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The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time is 22 years old today. What's left to say about this generation-defining Nintendo 64 classic? What plaudits can be heaped upon this timeless diamond of a game that it hasn't already received hundreds of times over? Even two decades after its release, it remains one of the rarest of all things - something that gamers can actually agree on.
Even if you no longer think Ocarina Of Time is the Greatest Video Game Of All Time, there's a very strong chance that at one point in your life you did think it was. At a certain stage, I'm willing to bet you really, genuinely believed Link's first 3D adventure was as good as gaming was ever going to get, and that all other video games should just pack it in.
After all, how could anything else ever compare with the splendour of stepping out onto Hyrule Field for the first time? Of freeing Epona from a greedy rancher and thundering towards the sunset on her back? Of standing in the middle of a volcano and performing a duet with a mysterious stranger? Ocarina Of Time is a game made up of countless perfectly constructed moments that, just like the patchwork sky hanging over Hyrule, were knitted together to create something truly awe-inspiring.
Of course even with all those moments no doubt ingrained into your memory for the rest of your life, you've probably moved on from thinking Ocarina Of The Time is the very best game ever made. It's been 22 years after all, and the likes of Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft have all managed to surprise and innovate in their own ways.
But even then, even if you've stopped believing that Ocarina Of Time is the best it can get, there's no way you've let the way it made you feel at the time out of your heart. There's no way you've stopped thinking that it will always, no matter what, be one of the greatest video games ever made.
You only need to look at reviews aggregator Metacritic's greatest video games of all time to understand the real impact Ocarina Of Time had on the industry. To a generation of kids like me who experienced this grand 3D adventure for the first time with young eyes, it was an absolute game-changer, understandably. But to the grown-up critics and industry professionals? Well, they saw it exactly as the rest of us did: As something really, properly magical.
For the past 22 years, Ocarina Of Time has sat at the very top of Metacritic's highest-rated list. For over two decades the classic been completely unmoved, and is the only video game in history with a ranking of 99. It's in good company too, and sits just above modern classics like GTA V, and Super Mario Galaxy.
I don't know if Ocarina Of Time will always be considered the all-timer that it's still seen as. I also don't know if there's another video game that will ever match the immediate critical response that was heaped onto it and is now forever enshrined on Metacritic. All I do know is that after 22 years, Ocarina Of Time still burns bright in the hearts and minds of an entire generation - and that is the greatest testament to its enduring quality and legacy that I can think of.
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