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Super Mario 64 Is More Connected To Zelda: Ocarina Of Time Than We Thought

Nintendo's "The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time" and "Super Mario 64" are among the best games on the Nintendo 64. They defined a generation of gamers, with their influence still being felt today. And for many gamers, the two ground-breaking titles feel like two halves of a whole in retrospect. And that isn't a coincidence. Because the two games were in development simultaneously, they share many similarities. This includes significant gameplay mechanics that were only possible on the Nintendo 64 — but they're more connected than even that.


Many gamers are already aware that references to "Ocarina of Time," such as The Song of Storms, are present in "Super Mario 64." But that's just the tip of the iceberg. For example, it's been well documented that the horse in "Ocarina of Time" was originally meant for "Super Mario 64." But it also goes the other way, with many ideas from "Ocarina of Time" making their way into "Super Mario 64" during the two's development.

And as it turns out, some content from "Ocarina of Time" was directly ported to "Super Mario 64." This includes the "Super Mario 64" hub world that was originally conceived for Link, not Mario.

Link's castle was stolen by Mario

In an interview for the official "Super Mario 64" Japanese strategy guides from 1996 (archived by Shmuplations), Mario and Zelda series creator Shigeru Miyamoto discussed the similarities between the two Nintendo 64 titles. Miyamoto explained, "For me, Mario and Zelda exist side by side," and that "their basic gameplay elements are the same, with the only difference being that one focuses on action, and the other on puzzle solving." He then noted that "Super Mario 64" and "Ocarina of Time" frequently swapped ideas during development.


This, of course, would have been easy to do as "Ocarina of Time" was being developed at the same time as "Super Mario 64" on a modified engine. It wasn't just ideas that were shared. Because Nintendo was behind schedule on "Super Mario 64," they grabbed content from "Ocarina of Time," which was in an earlier stage of development. The castle hub world for "Super Mario 64," for example, was originally conceived for "Ocarina of Time," according to Miyamoto.

Although it's hard to tell what else was ripped from "Ocarina of Time," some have speculated that many of the "Super Mario 64" puzzles were intended for Link's 64-bit adventure. In addition, some believe that some of the more Zelda-like areas, such as the Sand-Land Pyramids, were originally intended for "Ocarina of Time." Regardless of what content was shared, it's nice to find out that the connection between the two games was more than the gamer's imagination.