trade show in December 1995. Similar to the first The Legend of Zelda, the game was concurrently developed by Nintendo EAD with another Super Mario title, in this case, Super Mario 64.

Nintendo's original plan was to release The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time as a flagship title for the Nintendo 64DD peripheral.[1] However, at some point during its early development, Nintendo decided to migrate The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time from disk to cartridge media and follow its release with a 64DD expansion disk.[2]

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was eventually released on a 32-megabyte cartridge. At the time, it was the largest game that Nintendo had ever created.[3] Early in development, the developers were concerned about the cartridge's data storage constraints; in the worst-case scenario, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time would follow a similar structure to Super Mario 64, with Link restricted to Ganon's Castle as a central hub and using a portal system similar to the paintings from Super Mario 64. The Forest Temple boss, Phantom Ganon, was an idea carried over during that point in development, as shown from him riding on a horse through the paintings.[4]

An early screenshot of Link inside a castle, circa 1997, possibly a reflection of Miyamoto's original idea of a castle.

Shigeru Miyamoto was a producer and supervisor behind The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and was in charge of several directors.[5] The game was handled by multiple directors, a newly adopted strategy by Nintendo EAD at the time. The four or five initial teams grew in number over time, each working on the various aspects of the game.[6]

Miyamoto intended the game, a "medieval tale of sword and sorcery", to be in the chanbara genre of Japanese sword fighting. More than 120 people were involved in the game's development, including stunt performers for capturing the effects of sword fighting and Link's movement.[7] Miyamoto initially intended The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time to be played in a first-person perspective to enable players to better take in the vast terrain of Hyrule Field and allow the team to more easily focus on developing enemies and environments. The concept was abandoned once the idea of a child Link was introduced, and Miyamoto believed it was necessary for Link to have on-screen visibility.[8]

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time originally ran on the same engine as Super Mario 64, but was so heavily modified that Miyamoto considers both games to have entirely different engines.[9] A major difference with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time's modified engine is camera control, which is automatically controlled by the game. Miyamoto explained that the camera controls are intended to reflect a focus on the game's world, contrary to Super Mario 64's, which are centered around Mario.[10]

With The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Miyamoto wanted to create a game that was cinematic, yet distinguished from films. Takumi Kawagoe, who creates cutscenes for Nintendo, said that he intended to give players the feeling that they were in control of the action.[11] The cutscenes were originally created using prerendered images, and a few months before the game's completion, Miyamoto decided that the cinematics should have real-time processing. His vision required the real-time architecture for the total of more than 90 minutes of cutscenes, regardless of whether the console had a vast medium like CD-ROM on which to store prerendered versions. Miyamoto stated the real-time rendering engine allowed his small team of 3 to 7 cinematic developers to rapidly adjust the storyline and to focus on developing additional gameplay elements even up to the final few months of development, instead of waiting on a repeated prerendering process.[10]

Anticipation and release

In March 1998, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was the most anticipated Nintendo 64 game in Japan.[12] Throughout the late 1990s, people believed that the Nintendo 64 was critically lacking in first-party hit releases. The August 1998 issue of Next Generation magazine stated that "Nintendo absolutely can't afford another holiday season without a real marquee title" and that Zelda was "one of the most anticipated games of the decade", upon which the Nintendo 64's fate depended. At E3 1998, Nintendo of America's chairman Howard Lincoln insisted that The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time would be shipped on time and would become the company's reinvigorating blockbuster akin to a hit Hollywood movie.

The game had such high demand that Electronics Boutique stopped taking preorders on November 3, 1998.[13] Customers in North America who managed to pre-order the game received a limited edition box with a golden plastic card affixed, reading "Collector's Edition". This edition contained a gold-colored cartridge, which the first two The Legend of Zelda titles on the Nintendo Entertainment System had.

In the United States alone, over 500,000 preorders were placed, more than tripling the number of preorders for any previous games, and more than a million copies were sold in the country in less than a week.[14] By the end of 1998, 2.5 million copies of the game were sold, and Nintendo racked in about $150 million in revenue, higher than that of any Hollywood blockbuster films released around the same time.[15] In Japan, 820,000 copies were sold in 1998, becoming the tenth best-selling game of that year.[16] In the United Kingdom, 61,232 copies were sold during its first weekend.[14] During its lifetime, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time sold 1.14 million copies in Japan,[17] and 7.6 million copies worldwide.[18]


In 2002, the game was directly ported on the Nintendo GameCube with the same title, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. The GameCube version featured the original game and the newly-included Master Quest mode.

In 2003, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was included as one of the four playable The Legend of Zelda games on the compilation, The Legend of Zelda: Collector's Edition. That same year, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was released as a launch title for the iQue Player. Many years later, it was discovered that a traditional Chinese version was under development for the iQue Player in 2006 (as evidenced from the title screen), but this was ultimately cancelled for unknown reasons.[19]

In February 2007, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was released on the Wii's Virtual Console, priced at 1,000 Wii Points. A five-minute demo of the game can be unlocked in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. In 2015, the game was ported to the Wii U's Virtual Console, and it restored the original controller vibrations absent from the Wii Virtual Console version.

Version differences

A notable change from NTSC version 1.1 (left) to version 1.2 (right) is Ganondorf's blood was updated from red to green, making it appear to simply be vomit.
A notable change from NTSC version 1.1 (left) to version 1.2 (right) is Ganondorf's blood was updated from red to green, making it appear to simply be vomit.
A notable change from NTSC version 1.1 (left) to version 1.2 (right) is Ganondorf's blood was updated from red to green, making it appear to simply be vomit.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time saw five revisions for its Nintendo 64 release, three in NTSC regions (Japan and North America) and two in PAL regions (Europe). The North American and and Japanese versions are almost identical except for a single byte which determines the language of the game (either English or Japanese). Each of the Nintendo 64 versions have a build date prior to the game's first release.[20]

The NTSC version 1.0 is the earliest retail version of the game. The Not For Resale versions are identical to NTSC's 1.0, and the gold cartridge releases are almost always a version 1.0, likely because they were provided to those who pre-ordered the game. NTSC 1.1 mainly fixed bugs and on-screen text issues, including minor grammatical fixes, and also changed the boot-up Nintendo 64 graphic to look glossier and less bright.

NTSC version 1.2 had some more noticeable changes. The PAL versions 1.0 and 1.1 are similar to this version.

  • Ganondorf and Ganon's blood was changed from crimson to green, in one instance changing a spitting-up-blood animation into a simple vomiting one.
  • Replacing the Fire Temple theme, which contained a sample of an Islamic prayer chant, with a remix of the Shadow Temple's theme. Contrary to popular belief, the chant was not removed in response to public outcry, but rather because Nintendo discovered that they violated their own policy to not include religious content in their games. The sample originated from a commercially available sound library, but the developers were unaware of its Islamic references.[21]
  • A glitch where the player can drop Bombs down on Bongo-Bongo before the battle was fixed. This glitch caused Bongo-Bongo to be invisible throughout most of the battle.
  • Some minor text changes and improvements were done to the dialogue.

The GameCube port of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is based on NTSC 1.2 but with even some more changes, most noticeably regarding the GameCube controller.

  • The game's internal resolution has doubled from 320x240 to 640x480.
  • The crescent moon & star symbols that appear on dungeon blocks, Gerudo signs, and the Mirror Shield were changed to the Gerudo symbol from The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. The reason for this change is most likely because it strongly resembles the symbol of Islam. This change was kept intact for all subsequent releases, including the Nintendo 3DS remake.
  • The game has an improved framerate, and the crash debugger was removed.
  • The controller icons and related text were changed to correspond to the GameCube controller. This caused the color of the B button in the Inventory to change from green to red and the A button to change from blue to green. The Nintendo 64's Z button was remapped to the GameCube's L button, and therefore Z-Targeting was renamed to "L-Targeting". These changes were not added into the iQue Player release and the Virtual Console ports.


Wii Shop Channel

North America

"The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time reveals the genesis of the fantasy land of Hyrule, the origin of the Triforce, and the tale of the first exploits of Princess Zelda and the heroic adventurer Link. Vibrant, real-time 3-D graphics transport you into the fantasy world of Hyrule. Your quest takes you through dense forests and across wind-whipped deserts. Swim raging rivers, climb treacherous mountains, dash on horseback across rolling hills, and delve into dungeons full of creatures that fight to the finish to put an end to your adventures. With immersive graphics, a sweeping story line, swashbuckling adventure, mind-bending puzzles, and a touch of humor, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is one of Nintendo's most epic challenges ever."


"Released to an eager audience in 1998, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time became an instant smash and quickly established itself as one of the greatest games ever made.

As the legendary hero Link, you must journey across Hyrule, and even through time itself, to thwart the plans of Ganondorf. You’ll wield weapons and gadgets galore, battle enormous bosses and solve brain-busting puzzles, which are among the best ever seen in the Zelda series.

Ocarina of Time brilliantly adapted the 2D, top-down style of classic Zelda adventures into 3D, becoming a textbook example of game design that is still followed today.

But the appeal of ‘Ocarina’ lies not only in its cinematic visuals or groundbreaking combat system; it also impresses with its epic storyline, memorable characters, superbly designed dungeons and rich variety of gameplay. Quite simply, it’s a masterpiece!"

Wii U Shop Channel

North America

"The Legend of Zelda™: Ocarina of Time™—one of the most critically acclaimed games ever made—returns on Nintendo eShop for Wii U™. Set off on a legendary journey to stop Ganondorf, who has plunged Hyrule into darkness. Travel through time as child and adult Link™, and experience Hyrule in peace and war to save the world and protect the Triforce.

Your quest takes you through dense forests and across wind-whipped deserts. Swim raging rivers, climb treacherous mountains, dash on horseback across rolling hills, and delve into dungeons full of creatures that fight to the finish to put an end to your adventures. As Link, you’ll also travel through time to solve puzzles, save friends, and right Ganondorf’s wrongs with help from your trusty Ocarina of Time and the mysterious youth Sheik. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is one of Nintendo's most epic challenges ever and one of its most touching stories. It is an absolute must-play for Nintendo fans."


"Join legendary hero Link as he journeys across Hyrule, and even through time, to thwart the plans of Ganondorf. Wield incredible weapons and items, battle ferocious bosses, and solve brain-teasing puzzles, in this acclaimed chapter of the Zelda series.

Whether you’re experiencing it for the first time or not, the original Nintendo 64 version is a treasure of gaming history; introducing ground-breaking new 3D visuals, plus a highly influential combat system and a captivating story. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is a masterpiece!"


For this subject's image gallery, see The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time/gallery.

Names in other languages

Language Name Meaning
Japanese ゼルダの伝説 時のオカリナ
Zeruda no Densetsu: Toki no Okarina
Chinese (Simplified) 塞尔达传说:时光之笛 (logo)
塞尔达的传说 (internal name)
Sàiěrdá Chuánshuō: Shíguāng zhī Dí (logo)
︎Sàiěrdá de Chuánshuō
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
The Legend of Zelda
Chinese (Traditional) 塞爾達傳說:時光之笛 (logo)
塞尔达传说:时光之笛 (internal name)
Sàiěrdá Chuánshuō: Shíguāng zhī Dí
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time


  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is the last The Legend of Zelda series title to have a cover with only the title logo on a beige background.

External links