There are 3 versions of Ocarina of Time. While most changes made from version to version won't affect normal gameplay, there are some glitches exclusive to versions that do affect gameplay at the higher level. There are also a handful of censored graphical differences between the versions. Despite the common belief that the N64 versions were released over time, the debug screen build dates show that all 3 versions of Ocarina of Time for the N64 were made before the game's first retail release although this is still debatable. The build dates being inaccurate is a possibility, even if in proper order of currency.
For NTSC/NTSC-J (North American/Japanese respectively) N64 cartridges, the easiest way of determining your version is to check the small punch-code at the top-right side of the back label.
xx = v1.0
xxA = v1.1
xxB = v1.2
If your back label's punch-code is illegible, or you feel the cart may have been tampered with, you can always check the debug screen (scroll down to the bottom), or check for version-unique glitches/content seen further down this page.
Beyond this, it's also a good idea to keep in mind that:
This is the first North American version of the game. v1.0 has many unique glitches that were corrected in the later versions.
v1.1 is the first update to Ocarina of Time. Many glitches were fixed along with some on-screen text issues and a very minor graphical change was made.
Version 1.2 is the second revision to the game. This update corrects more text as well makes some notable graphical and sound changes to the game, censoring the blood as well as replacing a controversial song within one of its temples. It also fixes an item-receiving glitch.
All the changes that v1.1 made plus....
This is the same as the 1.2 (N64) version aside from one of the game's controversial symbols being replaced. Due to emulation and the increase in hardware power however, some new tricks are available that once caused the game to crash on the N64. This version of the game can be found in the Collector's Edition disc, the Ocarina of Time/Master Quest disc, or the Virtual Console Shop Channel.
All the changes that v1.2 (N64) made plus....
In v1.1 and onward, the rotating N64 logo that appears when you boot the game has been made significantly darker and glossier. The background behind this one is a complete mystery, but the reasoning for its alteration is obvious... the v1.1 logo's colors are much truer to the commercialized N64 logo.
In Version 1.2(N64) and onward, Ganondorf & Ganon's blood was changed from red to green. This was probably done to maintain an "E for Everyone" ESRB Rating.
On the N64 system, Morpha's ball is rendered in a aqua-blue & red color with a distinct pattern. On GCN/VC Morpha's ball is white & red with a completely different pattern. This is a graphical rendering difference most likely due to an unsupported shader graphic, NOT an edit to the game (if you play any version of the game on emulator Morpha's ball will be white & red). In the re-textured 3DS version the ball continues to use the white & red color scheme.
In versions 1.0 & 1.1, the Fire Temple song contains religious-themed vocals from the Muslim faith. One line, translated into English, states: â€œI bear witness that there is no god but Allahâ€. In versions 1.2 (N64) and onward the song was replaced with what seems to be a remix of the Shadow Templeâ€™s song. This new song contains no discernible lyrics, only Gregorian-style moans and a ghostly female chorus can be heard.
In all N64 versions a crescent moon & star symbol is present on the mirror shield, dungeon blocks, floor switches, and Gerudo signs in the game. In version 1.2 (GCN) and onward, this symbol was replaced with the diamond-shaped Gerudo symbol that was used in Majoraâ€™s Mask. The symbol was most likely swapped-out because of its striking resemblance to the symbol of Islam. Obviously, having the bad-guys of the game represented by this symbol was in poor taste (as was having to physically step on the symbol countless times throughout the game). It's worth noting that the editors neglected to replace the old symbols in the beginning and ending rooms of the Dampe grave race until the 3DS release which substituted them with floral engravings.