Ocarina of Time Proves Link’s a Genius (But You Probably Missed Him)

Link has many talents in Zelda games, but one ability that shows he’s a genius is underrated and overlooked due to mechanics.


The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time uses music as a game mechanic, the design of which requires Link to be a musical genius. The songs Link learns to play on his ocarina have several purposes. From warping to adjusting water levels in the Water Temple, Ocarina of time would be more difficult without Link’s innate musical talent.


As a titular object, the Ocarina serves as a key element in Ocarina of time. Under Navi’s direction, Link travels between two timelines seven years apart to awaken the Sages who will help him defeat Ganondorf and end his destructive reign over Hyrule. Link receives help from several characters throughout his journey, but Sheik in Ocarina of time perhaps provides the most help by teaching Link songs.

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In Ocarina of time, Link only needs to hear a song once before he can play it perfectly. His ability to play by ear after hearing a song, however, is no match for Link’s musical genius. When Sheik teaches Link a new song, it is done with a harp, and Link can always repeat it on the Ocarina without issue. Considering Link probably never had any formal musical training, that’s an impressive feat. The ease with which Link masters new tunes is necessary from a game mechanics perspective, but in-universe he’d likely be a musical prodigy if he weren’t busy saving Hyrule.


Ocarina of time is not the only one Zelda game in which Link displays a talent for music. More than one character Ocarina appears in Majora’s Mask, and the Ocarina is a recurring item in both games that has critical uses to complement them. Depending on the mask Link is wearing, the ocarina changes instruments, and he still has no trouble playing the songs. In A link to the pasthe plays the flute for Flute Boy with no problem after finding him. Link’s Awakening relies on music to awaken the Wind Fish, and Link has to use eight instruments for this task, but he accomplishes it easily.

It’s probably tiring for Link to always be the hero of Zelda Games. With the task of saving Hyrule placed on his shoulders, Link must use a variety of skills to overcome the obstacles he faces. From solving puzzles to reach the end of dungeons to battling the creatures that stand in his way, Link needs an array of abilities to fulfill his destiny as the hero of Hyrule. However, if being the hero didn’t work out for Link in Ocarina of timehe could have had a future as a musician.

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