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3 Articles - 3 Days: A Legend 10 Years In The Making

Ocarina of Time Ten Years Later
Written by: The King of Hyrule

Since its Japanese release on November 21, 1998, Ocarina of Time has captured the gaming community. It quickly rose to the top, and now ten years later it is receiving awards for staying there. Today marks the tenth anniversary of Ocarina of Time’s release in Europe, and to celebrate it I thought it would be good to go over the awards and recognition Ocarina of Time has received for being the best of the best, all of which is very well deserved.

Even before its release, Ocarina of Time was predicted to be great. It was in development for roughly three years after its announcement, and it was well worth the wait. As predicted, the game took the community by storm. Fans and non-fans alike were blown away by the complexity and the attention to detail in Ocarina of Time. Things like this and others, especially the game’s graphics, 3D environment, and its storyline drew in people from all corners of the gaming community. For many, Ocarina of Time was the first game they ever played; for others, it was a long-awaited step up from anything else out on the market at the time.

Ocarina of Time hit stores and went fast. With just 39 days left of 1998, Ocarina of Time sold 2.5 million copies, and it lead to one of the biggest game-release achievements of all time. Ocarina of Time instantly became the best-selling game of the year, and in just one short month after its release Ocarina of Time was honored at the Japan Media Arts Festival with the Grand Prize in the Interactive Art division. But that’s not all.

As the game made its rounds, the scores came in. Ocarina of Time was declared as brilliant and revolutionary, and was praised on all levels. The reviewers pointed out the greatness of its detail, environment and landscape, camera controls, innovative features, sound, and overall gameplay mechanics, just to name a few. The game received a perfect score from over fifteen qualified online and in-print reviews, including IGN (10/10), GameSpot (10/10), Edge Magazine (5/5), Famitsu (40/40), Electronic Gaming Monthly (10/10), and Thunderbolt Games (10/10). There were quite a number of perfect reviews for Ocarina of Time (too many to list here), not to mention all of the Zelda fan sites’ reviews. Anyways, you get the picture. Ocarina of Time was extremely well received and was praised day and in day out.

Early the following year, Ocarina of Time took home a whopping six awards at the Second Annual Interactive Achievement Awards, including its proudly-worn “Game of the Year” award, for which a small but noticeable icon was placed on the retail game box of Ocarina of Time. The other five awards were “Console Game of the Year,” “Console Adventure Game of the Year,” “Console RPG of the Year,” “Outstanding Achievement in Interactive Design,” and “Outstanding Achievement in Software Engineering.”

Well that’s all well and great if I was writing an article about Ocarina of Time’s achievements when it was released. However, this article is about where Ocarina of Time stands in the rankings ten years later. To be honest, not much has changed.

Ocarina of Time is the one and only game to have risen to the top and have stayed there. It conquered the top spot on GameRankings’s top game list and only rarely is it ever challenged. Ocarina of Time also holds the record for the highest ranked game on GameRankings in the categories of N64 Ranking, All 1998 Releases, and all N64 1998 Releases. It is also one of the few games ever to be given a perfect score by the always-strict Edge Magazine. Ocarina of Time has twice been name the best game of all time in Nintendo Power’s two countdowns of the top 100 and 200 games in their 100th and 200th issues, respectively. Ocarina of Time received the top spot in GameTrailers’s Ten Best and Worst Games of All Time in 2007, and was acknowledged as the greatest game in a G4 Top Games countdown. Ocarina of Time has appeared and often topped many more “top games” lists, including lists from Electronic Gaming Monthly and an IGN list, and a number of various category-specific AOL Games listings. Who would have thought that years after its release Ocarina of Time would still be considered to be among the best, if not THE best.

Finally, I would like to touch briefly on the aggregated scores for Ocarina of Time’s lifetime. A score aggregator, such as GameRankings, takes all of the reviews for a game from the major game sites and averages the scores together and gives you a percentage ranking out of 100. There are many such sites out there, but the two most prominent are GameRankings and Metacritic. Over at Metacritic Ocarina of Time has an aggregated score of 99% judging from 22 reviews, whereas Ocarina of Time has compiled a score of 97.6% from 31 reviews at GameRankings. As mentioned earlier, Ocarina of Time stands at the top of GameRankings’s list of the highest rated games of all time, and has been there so long that it is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest highest ranked game.

Ten years later here we are. We’re in an age where video games look like filmed video, and the games are so intense and life-like that it is amazing that we can still sit back and honor a game that seems miniscule by today’s standards. But the success of Ocarina of Time involved so much more than just good graphics and easy controls; the game has heart. It sounds cheesy, I knew, but it is a darn good comparison. That heart is still alive and well today, and is beating all the faster as it continues to receive praise and honors ten years later. No other game has accomplished this, and chances are it will be a long time until another one does, if any other game can.

So until then, let’s just sit back, relax, and enjoy some of the greatest game of all time on its tenth anniversary. Here’s to ten more successful years: happy birthday Ocarina of Time.


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