I was talking Zelda with some friends the other day when I came across someone with a curious pet peeve – he felt that Link’s name should not be changed or it would break the flow of the game during dialogue, and that people who changed the names were “casuals”.

Obviously, most people are less extreme and less focused on roleplay, but it’s true that preferences vary wildly between players. What do you think?

Does it feel more natural to you to keep the default name, or substitute in a name of your own? Does it even matter to you, or do you just insert a word that spices up the dialogue and makes you laugh?

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  • Eldlol

    I usually just use my real life name

  • Link and real name usage is ok… but the real fun comes from things such as "I LOVE YOU", or more perverted words.

  • Cereal

    I always use Link; but my sister always uses Zelda, cause' she thinks every game has the same secret of the earlier games.

  • ComicalTragedy

    I tend to alternate between using my real name and using Link, but sometimes I use a silly name like "Mah boi" or whatever.

  • Teri

    I've usually gone with Linkage – as a kid I got it from Encino Man (punny!) and kind of just stuck with it ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Olechzendar

    i alternate, and like to make link a character of my own. if he was link, then he's not my character anymore, but when i give him a name of my own, it makes me feel comfortable to control his actions. Olechz is my windwaker character, and i weem to better playing as him than as "link" on the same game…not sure why, lol

  • ZenJestr

    on my first playthrough, I go with Link….after that I tend to mix it up…

  • Mel (ShiningLink)

    I usually play with Link, but its fun when you see a file with a funny name on xD

  • By_Farore

    I keep it Link, I got attached to him as… himself, Link. The same way I couldn't be named anything else than ::insert name here:: and the same way I'll get confused if a close friend of mine was to come to me and say ''you know, I lied, that wasn't my real name, my real name's ::insertrealnamehere::, call me that from now on.''

    But I have many friends who tend to give Link their own name, or their own nickname.
    Makes them feel it's THEIR game, THEIR adventure.

    I also like the idea of giving him a funny name but the joke gets old pretty quickly so I let people on Youtube do it for me instead. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • It depends on the game for me. I recently played through Wind Waker and Twilight Princess again, and I kept his name as Link. Of course, on TP, I couldn't resist naming my horse "Stupid"… Kind of stupid, but it led to hilarious in-game dialouge. "I washed Stupid for you, Link." "Stupid's leg is hurt!" Hehehe…

  • I have always used my first name. I probably always will use my first name.

    With the NES games, it didn’t matter. It was just to differentiate between my saved game and my dad’s. When they started throwing our names in the game dialogue with A Link to the Past, we thought it was really cool. It always made me get more into the experience. I felt more connected to Hyrule.

    Isn’t that what the game designers want? For a player to feel a connection to the game and everyone and everything in it? How does that ruin the game’s flow? It doesn’t for me.

    That is what separates the Zelda experience — and the (good) gaming experience as a whole — from watching a movie or reading a book. We drive the story. The game and the story within it is meaningless without us. So why shouldn’t I be addressed by name?

  • phantom

    it aint right if it aint link.

  • Fierce Deity

    The first file I play, I'm Link. I usually play with my name in the second file, and in the third, a funny name.

  • Elharc

    You're casual if you change the name? Whaaa?
    That option's been in from the very first game, how does that make you casual if you use it? wtf. ANYWAY.

    I'm another one who alternates… though I tend to use a shortening of my name since I'm female and it would just be weird otherwise. First time playing through, I use my name, any other times, I either use Link, or something funny, just because I can, or feel like it. It really spices up the dialogue and can create some epic irony rofl
    "When I grow up I want to be able to jump like you, limp!" xD

    Being able to change epona's name was awesome though, despite the fact my cousin convinced me to name her after a male body part one time o__o

    Oh, the fun you can have with this feature~, and it was one of the things that separated the Zelda experience, as Mike said.

  • Fulcon

    I have a preference to add a name and sort of change Link's motives to fit the persona.

    'Mike' has mercenary motives for saving Hyrule over and over.

    'Devon' is just a manifestation of Link's insanity from being reborn over and over.

    Ect. Ect. Ect.

    • I like this concept. I may pass it on to bored friends.

  • Navi17

    I have no idea wat ur talking about

  • Navi17

    why wont it let me vote!?

  • Juri238

    I flipped out when i saw this cause i thought they were changing links name to something else,but im okay with changing his name like you pick it.As long as when they make him have a name its link.

  • For me, it's not the same if I'm not Link, but I don't see anything wrong with changing his name. Zelda is all about the individual gamer's experience. How can it be wrong if it enhances the game for some people?

  • James

    I always put my name for each game. I always felt that the game is suppose to put you as the main character and that Link is just a placeholder. We never hear link speak, because it would give him his own personality, not our own, and I prefer it like that.

  • Mukora

    I once named myself "I say"

    • OK, this is funny, making everyone talk like Foghorn Leghorn.

  • James

    By the way, the first Zelda game I played was ocarina of time, and I thought that Link's name was "James" when I played it…I remember thinking "cool he has the same name as me" not realizing till I played my second Zelda game (link's awakening) that they just put what ever name you put down as you file name…that was a big disappointment for me.

  • Sailboat

    Default names are for fags.

    Even in Pokemon. Seriously guys, come on. Have some creativity.

    • twilight princess

      that was a little harsh <:l but yea i dont use ash or anything like that i put my own name :3

  • Usually I always just go for Link. His name is Link and that is the way it is meant to be. Maybe on a second playthrough, if the game is good enough for a second one…, I'll name him something else. My one friend always names him Linko, I forget why, but I just know that he does.

  • Teengamer

    Whenever I play a Zelda game, my first name is Anakin, because it's always a favorite of mine, and my second file ends up being Link. This is true for SEVERAL people I know, where they'd use their own favorite name and then Link (or Zelda) in their second file.


  • I always put "Link". I once accidently put "Sonamus" on Phantom Hourglass because the default name is the name of your DS. I pressed "OK" right away and didn't change it… I regreted it, but only for role-play reasons. It was just a bit strange Tetra calling "Sonamus…! Help me..!"

  • Sage Robert

    I usually play as Link since that is his name, though I believe I used my name once when playing A Link to the Past. After reading this though I might try substituting Link for my name on replays.

  • tomtwelve

    i generally use my real name. and then my real name with roman numerals. and THEN something else. like some random name. my brother will use his real name, and then name it ganon, because that's kinda funny, when they're talking about ganon… and in tp he named it zant.

  • Azerik

    I take offense to the casual comment. I'm a casual, and I use Link. Although I don't think it really matters. Not like the whole world is looking at your TV screen and going "Hey, WTF!? Why is your name not Link?!?"

  • Kitty

    Since I'm a little OCD-ish, I go as Link. I know other people want to feel a real connection with the game or something like that, but if I use my own name and end up dying or messing up, I'll yell at the screen and get mad at myself. But if I use Link for the name, I can get mad at him when he dies. ๐Ÿ˜€ Dumb logic, but it works for me.

    Although…For PH I did pick the name Linque for my second file. At least I'm not like my brother who picks names like "Shadow" and "Blade"…. ๐Ÿ˜›

  • Navi

    Naming your profile Link is a stand by, if your playing the game for the story line and action. but during the 2nd and 3rd play through your imagination kicks in and you start to play around. But that was my experience with several Zelda games, others might go with real names or other names of liking. i agree with Azerik about the fact that the world isn't watching you play. do what feels right to you.

  • i keep all the names as they should be, it's the legend of zelda. if you change the names it would ruin the game. you can't get the real feeling of the game if you have link's name as your own. i am really into zelda, so i have to keep it the same but that is just me, some people are just not that into it.

  • Zanio

    I tend to use Link as the name for my first play through, I just feel like he should be called his proper name that he is supposed to be called for the first play through.

    All times after that I'll use a name of my own, normally something funny.
    I don't think it should be judged either way though, all it is really about is what makes the experience better for the player, and the fact that they even have the option to let you change the name of Link, is great seeing as it allows players to have unique experiences.

    To Sailboat:
    Default names are awesome, its just like before you read a novel like Harry Potter, you change every "Harry" to the name of your choice. When I'm playing games, I'm experienceing someone else's creativity. I save my own creativity for my own artwork and literature.

  • poxvaati

    i always name all my characters in zelda or other games "New" cuz it always no matter wht makes me laugh when i begin

  • well if you change the name, it's like changing the whole legend.
    if you name him link in one game, and "bob" in another, the legend falls apart.
    because in someway there linked together, right.?

  • well if you change the name, it's like changing the whole legend.
    if you name him link in one game, and "bob" in another, the legend falls apart.
    because in someway there all linked together, right.?

  • ChainofTermina

    I'm sorry. I could have sworn his name was LINK!! that's why I name him Link. you know, because that's his frick'n NAME!! if you to come up with your own name then come up with you own story! what do you call it Super Fabio Brothers? or Melvin the Hedgehog? They already have a name people! and people who come up with bullcrap names just to make it "funny", those are the fags. that they have to stoop that low just to get a laugh, thats really sad. The story is what matters the most. THE STORY'S WHAT MATTERS THE MOST!

  • Erik Schrlder

    I use Link on my first playthrough and if I would replay I use other names.

  • I use Link. The ONLY other name I ever use is "DekuLink." Other than that, it just doesn't work.

  • it's fine if you don't use link.
    i am not hating on anyone that does.
    just for me, the story means something.
    i have been playing zelda since i was a little lad,
    so i have kind of grown on the original zelda.
    even when they changed the graphics in windwaker i was pretty sketch about that.
    but it was still zelda.
    link or not, as long as your playing the game.

  • nicktheslayer

    I usually use Link, even if the game isnt Zelda, and doesnt come with a default. I dont want the story to be about ME, i want it to be about LINK.

  • Navi

    if the developers didnt want you to be able to change the name, and by some of you the story line, then they wouldn't of allowed you. The story does change at all when the name is changed, one might look at it by adding their own name and now Link's quest is your quest.

    • i'm not saying it will physically change anything.

      just emotionally.
      and just for me.

      it's just a videogame (the best one ever) so it does not really matter anyways. (it so does)


  • santi

    i agree. i have never changed link's name to anything else on any zelda game unless i am playing for a second time. if i put a funny name it ruins the dramatic parts.

  • Irony

    Always something stupid.

    "Oh my, God!"

  • Siaarn

    I always keep the name Link, it feels wrong to give him any other name, but it's not like it bothers me when people choose a different name, everyone's different.

  • Ahahaha, I typically keep the name Link, but on the 2nd run-through of TP (yea, first time I've ever changed his name in all my years! :P) I named him 'my slave' just to get some laughs.

    Ah, god. It was great.

  • Kaylee

    Somehow, it just doesn't matter to me. I usually play as Kayle, but whenever it comes up in dialogue, I read "Link" into the sentence. Especially now that Link has a facial expression and therefore his own reaction to all that happens on screen. Before, I kinda filled in with my own feelings; now I rarely do.

    Actually, refusing to change his name seems completely hilarious to me, since I've read that his name is LINK because the character is our LINK to the game, supposedly our connection to Hyrule. Would we be having this discussion if Nintendo had given us a name selection screen with "YourName" in the blank? We'd probably be calling him "Hero", like Dragon Quest VIII. His name is Link, we all know that; but we all have different experiences when playing the games. We're not all Link. I don't usually change the names of characters that talk anymore.

  • Linnnnnnnnk

  • LiGH

    Eh, I usually name my guy "Dude".
    It makes everyone in Hyrule sound like stoners.

  • bluenotesblues

    I always use "Link" because I'm already so absorbed by the game… The name is more for accuracy, but even when people in the game are speaking to Link, since I'm playing as him, I still translate it as speaking to me.

    "Link" just seems like the best name choice for me.

  • Xade

    Since the NES days and for every single Zelda game, I always use Link. I am such a fan and obviously a huge Zelda geek since I know so much about the series etc. Anything but Link is wrong to me. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Alex

    "he felt that Link’s name should not be changed or it would break the flow of the game during dialogue, and that people who changed the names were “casuals”."

    I have been playing Zelda for several years. I have most of the games and have beaten them many times. I still play them on a near-daily basis. I'm TOTALLY a casual because I use my real name.

    What a fucking crock of shit. Whoever said that – kill yourself, and the IQ averages will go up a few points. Cheers.

  • Business Shrub

    I use the name Link, but if you are doing a speed run to post in the speed run archive then you should use your own screen name, like "TSA" for instance, I loved his WW run, 6 hours 43 minutes I think. If you play by your self it's immersion that counts, then you need the name Link, if you play for others to watch then you should use your screenname.

  • I'm a God-fearing purist and God-damned proud of it!
    Well maybe not God-fearing but Link and Epona is the only way to go.

  • Rob

    Erm, why is he called link anyways? I think of Link as 'a link', a connection between the player and the game.
    The character we call Link, is just an empty shell. It represents the player in the world of Hyrule, and therefore you should use in your own name. It would be silly to use Link.
    It may also explain why Link never actually talks in the game. And what about the hint from Majora's Mask: Elude of Emptiness ?

  • shadowlink

    The first time I played Zelda I thought the name would just be a filename, and, as the game was rented and my savefile wouldn't be there for much time, I just used "AAAAAA" as my name… It was funny to hear people say: "Hi, AAAAAA!"… After that, I always use "Link". However, I don't care for people who use their true names or anything else… In fact, I had a friend who ALWAYS called Ryu (from the Breath of Fire games) "Biel" (his name is Gabriel and, as the game didn't support to much letter, he called the hero Biel), even when he was talking about the game with someone else.

  • Some Random Person

    I usualy put my name when I first play and Link when I play a second time.

  • Bloodbeast

    I just go with an abrreviation of mt name. Or, if I'm playing Link's awakening, it's probably THIEF (no points for guessing why) I generally don't put Link in, becuase it doesn't really matter that much.

  • Justin Basl

    I think its boring to use the name "link" everytime you play any zelda game. Just like the first zelda on the NES, nintendo gives you a choice to use a different name. I think it's perfect, especially when it gains value to each individual gamers experience, and not the same time over again. It's a great attatchment to make the gamer feel more simpathy for the characters.

  • Justin Basl

    Plus, I always name Link "COFFEE", because I'm gonna be up all night playing him with no rest. He's not sleeping anytime soon.

  • I've used Link as my main file name since Ocarina of Time, I've gone back to the very first game and used Link as my name, I've played almost every Zelda game there is, and used Link as my main file, and sometimes my only file. Using some other name just doesn't feel right… But I don't think the game should remove that feature for those that do like to change the name, if you want to use the name Link, just do so and leave those who don't alone. For me I also make substitute files for when I beat the game and want another go-around, so on those I generally… Always use a different name, but those files are deleted after being completed. I believe in having just one file permanent with the name Link. Zelda fan since age five, I shall follow my tradition 'till the day I die.

    That answer the question well enough?

  • Sol

    I mostly go as Link, but when I'm going through a second (or more) playthrough I usually do something stupid, like Wolf (for TP) Master, Sir, WTF? Shorty etc.

  • bubmario

    I used to play with Link as the default name, much for the same reason as Cody's friend. But, honestly, it's too much fun to put in "FART" as Link's name…some priceless lines of dialouge.

  • The.Maverickk

    Just to add my two cents I'll give my take…

    For the most part I think everyone knows that the main character of the Zelda series is in fact Link. Yet at the same time Nintendo has always left it open to being filled by another name for the player to craft their own legend for that matter. It's the reason Link's never spoken yet… as in reality Link is the player and so since there is no way to put our own voice acting into the game yet, they ave left him seemingly mute. Interestingly enough the name "Link" implies a link… Link stands to be the link between the player and the game world.

    It's where his name for the most part originates from my speculation. So in theory his name could be any users name really. Alternatively some people don't want to literally put themselves into his role and leave his name as is.

    In terms for how I've named my character through out the ages, I've usually followed this pattern. When playing the game for the first time I always name the character Link… I attempt to complete the game 100%, all items, all heart pieces, and to the est of my abilities. Later though I usually reapproch the game with a new goal… to beat it under certain more challenging circumstances. For example by defeating the game by the 3 Heart Challenge, or without armors (for original LoZ, AoL and Link to the Past) and with no deaths (or by single play through). At which point I put in my own name… as a testament to my own skill, a record of my own legend.

    So for me this has been my system, although in reality I don't think what you name your character effects how hardcore the game is, or the experience. That's part of what makes Zelda (or any NIntendo franchise for that matter) so amazing… and that is the freedom to put your heart and soul into a game, or simple play it with little more then the fleeting motive of having a good time.

  • Umar

    pfft, people who name their character "Link" are casuals. To remain canon you obviously have to name him Rinku-kun.

  • Dustin

    On my first file I always name Link with my own name, I did it on my first Zelda game and have done it on every Zelda game i've played (which is all of them), on my second and third files though I always name it Link, but naming my first file Dustin, it's become like a sort of habit, and it makes me feel more like i'm in the game.

  • Shaelyn

    I like the idea of using Link, but I normally substitute Shae or Shaelyn instead. this is partly to know the difference between save files, and partly because when my alias is used, I feel more like when a character talks to Link, they're speaking directly at me, and thus provides better flow between the game and me. I don't normally change the name to something humorous.

  • link, link, or link.
    that's the only names i use, ever.
    but 1 time i named link, "SHDC1" because i was sharing it with my bestfriend.
    and he wanted to break the tradition.

    but i am a zelda fan for life.
    and i will ALWAYS keep his true name.

    but i have a question.
    why can't you change "ganondorf".?

  • I use Joejonas and/or Zefron

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  • Yes that's true I never follow wrong things so always put name for my every games. well its all about your own creativity.

  • Matt

    The daft thing is that on the DS, your real name (or nick) is the default. Not Link. So people who want to name him Link on the DS games actually have to delete their real / nick name and manually put in Link. That surely means that Nintendo intended people to use their real names. I always use Matt in all my files, and always will do, because it makes me feel more like I'm part of the game.

  • twilight princess

    i use my name (jacinta) or nickname (sinty) for it i dont feel like im doing anything if its link, my big brother, big sister and i always use or own names its not a bad thing but i guess thats my opinion ive already finished zelda twilight princess twice and im a girl too but i havent finished any other zelda's because i started zelda ocarina of time on nintendo 64 wen i was 4 and my big brother always sed he was too busy to help me in a temple i had to things by myself but of course didnt finish it so i just played on the farm on my big brothers or sisters file. i new where to go to turn into an adult and where to fight ganondorf but wenever i attempted to fight him i alwaysgot too scared of dying so i would run away but now im really good at playing heaps of games and i like lots of anime too o wells anyways byee

  • epwnya617

    I’m offended by the casual comment, actually. I’m a hardcore Zelda fan and I don’t really think that because I use an option purposely put in the game such as changing the name of the characters, makes me any less of a gamer. I usually play through the first time keeping the names the same, but sometimes after you know every single secret in the game, it’s nice to play through and collect everything with a little bit of added humor. For example, I’m playing Oot on an emulator as I type this and the great Deku tree just said “Navi, please help aid my penis.” Come on, that’s totally worth it.

  • Anwargt4

    Only noobs changes the name of Link. He’s a legend and touching the name of this hero is a sin, and is so rediculous to put his own name. I know the origin of Link’s name but … he’s Link dude !!!