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Ocarina of Time prototype footage shows off portals before there was Portal

Link plays the Ocarina of Time
(Image credit: Nintendo)

The first video of Ocarina of Time's scrapped portals has surfaced, courtesy of the programmer who was testing the feature on an early build of the game.

Former Nintendo programmer Giles Goddard, who worked on Super Mario 64, Star Fox 64, and 1080°, revealed to MinnMax back in May that an early prototype of Ocarina of Time once had portals you could use to travel to other parts of the map. Now, thanks to a fan request on Twitter, we have the first-ever video of what the portals might've looked like had they made it into the final game.

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It's unclear from the video which area of the game Goddard was testing his portals around - it looks a little like the Forest Temple - but he reckons the footage is from around 1997-98 and that he had simply asked an artist for the test data to play around with.

"I was doing all these experiments," Goddard told MinnMax. "You had a portal where you could look through, go in, and you'd get teleported to a different part of the map. You'd see through the door to a different part of the map, walk through it, and then walk back through it."

It doesn't sound like Nintendo ever had any concrete plans to introduce portals to Ocarina of Time, but it's fascinating to see an early build of the game with such a fundamentally game-changing feature, even if it was only a bit of harmless experimentation from a single programmer.

"It was R&D for the game, basically. It was 'what could we do with the hardware on the N64,' and this was basically a demo of portals, you know, actual portals that you could see through to other parts of the map."

As we all know, a similar mechanic would eventually take center stage in Valve's Portal, from 2007. Nearly 10 years after he toyed with the idea in Ocarina of Time, Goddard jokes that he was bummed he didn't release it first. "Yeah, when I saw Portal I thought, 'actually, I had that on the N64. I should've released it then.'"

Check out our picks for the best N64 games of all time.

Jordan Gerblick

After scoring a degree in English from ASU, I worked in - *shudders* - content management while freelancing for places like SFX Magazine, Screen Rant, Game Revolution, and MMORPG. Now, as GamesRadar's Arizona-based Staff Writer, I'm responsible for managing the site's western regional executive branch, AKA my apartment, and writing about whatever horror game I'm too afraid to finish.