Just as Super Mario 64 helped solidify much of the Mushroom Kingdom’s identity, Ocarina of Time brought a lot to the table in terms of Zelda’s mythology. How fans generally expect Hyrule to look, sound, and feel is largely derived from Link’s first 3D adventure. For instance, most of the series’ iconic, recurring races — the Gorons, the Gerudo, the non-river Zoras — made their debut in Ocarina of Time. The game even serves as the root of the franchise’s three-way timeline split!

With so much of the Zelda mythos stemming from things that were established in Ocarina of Time, what is the game’s greatest contribution to the lore as a whole? As impactful as the timeline split has been — and as much as it has captured my imagination throughout the years — my favorite thing that this game brought to the larger Zelda universe has been Ganondorf himself.

Although the Gerudo king was briefly mentioned in A Link to the Past, his proper introduction on the N64 paved the way for he who has become my favorite video game villain. From Ocarina’s sorcerer-thief, driven by power, to The Wind Waker’s wiser enemy, humbled by defeat, to Twilight Princess’s godlike conqueror, fueled by revenge, we seem to see a different side to this guy every time he shows up. It helps a ton, too, that — unlike Link and Zelda — the Ganondorf we see, with the exception of his reincarnation in Four Swords Adventures, is the same man throughout the entire series.

What about you? Which of Ocarina of Time’s contributions to Hyrule’s history books has had the greatest impact on you? Let us know in the comments below!

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