Keep your hands off the Ocarina.

Guest Article by Joshua Lindquist

After twelve years, Ocarina of Time is finally being remade for a portable platform. The Nintendo 3DS is introducing a new way to play games that could breathe new life into this aging, but classic, game.

Before the game can be released, a lot of changes need to be made. After all, the Nintendo 3DS looks nothing like an N64 controller. The controls will be rearranged, some features may be removed (for example: I wouldn’t be surprised if you can only equip two items instead of three), and we may even get some new features.

During this transition to the Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo will no doubt experiment and debate how to handle one feature that is so crucial that they named the game after it: how to play the ocarina.

The new button layout of the Nintendo 3DS is going to mean that the ocarina gets changed some, but I believe that change shouldn’t be any more drastic than necessary. Specifically, there should be no blowing and no touch screen controls of any kind because this is a different kind of Zelda game.

The Pan Flute

The last handheld Zelda game, Spirit Tracks, included a pan flute that works very differently than the ocarina or any other instrument ever put in a Zelda game. Rather than simply pushing a button combination, you have to blow into the microphone and move the flute with the stylus. The idea is to make the pan flute work more like the real thing and it succeeds to some extent. Many players, including myself, were quickly immersed in the pan flute during the early stages of the game.

Unfortunately, as you neared the end of Spirit Tracks, the songs became more difficult to perform. This is the obvious progression of most games, but in this case it changed a fun and immersive experience into something bothersome that was nothing more than a fast way to get either frustrated, light-headed or both.

Overall, my experience playing Spirit Tracks and using the pan flute was more enjoyable than it was frustrating because only the last few songs – which usually only needed to be played a couple times during the game – were frustrating, but it didn’t leave me wishing that every other Zelda game would follow its lead.

Have you ever tried blowing at an Ocarina?

In Spirit Tracks, blowing into the microphone to make the pan flute work was fun for while (and I’m sure some players thought it was fun for the entire game), but the reason it was immersive and fun was because it was realistic. Have any of you ever played an ocarina? I never have, but I don’t need to play a real one to tell you can blow at it until you pass out, but you’ll never get a single note out of it.

Blowing into the microphone to play the ocarina would not be realistic. Because of this, there would be no immersion factor and instead you are left with nothing but a frustrating feature.

If you play an instrument similar to an ocarina you quickly learn that in order to make real music your mouth is going to remain mostly closed. Yes, you have to supply air from your mouth for it to make a sound, but it’s nothing like using a pan flute and there is no way to simulate this action with the Nintendo 3DS. Do any of you actually want to stick the 3DS in your mouth?

This is not a stylus-based Zelda game.

Here’s something else to think about: were you planning on using the stylus regularly while playing Ocarina of Time 3D? If you were, you might want to think again before you purchase this game because I assure you that the stylus will probably remain in its slot for most – if not all – of the game.

I have no doubt that menus and every feature of the HUD will be taken off the primary screen and moved to the touch screen. Because it is on the touch screen, you will probably be able to interact with the menus using the stylus. However, I think Nintendo will also make sure you can navigate the menus without touch controls and maybe even with a finger.

Have no doubt in your mind: this is the first Nintendo DS Zelda game that you will control primarily with an analog stick and buttons.

We just finished up a week of news coming straight from E3. During that time, Miyamoto and Aonuma spoke regularly about their plans to streamline the Zelda experience both in Skyward Sword and Ocarina of Time. I don’t think that requiring a player to take out and put away the stylus regularly falls into their plans for streamlining the experience.

Looking At the Possibilities

I mentioned before that I have no doubt that Nintendo experimented with how to make the ocarina work without using the traditional buttons. So, let’s switch gears for a minute to explore two possibilities.

  1. When you activate the ocarina, the touch screen changes to a musical scale and add touch activated buttons for each of the possible notes: A, up, down, left, and right.
  2. When you activate the ocarina, the touch screen changes to a visualization of the ocarina itself. You could then cover specific holes in the instrument to simulate actually playing different notes.

There are a few problems with both of these. One of the biggest problems really doesn’t affect the game play at all, but it would change a feature that I’m sure is an enjoyable part of the game for music fans. Did you know the ocarina can play more than five notes?

By using the R button, Z button, and analog stick (on the original Nintendo 64 controller) you can actually play a wide range of notes. The official player’s guide for Ocarina of Time actually included a guide for how to play the Kakariko Village theme song on the ocarina.

Both of these options forget how much the ocarina is capable of. Yes, they could still make it work somehow with additional buttons or requiring that you push buttons and use the touch screen, but fixing it just makes it more complicated. Now I have to cover holes and push buttons?

The ocarina visualization option also presents a possible technical problem. If this is going to be a realistic simulation, some notes will require covering more than one hole. In order for this to work, the Nintendo 3DS needs a touch screen capable of recognizing two or more spots at once. Alternatively, you could use an unrealistic method that just requires five holes (one for each note).

A couple more thoughts:

  1. Both of these options ignore the developer’s goal to streamline the experience (which I mentioned previously).
  2. They are completely different from the rest of the game and require stopping and changing your play method
  3. Neither of these options, nor any others you can think of, are not present in the original Ocarina of Time.

This is the Ocarina of Time.

We all heard that Miyamoto wanted to recreate Ocarina of Time because he wanted to see Hyrule Field in 3D. Sounds like a good plan to me, but I can think of another reason to remake the game: It’s The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

This is the game that until last week was ranked as the highest rated game of all time. As far as I’m concerned, it still is.

This game has been put at the top of “greatest games of all time” lists for over a decade.

It was so well received that many Zelda fans didn’t play any of the games that were released before it. Many of those fans actually thought it was the first Zelda game ever released and referred to Majora’s Mask as “Zelda 2.”

This game was the reason people bought Nintendo 64 and the reason people were disappointed and shocked by the drastic graphical change in The Wind Waker.

Likewise, this is the reason so many fans jumped for joy when Twilight Princess was revealed with a more realistic graphical style and why some fans are now upset about the reversal taking place in Skyward Sword.

This is the game that got some people into video games. This is the game that truly defines The Legend of Zelda series.

I’ll even dare to say that this game is the reason that all of your favorite (or not so favorite) Zelda websites exist at all.

Shigeru Miyamoto, Eiji Aonuma, and everyone else at Nintendo know exactly what game they are messing with. One of the worst things Nintendo could do to this game is drastically change how the ocarina is played. Old fans, and returning fans, will expect it to be the same as before. And while some fans may walk away disappointed about some other change in the game, I believe more people would walk away because of changes to the ocarina than any other part of this beloved game.

Keep your hands off the ocarina.

Just the Beginning

This is the beginning of a short series of articles about the upcoming remake of Ocarina of Time. In the next article, I’ll look at some ways that the developers can reach their goal of streamlining the experience.

  • Soeroah

    I certainly hope it isn’t stylus controlled. I enjoyed Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks, but I hated how my DS screen got scratched so much because EVERYTHING was stylus controlled-talking, menus, rolling, slashing, running, puzzles, throwing, shooting…I don’t think I really did anything without the stylus in Phantom Hourglass.

    A thought occurs, does anyone think Master Quest would be included in the Ocarina of Time 3DS game?

    • LuX

      I think this could be Master quest…..Just not called Master Quest….
      Anyway either way I'm kinda hoping they throw in the extra temple or two that Master Quest was supposed to feature, but more specifically I'd like another temple before we leave the chamber of time as an Adult.

      Sort of similar to the Temple of Time one from TP. I think that would be pretty cool.

    • When I got Spirit Tracks I was afraid my stylus would dredge through the screen to the LCD…

  • Toph

    I agree with you 100%…while the Spirit Flute was fun, trying to play that thing towards the end of the game became an endurance trial. And to avoid scratching your DS screen, they do sell clear plastic covers for both top and bottom screen in most DS novelty upgrade kits. Top screen covers aren't needed, leaving you with 6 bottom screen covers. Keeps a screen clean. And no, I don't think a DS cartridge could support two games in one. They could do a Twin Snakes thing and have the cartridge for both games in one set.

  • ACCloud

    @Soeroah: I'm personally hoping that we'll get the Master Quest originally intended for the 64DD – the one which reportedly added beta content to the game. C'mon Light Temple! =P

    • Aleksandar

      whoa that would be just sweet!

  • Petra

    I respectfully disagree (with the ocarina part, at least, I'm too tired to read the whole thing). I think it's a good idea because I would love to have a reeeeeeeeeeally good game (with slight differences) made portable. I actually plan on buying the 3DS just for this game. (and others, but this was the deciding factor)

    • skyward sword

      if you didnt read the hole thing,shut your damn mouth!!!

  • Petra

    Ooh! I agree about the stylus control, but It would be a good idea for equipping certain items (say, the iron boots in, say, the Water Temple). For the ocarina, I think blowing is fine, but for the holes, definitely buttons, not the touch screen.

  • frank

    "before the game can be released, a lot of changes need to be made. After all, the Nintendo 3DS looks nothing like an N64 controller"

    I don't think its that hard, there are enough buttons:
    – A and B remain the same
    – L and R remain the same
    – There is an analog mechanism for the C stick.
    – the D-pad can function as the C buttons (if it works independent from the analog stick)
    – you can use Y or X button as the Z button, that works fine as long you don't have to keep it pressed all the time you want to focus on something

    Did i forgot a button?

    • EDracon

      I think L will be Z… because on the N64 your left index finger was on Z not L

      • Shadow

        I would agree. The L button was used to replace the Z button for the Gamecube re-release of OoT bundled with The Wind Waker.

    • X x7

      how would you move around? Unless you mean that the c stick is the analog stick on the N64

  • Nice article. I'm sure Nintendo will think about something 🙂

  • eliot

    It could be like:
    A & B remain the same
    X & Y for items (only two)
    D pad plays the ocarina and makes camera an map changes
    L is z-targeting
    R is shield
    The touch screen is used to actvate the ocarina, change tunics, boots, etc

  • eliot

    … and please put the magic arrows in a single item (BOW) like in the windwaker

  • I REALLY hope that the Ocarina won't be controlled via the microphone… I still remember Spirit Tracks. (As odd as it may sound) I never finished that game, because I got stuck on the 4th Lokomo duet. I was NEVER able to get it right, and stopped trying after a while.

    • EDracon

      Spirit Tracks seemed to be made for musicians, because if you can play an instrument well in real life, you can most likely play all of the songs in spirit tracks easily. I had no trouble with them, and neither did my other friends who played instruments. My friends who played nothing had alot of trouble with it.

      • Keimori

        Realy? i don't play anything at all and played the songs just fine.

  • Reign

    I liked that the Spirit Flute was a little bit more difficult than other Zelda instruments have been to use, it adds a little bit of a realistic touch. But I do agree that they should not do that for the ocarina. As for the game in whole, I want everything to stay exactly the same EXCEPT FOR THE FRIGGIN WATER TEMPLE!

    • Tim

      I would like the Water Temple more or less the same, but I would want it a little remixed. I remember how hard it was, and even though it was tough, I don't want a total change, just a little remixed. Aonuma is fixing how you select the Iron Boots, so that was probably the biggest pain for me.

    • skyward sword

      dude,I completely agree.i was stuk on the fuckin water temple for like a year

  • I think they should make the item equipping like the n64 except that you touch it. That would leave some buttons for other new features!

  • Lord_Santa


    Master Quest has been out on GameCube since many, many, many years back

    it's on a collector's edition mini-DVD

    back on track;

    nice rundown, but a lot of assumptions about a game, which (if I'm not completely mistaken) people hardly know anything about

    I'm looking forward to the rest of this series of articles, though, as it's interesting to hear a fan's expectations

  • Interesting article. You've explained a lot of good points. I think a simple way for the Ocarina to work would to be using the A Button and the D-Pad. I'm guessing the D-Pad would be useless if the map is going to appear on the touch screen though it would feel weird playing like that.

  • TheMaverickk

    "This is the game that truly defines The Legend of Zelda series."

    It's sad to read something like this, because for a lot of people don't realize that Ocarina of Time was not that definitive. It's only definitive because for some people it was the first Zelda game ever played in their entire life.

    For others it was definitive because it was the first 3D Zelda game, and it set the bar for all adventure games that followed.

    Personally I remember waiting for this game…. 7 years after Link to the Past. In the time I spent waiting for Ocarina of Time, Link to the Past was the one and THE Zelda game (even though Link's Awakening was a great game) to entertain. It introduced a mythos for the world of Hyrule… talking about Ganon's thief roots, the creation of Hyrule by the 3 goddesses, 7 sages who sealed Ganon into the sacred realm, the Master Sword in it's pedestal in the Lost Woods, Zora's giving Link the ability to swim, the first time Zelda had two worlds to explore (light and dark) the Ocarina was even in it (although it was called Flute).

    For me and I'm sure other out there… Link to the Past is the true definitive Zelda game. It reigned alone for 7 years before it's Ocarina of Time follow up was released… it was the origin of almost every story element in Ocarina of Time. It set in the system of using a dungeon item to defeat a boss (although there was usually some creative freedom as other items worked as well).

    Ocarina was a wonderful game that brought the series into 3D… but honestly it wasn't definitive. Link to the Past defined the series elements to the Zelda we play today. Ocarina just brought that into the 3rd dimension. Anyhow that's just my rant, mind you I completely understand that for most those around now Ocarina of Time was the first Zelda title they ever played. In either case though it's just good to give some recognition on a title which seems to get completely overshadowed by it's predecessor in these days.

    • Tim

      I agree with you for the most part, but OoT was definitive because it set the standard for 3rd person games. I love ALttP, and feel that recent Zeldas could have learned a lot from its semi-free form bosses and exploration. I personally haven't finished ALttP yet (I have the GBA version), but I love it. And WW was my first Zelda (Go cell shading!!)

      • Keimori

        I agree, i think calling OoT not definivee is going too far, sure OoT is not AS definitieve as ALttP, but it's still Verry Definitve indeed.

  • Taha Soysal

    Why don't they just make the songs selectable from a menu, like they did in Oracle of Ages?

    • X x7

      caus thats boring.

    • skyward sword


      • Keimori

        Dude, the tech may have been limited but theres no reason to be so rude.

        • Nintenfan81

          Rude yes, but he has a point. And besides that how would the fans react to that idea? They would burn down Nintendo HQ, thats how.

  • Steelslasher

    What are you trying to say? That change can sometimes be bad? Well Nintendo knows that and you should probably spend more time writing articles with actual meaning than just looking at things with extreme cynicism, Nintendo is the oldest major game developer, publisher and hardware developer, they probably know what they are doing.

    • Tim

      Didn't he say that in the article?

    • As Tim brought up, he actually says that in the article. He also says that this is but the first in a series of articles. While this one focuses on what could potentially be done wrong, the next one will l"ook at some ways that the developers can reach their goal of streamlining the experience."

      Have *you* spent any time writing "articles with actual meaning"? This article contains plenty of meaning if you're willing to see it.

      • Nintenfan81

        Their is no meaning in things like this. Fun things to consider about a great game but still something easily cut from your life with no serious conciquence.

        ……Not that I didn't hang onto every word, I'm just saying.

  • Shadowoflight

    I case you didn't noticed in the trailer showing Ocarina of time, Majora's mask, Wind waker and twilight princess

    This might indicate that this is a mixture of all these games.
    And it might also give you a clue of what this game is about ( hint )

    In order to put all elements in that Era, realistic graphics alone won't do.

    • X x7

      no, Nintendo specifically stated that the meaning of it was that they were their prime main console games, and that SS was going to be the fifth.

  • liv4link21

    100% agree, they really need to be careful and hopefully they will realize they need to stick to the older version because afterall almost all the people that buy this game are going to be people that played the original ocarina of time. And funny I never realized till this day that ocarina of time really was the game that got me started gaming, I never really played video games till I played that one and I most deffinitelly use OoT as a standard to other games I play.

  • Love this article!! This is the reason I want a 3DS — And I'm actually more excited for this than I am for Skyward Sword. I've been waiting for this remake for 12 years! I totally agree with you. It is a CONSOLE game, not a portable. They should keep it that way… but I understand they want to use the 3D, so. As long as it keeps its console feeling, I'm good with this.

  • Ulises

    the flute in spirit tracks was both challenging and enjoyable, don't be afraid of changes (wich are most likely going to happen)

  • X x7

    I really don't think that the spirit flute was hard at all throughout the game. They shoud've made it harder. I didn't fail once when doing the lokomo songs, and all of the the songs that I had to play otherwise were at most 5 notes, and at least 2 notes! I wasn't really sure if Nintendo was kidding or not when I saw those!

  • NorthApple

    Can I just say, it isn't as simple as just blowing into a panflute either, you have to angle your breath correctly or you won't get a sound out of it, and you can spend hours and hours trying to, but it won't work if you're not doing it right. The article says this about the Ocarina, but having played both I'd say personally, Ocarina's aren't like this at all (you can pick one up and make a sound (at least, if not an actual note or song) straight away, just by blowing into it), but Panflutes are 10x harder to play as they initially require more technique.
    Also, I have no idea how you blow into the mic, but I know I do it with the same lip-shape I make when I'm playing a wind instrument, such as an Ocarina. It's not like my mouth's wide open when I'm blowing into the mic or anything, it's pretty much closed… though I appreciate the point, you can't really simulate the mouth piece of an ocarina with a 3DS mic XDD

    Overall, I agree, I hope they just find a suitable way to map it to the buttons… considering the 3DS has both a d-pad, 4 main button on the front, and the sliding analog stick thing (XDD) I think there'd be ample space to do this anyway. I just hope they realise that…

    • skyward sword

      and your point,is?

      • NorthApple

        Just pointing out some stuff, that was all. But my point was in the last paragraph: I agree with the article and hope they don't tack on some gimicky control system for the sake of it. Which I don't think they will…

        Please make sure your question is relevant next time :3

  • Complaining about a game we know nearly nothing about yet and jumping to ridiculous conclusions? Ugh, so typical. >_>

    • He isn't complaining, and he isn't jumping to conclusions. He's simply bringing up the fact that changes will have to be made to the game when it's recreated for the 3DS, and discussing which potential changes wouldn't be well received and (in the next article) which would be enjoyable.

      And actually, we know quite a lot about this game, since it already exists. And because it already exists, it's possible to discuss it intelligently and make predictions as to how it may be altered to suit a different console.

  • Zelda4ever

    The spirit flute was the worst. I despise that thing. I was stuck on a song to get to a temple for a half hour, a song only played once. If they mess with the ocarina, I don't expect a lot of people to be happy about it. Just use the d-pad and a button, its not that hard.

  • Matt

    *time travels**buys Oot 3Ds*


    • Tsubasa_Zero

      Just watch out that you don't travel to far in the future liek Cartmen did XD

  • I LOVED the Spirit Flute and thought that it was much, much better implemented and more immersive than the Ocarina. And not overly difficult at all. I'm surprised at all the people saying they had problems with it. But then again, I play wind instruments (and have and play an ocarina of my own).

    The point made about the "extra" notes doesn't take into account how real ocarinas are played: sharp and flat notes are played by only partially covering holes. This could easily be implemented on a touchscreen graphical representation of the ocarina.

  • Pingback: GoNintendo - Keep your hands off the Ocarina()

  • GenoKID

    Ya know, there will have to be some modifications for controls, and in some cases, the stylus can be useful. When Aonuma spoke of the Iron Boots thing, he might have been refering to some new, probably stylus based change to it. As far as I can remember, that was a flaw of the original (perhaps the only flaw). Stylus based menu controls are reasonable, and, if you plan it right, stylus based ocarinas can work. (Tap the bar you want to play on, use L, R to change sharp, flat.) It almost needs some stylus control to be funtional on the 3DS.

  • Death Killington

    They better not make any part of this remake even remotely close to ST. It's not that I'm an OOT nostalgia fag, it's just that ST is the worst game I've ever played. I've played Superman 64 and liked it better than ST.

    • X x7

      well youre a hater

  • Silver Scale

    I'd like to point out that although I've never played one, according to this eBay listing from one of the best Ocarina makers out there (Spencer Register)…

    "Anyone, regardless of ability, will be able to play songs instantly!"

    "The ocarina starts sounding at the first small puff of air."

    Not advertising, just supplying quality evidence. 😉

  • Keimori

    relax folks, the crew at nintendo know very well what their messing with, they won't screw it up.

  • I think that the Master Quest will absolutely be included and also there’s a great probability that Majora’s Mask get’s to be included also. They could have also been included on the DS (DS’s maximum cartridge capability is 256 mb and OoT and MM together have a size of 128 mb. But then we know that Nintendo isn’t stupid and maybe they’ll make the games sold separately just for the money.

  • Cukeman

    2 "C-buttons" is enough, you can't use the slingshot and a bomb at the same time anyways, much less adding the hookshot into the mix

  • Guest

    I 110% agree with this article. I hate what video games are becoming nowadays with all the motion and trying to be all realistic and other nonsense. I cant stand the Wii and I dislike the DS but I can tolerate it a bit…at least enough to purchase one for Ocarina of Time. Please Nintendo, I say this with much respect…but PLEASE dont make this awesome game suck!!

  • Matt17

    nice summary. it all makes sense.
    I agree with everything. even if they change stuff, I will still get it cuz it ahs "zelda" in the title

  • Thanks for all the comments on this one. It sounds like the majority of you agree with me.

    It also sounds like a few of you are already spilling into the rest of this article series, so that'll give you some hints as to what is coming.

  • akalink

    I began reading this article and found it full of assumptions and fluff, it absolutely disgusted me.. How do you know so much about this game when there are only screen shots? How do you know so much about instruments? You even assumed that a real Ocarina is difficult to play (when in reality it isn't). Didn't Miyamoto or someone else from Nintendo state that Twilight Princess would be the last of its kind? Would that mean that we may very well have touch screen controls like the previous DS installments. Your article is far to biased, I have no idea why it even made it to the front page.
    -A long time Lurker

  • ididntliketp

    Here's what I think. Don't remake the game. Emulate it with 3-D graphics.

  • ApocolypticMuffin

    Ocarina of Time was my first game EVER… I remember my dad being into video games more back then and he taught me all the controls and what to do when I got stuck….. This game is very dear too me and I do NOT want Nintendo screwing it up! Granted, they probably won't and I'll end up buying it regardless, but Ocarina of Time was, well, OCARINA OF TIME!!!! Like you said, Nintendo knows what they're dealing with here and they won't ruin it!

    Now about the Ocarina controls. What if they used the touch screen and had Up-C through A in a diagonal slant on the bottom screen, representing a musical scale (but with only five notes) and have the actual notes you've played displayed on the top screen? I think that would be a good but not too extensive use of the touch controls!

  • TrevorM

    If someone has brought this up already I'm sorry. Why not use the analo stick and the A button to play the ocarina when the G-Cleft pops up?

  • Kasuto

    I totally agree with the Ocarina setup with this new 3DS. In fact, OoT is the ONLY reason I’m getting one.
    But I also remember way back when everybody around me thought MM WAS Zelda 2. O.o
    I miss those days…

  • TryforceOcarina

    well i play the ocarina in real life. (OOT replica from songbird ocarinas) and even i think its a bad idea to make big changes to the reiginal way of playing the ocarina. on ocarina of time. like the ocarina in real life the in game way was simpel and could be done without much truble (if you could remember the song) and thats was one of the most brilliant things in oot beacuse there were enough puzls st it was we dont need for the ocarina to be a puzl every time we have to play it.. and just in case some of you dont think the ocarina is real check or

    triforceocarina is me and docjazz is one of the most famus ocarina players on youtube and have made many people see the true beauty in the ocarina..

  • mattj

    "Have any of you ever played an ocarina? I never have, but I don’t need to play a real one to tell you can blow at it until you pass out, but you’ll never get a single note out of it."

    As someone who is competent with wind instruments, I'd have to disagree bro. Give it a shot maybe before you knock it.

    • TryforceOcarina

      i play the ocarina every day.. ( i stated that in my comment just above youres..) and i agree it wuld not make it more like a real ocarina..

  • KRSplat

    What? blowing into ocarinas is how it works

  • poiu

    This kind of thinking is childish and absurd. I'm sick of Zelda fans who take such an undeserved pride in their mantle that they're willing to get up in arms over how Nintendo chooses (or in this case, MIGHT choose) how to present THEIR game. Fear and doubt like this is what has constricted this series and coaxed it into squeezing out games in a nigh-unchanged OoT formula in the 12 years since its release. In whatever case they decide to do something novel that the established OoT-hungry Zelda fanbase doesn't abide, they are more than welcome to drop the series and leave it with people who actually appreciate the creative minds behind it.

    P.S., a touch-activated musical staff would be 10x as intuitive for playing the ocarina as wrestling with that mutant N64 controller

  • Coolmanx

    Maybe the new the slide pad will move Link! But really, we need t-he that triforce! The unicorn fountain!

  • Laughing Tachikoma

    I for one absolutely LOVED the pan flute. I thought that it was a great innovation that allowed for more realism in the game. I did, however, play it on a DSi. one thing that Nintendo didn't realize about the DS is that alot of southpaws cover up the mic with their hands (I'm right handed but a friend of mine had this issue). Anyways, I handed him my DSi and he was reconciled with the pan flute immediately! As far as I know, the main issue was getting the mic to work correctly. I for one never had to play a song more than once, and spent alot of time messing around with the flute as soon as i got it! The Ocarina could work almost the same way, albeit less realistically. How about a visualization on screen (Not necessary, I suppose), but use the buttons to control the note you want to play and blow into the mic to actually PLAY the notes? there could even be an option to play the sound as you press the button (without blowing), but with the blowing, you could set it up to play a compound note. maybe it would be better to have an option…?