What's the best way to play Ocarina of Time in 2020?
September 15, 2020 8:27 PM   Subscribe

What's the best way to play Ocarina of Time in 2020? I seem to gather that at least a couple versions exist (N64/3DS ?), and that it may be possible to play either using some PC emulation software or by buying some old hardware. What are the options/considerations?
posted by Perplexity to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
PC emulation software is really, really good. Modern Vintage Gamer has a good roundup. There's a lot to consider depending on how you define "best" and yes I'm not trying to be difficult:

1. If color accuracy and original performance are important you'll want an old N64 with a CRT. This is actually a real thing with some games not really performing on a CRT well and companies like Nintendo even not knowing the real color palette of Mario. I cannot speak to Ocarina of Time but I assume if it is anything like Mario then even on Nintendo sanctioned hardware you'll get slight differences. I have a standup Galaga arcade that I bought at Wal-Mart. Cool but no CRT and it lacks the Galaga cheat. Emulation is made by purists and if there's something you're not remembering being there or otherwise missing, someone most likely has a fix for you.

2. Emulation also corrects things through shaders and add-ons. This is a bit of the inverse of my first point but there's a lot of things that will make a game like Ocarina of Time look better on modern hardware if you're not a purist.

3. Hyperkin and Retrobit have controllers for the N64 though Hyperkin seems to be out of stock right now. For some reason the popular controllers have an offset analog stick, I don't know why.

Personally? I'd stay away from any Nintendo or official solutions which is a shame but the emulation community has been around for along time and their stuff just works. I have a lot of fun playing with saved game states, cheats etc. I also found myself playing obscure titles I'd never touch. I would pick a USB/bluetooth controller and try out one of the many emulators and go from there. If you like it on your laptop you can splurge for a cheap computer to hook up to a television for something more permanent.

If you really get hooked you'll probably want to eventually just get an N64 with an Everdrive cart and CRT. The biggest gap for me really is missing the CRT.
posted by geoff. at 9:24 PM on September 15

If you already have a 3ds go for that one. Then, the GameCube version imo.

If you just want someone else’s opinion instead of playing it yourself, https://youtu.be/CfSpjJnFDPQ I like this guys reviews of games.

This guy goes into extensive differences on the versions: https://youtu.be/xXvP1s9UjJI
posted by bbqturtle at 5:08 AM on September 16

I've been playing OoT on my old Wii and having a blast. I dunno about "better," but since it plays GameCube games* that gives you access to anything you'd want to play on the GC plus stuff that was released for the better hardware in the Wii; Twilight Princess comes to mind...

*You have to use a GC controller, and at least in the case of OoT, a GC memory card; the Wii controllers and internal/SD memory will not work with it.
posted by solotoro at 5:22 AM on September 16

I bought this. It rules, and is just about the simplest solution out there.
posted by sevensnowflakes at 7:31 AM on September 16

The 3DS port features some quality of life improvements. Otems assigned to the bottom screen, making it a much quicker process to swap the iron boots in the water temple. There's motion control for the bow, which is nice except when you're trying to play on the bus! There are updated textures and animations, if you'd like that sort of thing. Also just being able to open the console and continue the game without having to wait for the loading sequence is pretty great.
posted by StarkRoads at 9:49 AM on September 16

Emulation is a hassle. You're looking at spending hours and hours to get the right emulator to run, and then any kind of glitches will make you want to reconfigure everything. And those $20 N64 controllers are basically garbage. I bought one and it was DOA, and I spent a few hours trying to get it to work at all. The tricky part is the analog stick. But you have to have one, because the N64 controller is weird and has more buttons than standard.

If playing it exactly as you would in 1998 is important for some reason, buy a N64 and a old TV, but if you just want to enjoy the game get the 3DS version and maybe a 2DS XL. I love 3D stuff, but the 3D on a 3DS isn't very comfortable for hours on end.
posted by andrewzipp at 10:19 AM on September 16 [1 favorite]

Personally I'd try for a 3DS / 2DS and the recent re-release. I played it earlier this year and it was excellent, plus I lean toward playing things on their original hardware rather than emulating. Sometimes.

But! What I really wanted to note is that retro games and hardware are in high demand on places like eBay right now, so if price is a factor you may want to find a local reseller (classifieds?) or wait a while before hunting down all the parts you'll need.

(*source: over the past few months I've been auctioning parts of my old collection, and they're ending much higher than I'd anticipated)
posted by Monster_Zero at 12:26 PM on September 16

I played through it for the first time on the 3DS version, and conversations with people who were familiar with the N64 one made it clear that the QoL stuff it adds is worth it. If you've got the 3DS/2DS hardware already, I'd vote for that as the best way to go.
posted by wanderingmind at 12:39 PM on September 16

N-thing the 3DS version. It's pretty great.
posted by tacodave at 5:52 PM on September 16

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