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POLL: What is Your Preferred Way to Play Zelda Games?

What's your preferred way to play Zelda games?

  • Normal run

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 100% run

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Speed run

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 3-heart run

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Minimalist run

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Other (please specify in your post)

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters

Not Take Mirror

Sage of Ice
Dec 8, 2012
Minneapolis, MN
What is your most preferred style of playing Zelda games? Are you the sort who strives for 100% completion? Do you prefer to do a speed run? 3-heart challenge? Minimalist challenge? Or just play normally? Something else?

Here is how I would define each style of play

You are mainly concerned with beating the main quest of the game but may do some optional things that you find personally enjoyable or if you think the reward will be worth it. You aren't striving to get every single heart piece, upgrade, etc.

You get every single heart piece, upgrade, item, complete every single sidequest.

Speed run:
Complete the main quest as fast as possible. Generally you don't do any of the optional stuff unless getting the optional stuff makes the main quest faster in the long run.

3-heart challenge:
Do not pick up any heart pieces or heart containers. For most games, this means your number of hearts never exceeds 3 (6 for Skyward Sword).

Minimalist challenge:
Like the 3-heart challenge but far more difficult because you are only allowed to obtain items that are absolutely necessary to beat to the game. No potions, optional upgrades, etc.

If there are other challenges you have devised I would be interested in hearing about them. For example, in the original game I know it's possible to beat the game without a sword but I have never tried it myself.


For myself, I prefer the 100% challenge. I like taking my time and getting as much as I can. Even when playing the first time, I strive for this. Shortly before the final battle I copy my file. On the first file I do as much as possible without any guides. Once I've beaten the game, I go to my second file and with a walkthrough, complete the things I missed on the first go.

I haven't done too many speedruns yet. Only with TP and the original game.

I haven't attempted a 3 heart challenge yet but I would like to. I'll probably start on one of the easier games like WW or TP. I'd like to do one on OoT as that's the game I know best, but Bongo Bongo is what makes me hesitate. I find him difficult and getting hit once can be automatic death.

I'm nowhere skilled enough to even attempt a minimalist run. Maybe someday.


Apr 22, 2011
For my first playthrough I always do a minimalist run combined with a speed run, I try to beat the game as fast as possible while at the same time not picking up anything that isn't of utmost importance just so I can achieve my goal faster (Which can be really fun if it's your first playthrough because you have no clue what's important and what isn't :xd:). However when I've played through the game once, I like to just create a new file and relax with a 100% run. I know most people do the exact opposite, but I like to make it as challenging as possible for myself since that's my way of having fun. :)


Hero of Time
Dec 8, 2012
Lake Hylia, Hyrule
I've done pretty much every challenge you've listed in OoT. I've probably beaten OoT at least 10-12 times in my life. I'm currently attempting to beat OoT Master Quest with 3 hearts (and I'm stuck in the Forest Temple, haha!).

But generally when I play a Zelda game I've never played before, I go for a Normal run. I personally think speedruns are pointless, because I can't enjoy the game if I'm doing a speedrun. Once I get SS this Christmas, I'll probably do a Normal run. I will eventually try a 6-Heart & Minimalist run on Hero Mode in SS. :D


Mad haters lmao
May 26, 2010
Hylian Champion
I prefer to play Zelda as a cross-breed between Three Heart runs and Speedruns. My normal times for speedruns aren't remotely close to record breaking times (lol I'd say deduct around two hours for my average OoT run, which takes tons of optimization), but it's still rather fun to play through the game as fast as your memory allows, while also avoiding HP boosts. When I buy Skyward Sword, I'm only going to play it Three Heart run through manual deduction of hearts, and when I get decent enough at it, speedrunning is in due. :P

Another method of playing Zelda, and this applies to any game that isn't Skyward Sword, is the six heart run. It's a very unconventional way, but I have played hacks where being one hit killed (or playing Master Quest 3D) is just too troublesome--tedious--for me and so I go the six heart route.


Darkest of all Dark Links
Oct 28, 2012
I usually do normal runs. I only 100% each game once, because I feel sidequests are Zelda's weakest points in general and prefer to skip most of them. How much I do on a normal run varies. Usually it depends on if the sidequest is "in the area" or "not out of the way". The only special case is Majora's Mask, where I get all the masks.

I rarely do 3 heart runs anymore. I learned long ago that enemies that can't hit me when I have 3 hearts are no more challenging than enemies who can't hit me with 14 hearts.
Aug 29, 2012
The Cliffs of Insanity
In my playing so far I strive to get everything. I am ocd that way. But I am also aware that I am no where near good enough to find everything or be able to figure everything out. I don't think I could do a 3 heart run; for me it wouldn't be a fun challenge, it would stress me out. Minimalist runs are what it would be if I didn't reference a walkthrough, it would be totally accidental :) I can't imagine doing a speed run.


I am a Person of Interest
Jul 12, 2010
Ganon's Tower
My preferred way to play Zelda games is through means of a normal run. I do exactly what you have described - sticky the main quest for the most part, but every now and then, I'll do optional stuff and sidequests. I have done a few three heart runs and one 100%, but I still do normal runs the majority of the time I play Zelda.
Oct 16, 2011
I have done all of the above except for a truly other way. Also I haven't actually taken the time to seriously do a speed run. I've practiced oot and mm but I fail so badly. Someday I will be consistent enough to make timing it worthwhile. I refuse to bring the greatness of taking 2 hours to beat sm64 with 16 stars to oot. If I didn't always fail at the Woodfall bk skip I would hate to see my time on mm any%. Right now I just need to kill ganon on 3d master quest minimalist.

Azure Sage

March onward forever...
Staff member
ZD Legend
Comm. Coordinator
I am normally a 100% Completionist. I don't care how many times I played the game; I will see to it that I at least try to get everything. I may not end up getting everything though. I will try everything, but I may not bother to get everything. I typically don't like to miss anything though. I like to keep a solid safety margin, so I will not miss Pieces of Heart or Heart Containers--unless I am deliberately challenging myself out of boredom. I don't do that often, though.
Jun 8, 2011
I usually complete 100% each game, except for the oracle games (never completed the ring box), and OoT (the golden skulltula quest which i find tedious.) Otherwise i like to do every sidequest and collect everything when i play.
I've never tried speedruns and 3 herts runs.

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