After five years of trying, Terry Garrett has finally beaten The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. That might not sound like that impressive a feat — Nintendo's classic N64 RPG should only take about 40 hours to complete — but in Garrett's case, it shows superhuman dedication and a whole lot of skill. That's because Terry Garrett is blind.
Where most gamers can simply look at the screen to see where to go next, Garrett had to use the game's sounds to orient himself, keeping track of his character in an entirely 3D space. Using speakers situated on the left and right of his chair let him work out where audio was coming from, an emulated version of the game that let him quickly revert to saves he made minutes before, and persistent trial-and-error tactics, Garrett was able to work his way through the Deku Tree — the game's first dungeon — in his first video, uploaded in 2011.
His final video, uploaded on January 2nd, shows him using the same method to defeat Ganon, the game's pig-faced final boss. Particularly important in Garrett's playthrough was the use of the hookshot — a Zelda mainstay that fires a retractable chain — as a form of echolocation. When Garrett fired it against a wall, he'd hear a telltale clang; if he fired it into thin air, it would reach the end of its tether before returning to his hand, spooling backwards with a different noise.
Perhaps his most impressive video shows Garrett using this method in Ocarina of Time's infamously difficult Water Temple, listening for minute variations in hookshot audio feedback to line up the series of movements he needed to make to get through the level. The words "Water Temple" are still shorthand for the most torturous and frustrating kinds of gaming experience, but Garrett works out which walls to bomb, which switches to pull, and how to proceed with his ears alone. It may have taken him five years to beat Ocarina of Time, but Garrett must have the patience of one of the game's sages.