You can now play Ocarina of Time like a “modern” PC game

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When Nintendo fell The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time in 1996, the game world was irrevocably changed. The 3D action-adventure title revolutionized the genre, inspiring a whole new generation of games. While gaming is still a banger in 2022 (it’s just launched on Switch late last year as part of the Nintendo Switch expansion pack), but it’s still obviously a game of its time. What if it didn’t have to feel like that?

Enter the harbor mastersdevelopers who embarked on their own adventure with the simple objective of making Ocarina of time feel like a more modern PC gaming experience. Their goal was made possible thanks to the fans who reverse-engineered the game in C code, a two-year feat. From there, Harbor Masters was able to make a port of Ocarina of time with HD graphics, widescreen, controller rumble, modding support, and more.

Unlike traditional ports and fan remakes (which are often shut down by Nintendo), this version of Ocarina of time is different in that it doesn’t actually involve any code from the game. Instead, the software, called Harkinian Shipis designed to read code from a separate ROM file, which it then extracts to run a PC version of the game.

Skipping that legal hurdle, Ship of Harkinian lets you play the original Ocarina of time on PC in a whole new way. This also means that in the future the game can be expanded to support features like 60fps, HD models, texture packs, online play, and Linux and Mac support. At present, the game is limited to PC, with gameplay running at the traditional 20fps found on the N64.

In order to play Ocarina of time with Ship of Harkinian you will need to provide your own ROM file. Knowing that Nintendo’s lawyers are watching, Ship of Harkinian points out that said ROM file should be obtained legally. To do this, however, you must own the original N64 cartridge and have access to hardware capable of extracting the game file from the device. There are online resources to learn on your own how to build such an extractorbut if you’ve never done this sort of thing before, it can feel overwhelming.

Of course, the vast majority of people who play retro games on their PCs don’t use legal stock ROMs. One could even do a simple Google search which would lead to many websites providing download links to just about any retro gaming ROM you can think of. But that would, of course, be wrong. (Although the industry has tried to crack down on these sites, it’s still the primary way to play older games.)

We certainly won’t tell you to download a Ocarina of time ROMs from the Internet. All we can say is that you must supply your own ROM for this PC port to work. Additionally, you will need the debug ROM version (not the Master Quest version).

With your debug ROM handy, you should then download Ship of Harkinian from his discord server. You will find the current version under #buildings channel. Be sure to review the Readme document, as it contains all the instructions to get your Ship of Harkinian software up and running. Here is a direct link to the Readmewhich you can also find via pinned posts in the #Support Discord channel, as well as in Ship of Harkinian download.

For there: Unzip the download file, then open OTRGui. Choose “Open OoT Rom”, choose “Single Thread”, then select your Ocarina of Time ROM. Let the system create an archive file for the ROM. When finished, open soh.exe to play.

Since it’s not the easiest system in the world to run a game on your PC, you might run into some obstacles.. If so, do not hesitate to consult #Support channel on their Discord. Questions are pouring in as of this writing, so there are bound to be others dealing with the same issues. And you know what they say about it being dangerous to go alone.