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Is Time Travel Overused?

Feb 5, 2011
Ignoring Ocarina of Time being the obvious start, we have Majora's Mask with the three day cycle that can be restarted, Oracle of Ages mostly takes place decades into the past, Twilight Princess lets you travel back to when the Temple of Time was still intact and Skyward has both the timeshift stones and the Gate of Time.

5 games have time travel in total, but do you think that's a more than enough? Is Nintendo just doing it to appeal to Ocarina of Time fans, do they think it's a great idea or do you think it's because they had no other ideas?

Should they stop using the time travel idea all together or just use it when necessary?


Mad haters lmao
May 26, 2010
Hylian Champion
I think the usage of time in Oracle of Ages was more of an experimental run with time being central to gameplay; the game isn't subtitled Oracle of Ages for nothing, you know.

In Majora's Mask, time was used as a dire mechanism, racing against the clock--and death--time was very central to the game's theme, think of it as a OoT in another light.

The usage of time Skyward Sword and Twilight Princess, however, would most definitely be there simply to appeal to OoT fans; traveling to different times periods in either game didn't have a significant effect, and time really being a factor was to play off OoT's massive success.

All that being said, I do think it's time to give time as a concept a much-needed rest UNLESS they're going to make it very essential to the gameplay, like Majora's Mask and Oracle of Ages did oh so long ago.
Time travel is a great mechanic Nintendo has managed to use multiple times and keep fresh. Ocarina of Time and Oracle of Ages present the basic time travel we're accustomed to when pondering the idea-hero warps in time some period forward or back and the environment alters accordingly with the flow of time. Twilight Princess played on this mechanic by isolating the Temple of Time as the sole area transformed by the sands of time. Skyward Sword's timeshift stones functioned in much a similar manner as the Sacred Grove in TP, striking them would prompt an area to appear in its past state. Majora's Mask utilized time travel best because it defied reason to an exponentially higher degree compelling Link to relive the same three day cycle multiple times.

While I admire Nintendo's persistence, I believe the primary "gimmicks" of Zelda 3DS and Wii U should be something other than time travel. Ninty is the king of refining prior elements. No stone is left unturned as cues from past titles are frequently found in newer installments. Time can be incorporated in other ways as Phantom Hourglass showcased with the Phantom Hourglass's ability to halt the flow of time around Link. Another mechanic I'd like to see Miyamoto, Aonuma, and company ticker with more is seasonal change. Implement real time alteration much like in the Pokemon games and take it to the next level with a dynamic overworld. This could prove ripe grounds for new dungeon ideas as well. Imagine an ice dungeon during winter which melts into a water lair during the summer. Link would need to navigate through the seasons to solve puzzles and reach the boss.

Random Person

Just Some Random Person
Feb 6, 2010
I wouldn't call time travel overused, but rather a reocurring theme. Much like out-of-time technology, even though time travel constantly reappears throughout the series, many fans are still wowwed by it, or atleast it doesn't dull their excitement. Really, it all depends on how its executed and usually Nintendo does it decently. (That breath-taking moment when TP Link walked through the gate of time and that classic choir music started playing :kawaii:) I would just prefer if Nintendo had some kind of stability or continuity with it, but thus far I think for the most part its been used rather well.


Oct 24, 2012
Crisis? What Crisis?
Pan-decepticon-transdeliberate-selfidentifying-sodiumbased-extraexistential-temporal anomaly
I often wonder about writers (over)reliance on Time Travel. Scientifically it is all completely theoretical, so who knows how it might actually work? But I suppose that is not the point of fantasy. Surely it is a concept human beings have fantasized about for centuries, but the notion has never really interested me much beyond a mere fancy. By now I tire of it being used so often in fiction. Video games primarily.

Time travel stories are difficult to keep consistent. You're writing 4th dimensionally , as Back to the Future's Doc. Brown would say. That, and time travel plots are difficult to follow for their nonlinearity and because writers are so often sloppy with the consistency. Overall I'd say the Zelda series has managed to do so. I think the reason why time travel has featured so prominently in the Zelda series since OoT is because every game since has harkened back to OoT. It is the series most famous title. I fear Nintendo's reliance of OoT might be as damaging as an over-reliance on time travel can be. The series will never produce another OoT contender if it keeps treating OoT as the best of the best, nothing else will ever surpass it. But, each game has involved time travel as a way of referencing OoT, often by placing Link back in the time of the Hero of Time. It's fan service.

In OoT and Majora's Mask, time travel was a compelling gameplay mechanic. Ever since, it has been little more than OoT lip service.
I was going to say no, it isn't over used but reading the comments has changed my mind a little. I of course noticed it in Oracle of Ages, Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask, but in TP and SS it felt like more of forced in theme, as Ventus said, to pull in the OoT fanboys. At least in TP and SS it wasn't as overused as it was in OOA (of which was a disappointingly simple mechanic, unlike MM) but time travel now always seems to be there, in SS you only really needed to go to the past to kill Akuma, you couldn't travel to any other Province on the field which was disappointing as hell, so to me SS's time travel felt quite under the radar from a gameplay point of view and the timeshift stones just felt like a padding gimmick and would have been better if you were turning the world into a wartorn version of it (since Demise apparently destroyed a lot of the land) but we weren't.

I'll save trotting through every other game, and even though i notice now how much Time Travel is actually used in Zelda it still doesn't beat us over the head and say 'look what we can do' so i wont mind if they keep doing it, until the time comes that they make an advertisment out of it to sell the game as they did with SS and its prequel status.


Keep it strong
Mar 17, 2012
Liverpool, England
I wouldn't say over-used. Out of 16 games it only comes up in 5 of them (and in two of those its not a huge thing). It does help that those games which do use time travel do so in different ways so it never gets too stale.

I say that if they want to use time travel again, go for it. Just make sure it's not a recycled idea, do something a little different with it like before.

Sir Quaffler

May we meet again
Nope. I'll freely admit I am a huge fanboy of anything time-travel-related, as it's one of the most interesting ideas for fantasy out there. In fact, I wish Zelda would use them more, although implemented better. Chrono Trigger is one of my favorite games because of the time travel and the implications it has on the world throughout the ages. If a future Zelda game were to use this type of time travel, i.e. having several eras to go to and having everything you do in each time period affect the others as well, that would be totally sweet.

Failing that, what I would want to see is a better representation of the effects time has on the world. I want to see not only the day-and-night thing they're already accustomed to, I want to see something like a weekly schedule implemented, where we can observe the Hylians go about their day-to-day lives; basically like what's in MM, only more of it. And if they're up for it, I want to see seasonal changes as well. And while we're on the subject, I want to see festivities occur, have certain days be holidays (I'm taking the idea from that Holidays thread a while back). It'll make the whole world feel more alive.

But if they're going to use either of these, they may as well go whole-hog on it, I don't want to see a half-assed version of this. If they can't figure out how to properly use the time travel mechanic effectively like what I'm talking about, then they should abandon it altogether and focus on something they can do well.


Cucco Butt
Jun 5, 2012
I like how you can time travel. I liked the Time Shift stones and The Gate of Time. Playing a song to go back in time in Majoras Mask was a little strange though. But its still cool. I don't care how much people put it in Zelda. Time travel never get old in my opinion.


Hero of Rhyme
Nov 16, 2012
Lake Hylia
I personally love time travel. I love how it's incorporated in Zelda! And the Word is that the Ocarina of Time is made out of Time Shift Stones (or a material very similar) It most certainly utilized very well!
Aug 18, 2011
I think that overall, the Time Travel mechanic is getting to be a little much. But seeing as the original game was going to take place between the past and future and Link was both the link between them and between the player and the game, I like the nod of doing so. More so in TP's Temple of Time and SS's Timeshift stones than anything else. The Gate of Time throws a huge wrench into early timeline theory (Demise defeated in the past, the tree in the temple, and Impa herself.)

MM's use of the 3-day cycle was enjoyable, and I'd love to see something similar done on a larger scale (Seasons/Year, or just longer day cycle), and OoT was enjoyable in it's simplicity of use of the concept. OoA was, like LA to ALttP, basically OoT for the GBC, as much as it could be at the time.

However, didn't TWW (I haven't played it yet, so I totally expect to be wrong) do the Temple of Time thing as well?

Igos du Ikana

Oct 13, 2012
No, I don't think it's overused; if anything, I thin it's underused. Or rather, under implemented. Recently the time travelling has been to confined and specific. I think it would be great for a whole new timeline, it sparks conversations and theories for us. The only times I found the time travelling good was in OoT and MM, so I would like to see a game with MM's use of time, but more fully developed.

Mellow Ezlo

Spoony Bard
Forum Volunteer
Dec 2, 2012
I love Time Travel in the Zelda series. I haven't played OOA yet, and therefore don't know too much about it. However, the 4 games I have played that included time travel handled it quite well IMO.

In OOT, time travel was one of the central themes. Link had the ability to travel freely between his child years and adult years, which I thought was really cool. Not an exact rip of OOT, but the back-and-forth through time is something I'd like to see again (I don't mean what SS, MM, and TP did. I mean actually being able to relive lost years)

MM, IMO, had the best time travel of any other Zelda game. Although, I still don't understand how putting money in a bank (which would have to go back in time as well) can stop you from losing all your rupees. If someone can explain why a bank can save your money in time travel, please inform me :)

I'm not gonna talk much about TP or SS since time travel wasn't a central theme in those games (Although the final boss of SS was fought in the past...). TP was simply a recreation of the classic Temple of Time from OOT, that's it. SS took time travel further with the timeshift stones, but it's still not a big deal. Plus, the timeshift stones only work in the Lanayru Province, so we can't see what Faron Woods or Eldin Volcano looked like in the past :( I would've liked it if we were allowed to transport timeshift stones to other provinces. That would've been cool!

To answer the question: No, I don't think time travel is overused. :eek:carina: :triforce: :mastersword: :fairy:


Eating Link since 1987
Jul 27, 2010
The Wind Temple
Overall, time travel is well executed in Zelda when it is a central mechanic of a game. I immediately think OoA, OoT, and MM. I won't elaborate much on TP's and SS's uses of time travel as they're not central mechanics, but in TP time travel is tacked on to please OoT fans and in SS time travel is used in puzzles and for the plot.
OoT/OoA's time travel was simply a past-present swap, but it was well executed. For example, going back to being a child in OoT, or going to the past to change something in the present in OoA.
MM has the best time-travel mechanic where you relive the same three days over again. Characters have schedules, breathing life into NPCs, and you can choose who to help. Furthermore, the Rupee bank is really good since you can deposit Rupees and not lose them when you go back to the first day.
I think it would be good to see another Zelda include time travel as a central mechanic like in MM, for instance.

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