In 2014 the world record for beating Ocarina of Time in the fastest time possible was broken several times. This included the recent New Year run by Jodenstone, who beat the game in an impressive 18 minutes and 7 seconds.
Whenever we’ve posted news about this type of record, we receive a lot of comments that beating the game this fast shouldn’t be possible. For anyone who’s played Ocarina of Time it certainly seems ludicrous, and in fact it wouldn’t be possible without exploiting a series of glitches in the game. Some gamers get upset and consider this cheating when they hear this, so it’s important to point out that there are actually several different world records for Ocarina of Time and other Zelda titles based on the way that the game is played.
Trying to beat a game as quickly as possible is known as speedrunning. For some gamers, it’s a way to add an extra challenge to a game that they may have played dozens of times. In similar ways, some people try to challenge themselves to beat a game with only three hearts or without obtaining certain items. Racing through a game may sound easy, but speedrunners dedicate a lot of time towards finding the fastest path through levels, the most efficient ways to jump, move and attack, and looking for shortcuts to speed up their time. The difference between a new record and a failed attempt may come down to a single mistake, so the game needs to be played flawlessly.
The 18 minute 7 second record for Ocarina of Time falls into a category where speedrunners use glitches or errors in the game’s code to skip through large portions of it, completing as little of the game as possible in order to reach the end. For example, when Jodenstone encounters Queen Gohma, the boss of the first dungeon, he uses a glitch to beat her very quickly. He backs into a corner, waits for Gohma to approach, throws a Deku Nut at her and then backflips, sending Link through the wall. He then slashes through the wall with a Deku Stick until Gohma dies on the other side. Even more remarkably, after Gohma is defeated he performs a series of moves that activates another glitch which takes him straight into collapsing Ganon’s Tower, thereby allowing him to bypass almost the entire game. Learning all of these glitches has taken speedrunners years of trial and error, and when a new one is discovered it can take minutes off the fastest time. Two years ago, at the start of 2013, the fastest run for Ocarina of Time was around 24 minutes.
Glitching through a game is one thing, but there’s also a category for finishing a game as quickly as possible without using any glitches. The current Ocarina of Time world record of 3 hours, 46 minutes and 8 seconds was set in November last year by enu.
Finally, some gamers race to finish the game as fast as possible while also completing it 100%. This record currently stands at 4 hours, 28 minutes and 22 seconds for Ocarina of Time and was set by ZFG. In order to set a record for completing the game 100%, speedrunners must:
- Obtain 20 Hearts
- Learn all songs
- Collect all 100 Golden Skulltulas
- Obtain Double Defense and Double Magic
- Obtain the Gerudo Card and Stone of Agony
- Obtain the Giant’s Wallet
- Obtain all items on the Item Select Subscreen (e.g. Din’s Fire, Boomerang)
- Obtain all equipment on the Equipment Subscreen (e.g. Goron Tunic, Hover Boots, Golden Scale)
- Obtain all Spiritual Stones and Medallions (e.g. Zora’s Sapphire, Shadow Medallion)
- Complete the game (reach the credits)
Certain tools can also be used to complete a game faster, including emulators and save states. These are known as tool-assisted speedruns. However these are often not allowed when setting official world records as they’re less about the skill of the gamer. ZeldaSpeedRuns has a strict set of rules that must be followed in order to speedrun a Zelda game in a particular category.
Speedrunning may not be for everyone, but before you dismiss it why not see how quickly you can beat your favorite Zelda game? Rather than not being able to enjoy the game you may just be surprised at how much you learn about it.