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Exploring Your Inner Zelda Geek: The Ocarina

April 5th, 2014 by Sara Stringer Comments

The Ocarina.

This instrument has been around since the early history of humankind but it wasn’t really on anyone’s radar, it seems, until we received on the greatest achievements of video game history …

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

I remember when the game quite explicitly.

I was at that age when my older brother had played through the NES titles but having been received an N64 as a Christmas gift it was my time to take over the reins (of Epona) and pick up the next in this series.

Right away I knew that the game was something special. Partly because everything else at the time seemed to have been modeled around an FPS (Goldeneye took up most of our time). But it was OoT that really stood out among them all especially that first play through with my best friend – to which I don’t think we stopped until two days into a play through when we had to pass out from exhaustion.

It was from that point that I knew I was hooked on the universe.

It didn’t take long for me to begin exploring the older games using the NES we had stored in the closet (or using the computer to run roms). The first was magical, the second in the series was a little upsetting, but then we just skipped over the others and came back to playing it on the N64 which just seemed … complete.

Until that point I never really took noticed to the music in video games. It always felt like the music was some sort of backdrop to the main story – something to push it forward. But when I really began to look at Ocarina of Time it was apparent that without this object the game would have been a complete mess.

The game relies on the ocarina.

Anyone playing through the game can see this but once you really start digging into the story it becomes a lot more than just Zelda, Link, and Ganondorf, it really does become about how this ocarina basically shapes everything in the game whether it’s from how it helps you get around to how you solve puzzles.

One of the first things I wanted to do after completing the game was to pick up an ocarina replica.

I did my searches, online. One of the sites I came across one site that was pretty awesome seeing they had an ocarina replica that really matched what you’d find in OoT but also variations of ocarinas (including a few Zelda themed ones).

I remember debating my friend about whether we would pick one up. I was strapped for cash since I had been buying game but turns out he had some funds to grab one. We placed an order, played some games while we waiting for the mail, and it finally came in.

I can’t say for sure we were that great at playing the ocarina when we first gave it a try. We definitely tried playing some of the songs we picked up from OoT (I’m sure anyone that had ordered one did too). But what was great was that it came with some instructions on playing these tunes. That afternoon we had the tunes down pat.

Still to this day I remember how deep we got into this game. It’s kind of odd to think about never having known about this instrument until some video game came along. I can’t say for sure where exactly knowing the ocarina can get you in terms of playing in concerts but whatever … for the inner Zelda geek it’s o-so-fulfilling to know you’re playing the same instrument and tunes as Link does in OoT.

I hope I’m not the only one – did anyone else get the urge to pick up an ocarina after playing through the game the first time (or several times thereafter)?


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Sara is a former business aficionado turned mother, writer, geek, and solopreneur. She lives in Southern California where she enjoys going to Nerdcore shows and watching old episodes of X-Men.

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