Games Inbox: Zelda: Ocarina Of Time turns 25 – best game ever made?


Still the GOAT? (Picture: Nintendo)

The Tuesday letters page asks whether video games can get so old they’re no longer playable, as one reader recalls Fable 2’s episodic release.

To join in with the discussions yourself email gamecentral@metro.co.uk

25 years young
Anyone that doesn’t want to feel old better buckle themselves down because get this, Zelda: Ocarina Of Time turned 25 on Monday. It wasn’t released in the UK until December 11 but officially the game is now 25 years old. How time flies, eh? Nowadays a different Zelda game is regarded as the best game ever made but for me it will always be Ocarina Of Time.

I think I was in my early 20s when I first played it. I had been relatively indifferent to video games up to that point. I’d enjoyed them, owned a Mega Drive, and played with friends but it wasn’t something I was all that interested in. I played Ocarina Of Time on a cousin’s N64 and I was blown away. The graphics, the scale, and the open-endedness of it all… it blew me away.

It wasn’t just a tech demo though. Everything was so intricately designed and fun that it’s still playable today. However, I do feel it’s time for a full remake. For me this is the perfect way to go back to the traditional formula, while continuing the new style with the mainline games.

I would’ve aimed for the 25th anniversary, really, and perhaps Nintendo were before the pandemic, but I think it’s important because, as GC were discussing with the Atari 2600+, games can get so old that they’re hard to appreciate unless you played them originally. I don’t want Ocarina Of Time to be like that and I’d like to see it reclaim its crown as best game ever from Breath Of The Wild.
Zidane

You had to be there
Your Atari 2600+ review (and somewhat related to this week’s Hot Topic) made me think of a question for younger GameCentral readers, let’s say anyone born this century: What do you think of older games and how far back can you go and still find them enjoyable?

I was born in 1990 and our first gaming system was a Commodore 64, quickly followed by a Mega Drive. It was amazing to watch gaming go from basic to more detailed 2D, the start of 3D games with the N64 and PS1, the start of console online play with Xbox Live, and into the modern HD era.

I consider myself somewhat of a retro gamer these days (I have a mini NES, SNES, and Mega Drive and Wii/GameCube set up and play them as much as my Switch) but I find that games older than the NES are just too dated to be enjoyable (e.g. Atari 2600 games).
I also find most PS1 games difficult to enjoy these days due to the muddy 3D graphics. I’m curious to know if my retro tastes are simply due to what I grew up with or if, e.g. GameCube games are still fun for younger gamers.
Barry

Daily grind
Pay to play has been around for a long time already. Especially games like World Of Warcraft and other MMOs. I remember paying £50 for Wrath Of The Litch King all the way back then. On top of that, £9 for 30 days play time. But the game was constantly updated and new content was made and produced long after the game was released.

If GTA 6 Online would have a subscription service I’m betting it’d still sell millions of copies at £70 and have enough people playing. If I’m honest, the one thing that put me off GTA Online was the amount of grind required so they could sell those ridiculous Shark cards.

I went back a few times to do some of the new content but felt like the grind up was always too much. If they cut down the grind and keep the content coming out. It’ll be a perfect solution for people who want to dip in and out of the online component.
Anon

E-mail your comments to: gamecentral@metro.co.uk

Short and sweet
After finishing Spider-Man 2 I decided to dip back into a New Game+ playthrough on Miles Morales and have to say that while I loved Spider-Man 2 and it’s almost assured a place in my top three games for 2023, I am of the opinion that Miles Morales is actually the better all-round experience and better game.

For me, Spider-Man 2 is really let down by the final third, where it becomes boss fight after boss fight and the main story becomes something of an afterthought, whereas Miles Morales manages to stay coherent all the whole way through, as a result of it being a much tighter experience.
Rickandrolla

GC: We’re not sure you’re wrong.

Papa John’s Hearty Mushroom Skewer
One part of the Sony deal with Nintendo on the Zelda movie, which hasn’t been touched upon, is the conflict of corporate interests that’ll possibly bring about some interesting Easter egging. Anyone who’s sat through some of Sony Pictures’ output knows how cynical and blatant some of their product placement can be. Just watch Ghostbusters 2016 and whatever the last one was called to see, not only their own products but also large food chains, etc. in full view.

However, I can’t see Nintendo not dropping in their own product placement and nods to Nintendo history. Hopefully all this corporate shenanigans will lead to some bizarre compromises. An Ellie lookalike Zelda in a Walmart themed Kakariko Village browsing the Nintendo Switch PlayStations, where the miniature Stay Puft marshmallow men are dressed as Goombas. Ganondorf eating Korok Seed flavoured Pringles on top of a Sony VAIO.

As long as there’s no Paul Blart: Mall Cop references I’ll lap it all up willingly.
Wonk
PS: No trailer for a Knack movie either.

Bricks and mortar
Like Chris, I had a Steam account I needed to recover when I purchased a new MacBook. It had been many years and my bank card number has changed a few times, yet Steam were asking for me to provide the last four digits and wouldn’t accept anything else.

Thankfully, a visit to my local bank branch paid off as they were able to go back and retrieve old card numbers to about 10 years or so, if I remember correctly, so I supplied Steam with these numbers and they finally accepted that it was my account. Hope this helps.
Chaosphere616

Bit missing
Not gonna lie, I’m disappointed in you. So, this week’s Hot Topic is for 16-bit games… brilliant! As someone who started gaming in the 8-bit era I have many fond memories of gaming on my Amiga.

Wait what? What do you mean it’s consoles, arcade, or PC only? I’m sure it’s an oversight GC, but I reckon us Amiga and ST owners are now feeling unloved by our favourite gaming website.

Anyway, as long as you promise that you still love us old Amiga gamers and our old format is allowed, I reckon it’s one I can definitely contribute to.

Yours feeling left out.
The Dude Abides

GC: We’ve let ourselves down.

Fabled download
Mastadonner’s article over the weekend was pretty interesting, but the idea for how a new pay-for-what-you-play model could work reminded me of a similar idea that was actually partially implemented but now has pretty much been forgotten. So yeah, remember when Fable 2 was released episodically in 2009? The first episode was free and let you progress all the way to the gates of Bowerstone, which were paywalled (paygated?) off, so that gave you like two hours worth of the game for free.

The idea was you could purchase episode 2 or purchase the full game to continue the story. I think they released episode 2 but they never got to episode 3 (it was meant to have 5 episodes if I recall correctly) and the whole idea was abandoned pretty quickly.

I think the main reason it failed was because most people who played episode 1 had decided by the time they got to the end of it whether they wanted to play the rest of the game. At that point you could pick up a copy preowned for like £15-20, so folk weren’t gonna shell out the £40 for a full digital copy or whatever the price was going to be for all the episodes. So yeah, Zelick may want to look into this as a case study for what not to do with a model like this.
Sunny

GC: You’re right, we had forgotten all about that. It’s an interesting comparison, although buying anything other than indie games digitally was rare at that point.

Shi is four
Just learned that Shadow Of The Colossus was originally going to be an online multiplayer game and that the working title for it was Nico (Japanese for two + Ico).

Trico in The Last Guardian was named for similar reasons – I’d never put that together before. Thought a few others may also find that interesting!
Julian

Good clean fun
Rolled credits on Spider-Man 2 yesterday and overall had a fabulous time doing so. The story is the high point (no spoilers here!) with the usual completely OTT superhero goings on mixed in with a quite touching story about friendship. I think merging a story ostensibly about an eight foot Russian running amok and an alien symbiote with some genuinely emotional beats involving the main characters is no mean feat. Insomniac struck an excellent balance I thought, and the 20+ hours it took me to get through the story were never dull.

The biggest improvements on the original to me were the side activities, which are varied in both gameplay terms and also size of task, with a couple of the meatier stories very worthwhile indeed, and yet a couple of them being nice two minute palette cleaners between main missions. The other improvement was the traversal – already the best bit of the game – the addition of web wings and the spider-jump adds in a sort of mini-game where you try not to touch any building or the ground as you swing, dive, and glide your round the map as fast as possible. The fast travel is incredible, but I never wanted to use it at all.

I’m not the greatest fan of the combat, which I think is perfectly fine, but always felt like a slight chore to me, so I ended up putting the enemy health down a touch in the (extensive) difficulty options. Despite that, it still took me 20 hours to finish the story, which got me thinking about that Reader’s Feature where the author beat the game in 14 hours and then wrote about how short it was.

14 hours is an incredible rush to be in for that game, and if anyone did read it and be put off by the length for the price, I would say that is not particularly close to the experience most people will have.

Overall, the game reminded me of a Mission Impossible or James Bond film. Tremendous fun and very well made action flicks but they won’t trouble the Oscar’s ceremony Best Film category – and there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that. Sometimes you just want to have fun and Spider-Man 2 certainly delivered that for me.
Henshin Agogo

GC: All he needed to do is turn down the difficulty, like you did, and you could probably rip through it even more quickly. And no, we don’t see the point either.

Inbox also-rans
The Wolverine game already seems very edge lord to me. Does this mean we’re not going to see him in yellow spandex? I’ve never understood the desire to take superheroes seriously. I hope he gets to fight Stilt Man or Paste-Pot Pete or someone.
Asbeston

Speaking of not having any idea whether games have done well or not I have no clue about Borderlands 3. It seemed to come and go very quickly but I’m assuming it sold good?
Cliffy

GC: It’s sold over 18 million copies, which is very good for a game which, as you say, nobody ever seemed to talk about much.

This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader JesseM, who asks what is your favourite 16-bit video game?

So as to not get bogged down in technical details, we’ll accept any game from a fourth generation home console, so that includes the Mega Drive, SNES, PC Engine, Neo Geo, and peripherals like the Mega-CD. We’ll also accept any PC games or coin-ops released between 1987 and 1993, plus the Amiga and Atari ST home computers.

What is it you like about the era and how do you think its best games stand up to modern titles? Does your favourite have a modern day equivalent and if not what would you imagine it’d be like?

E-mail your comments to: gamecentral@metro.co.uk

The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length and content.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time via email or our Submit Stuff page, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

You can also leave your comments below and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter.


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