Nintendo 3DS

Shigeru Miyamoto On Why The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Is Revered


The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time on the Nintendo 64 (1998).


A lot of people consider The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time to be one of the best games ever made, but ask Zelda creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, as to why that is, and he may not have an answer for you right away.


Nintendo president, Satoru Iwata, posed the question to Miyamoto in another recent “Iwata Asks” interview, this time dealing with Ocarina of Time 3D for the Nintendo 3DS. One reason for Ocarina’s popularity, Iwata personally feels, is that it contained a lot of “first experiences” for its time.


“The foundation lies in the puzzles that have appeared in The Legend of Zelda franchise since the first game,” Miyamoto suggested, on his part. “It’s taking that traditional series material and skillfully transposing it to 3D that really makes the game The Legend of Zelda. When we took series elements and used 3D composition, things just got more and more interesting.”


The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D on the Nintendo 3DS (2011).


“It was the most primitive, and the freest. That’s all there is to it,” he continued. “It isn’t that subsequent games lost that freedom, only that the games which were put out later simply had more things which needed to have attention paid to them.”


“Of course,” he said, “even Ocarina had traditional elements dating up to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past for the Super Nintendo, so it wasn’t completely free. It’s just that it was the first 3D Zelda game, and we were able to explore what would be most interesting about making it in 3D without worrying about much else. I think that may be a big part of it.”


Miyamoto feels that, in this sense, Ocarina of Time is similar to the first Star Wars movie (commonly dubbed “A New Hope”). It isn’t that the movies that followed it weren’t good, but being the first of its kind made it special.

Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.