Hello gamers and welcome to day one, week nine of our 100 reviews in 100 days. Just a reminder, we’ve teamed up with pwnrank.com to bring you the top 100 games that the internet is talking about.
Walking us through the five stages of grief in the #60 position…
Majora ’s Mask came out on Nintendo 64 with great expectations. Although, it wasn’t quite what a lot of players were expecting as a follow up to Ocarina of Time. Like the antagonist of the game, it was slightly….odd. Despite, or maybe because of, its oddities Majora ‘s Mask is known as one of the great games released in its generation.
Down the Rabbit Hole
Following the events of Ocarina of Time, Link is traveling outside of Hyrule through a large forest. A strange child wearing an even stranger mask steals Link’s horse and he gives chase down the rabbit hole. Almost quite literally, as you tumble far, far, down underground. You emerge cursed by the child/mask into the form of a Deku Scrub…in what seems to be a parallel universe called Termina…and that the mask the child was wearing is apparently a great evil that is going to pull the moon into the local village called Clock Town in three days. Things couldn’t get worse…or weirder.
As the clock ticks, you attempt to find a cure to yourself of the curse and return to your normal form as well as figure out a way to stop the sky from falling. What you find is an ability to go back in time, to the beginning of the three days. So you begin your Groundhog’s Day adventure. In three day spurts, you adventure around the new and strange land to find a way to defeat the Majora ’s mask and the child wearing it, and stop the moon from destroying everything in Termina.
All in the Head
Majora ’s Mask’s gameplay revolves heavily around masks. If you ask your friendly neighborhood psychologist what masks mean from a psychoanalytical point of view, he’ll likely tell you it’s a subject that psychologists write entire thesis papers on. I wouldn’t normally talk about Legend of Zelda and Psychology if it weren’t for that Majora ’s Mask is the subject of many strange theories, and these theories are about psychology and death.
One of the more predominant of which centers around the Five Stages of Loss and Grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. The idea is that Clock Town represents Denial, because it’s denizens refuse to believe that the moon is going to destroy their town (even though by day three, it’s very VERY close), and that each of the four other areas Link travels to during his adventure represent the proceeding four stages. To further back up this idea is that representing zones appear in the correct chronological order. So this leads you to ask the obvious question (right?). Who was lost, and/or who is the subject of the grieving? This line of thought leads to another, darker theory.
Link is dead.
“What? No. But we’ve been playing as him!” you may say. Who’s in denial now?
The game begins with Link falling down a very deep hole when he chases his horse thief. At the bottom, the landing is anything but soft. He then finds himself in a mysterious unfamiliar world that makes no reference to Hyrule. The Link is Dead theory says that Link died from his fall, and now is in Hyrule’s version of a purgatory, and during the events of Majora ’s Mask, he progresses through the five stages of loss and grief. The scariest part of this theory is as you play the game, it reinforces the idea that Link is dead. You’re still in denial? Dust off your old 64, blow into your old cartridge, and give ol’ Majora ’s Mask another play-through. What’s the worst that could happen?
I was one of the people who was a bit off put by Majora ’s Mask when it first came out. I wasn’t expecting the game I got. If you asked me right after I finished playing it when I was young, I might have even said I didn’t like it. As I’ve grown up though, like a good scotch, I’ve come to appreciate Majora ’s Mask. The game is well rounded and has a lot of fun things to do besides the main story and is itself is more complex than at first glance. Biggest of all is that it’s unique. There is almost no reference to Hyrule, and Zelda only appears in a flashback. But somehow it’s still very much so a Zelda game. I give Majora ’s Mask a 4.5 out of 5, because it’s a game I could play again after nearly 15 years and would confidently suggest to someone who’s never played it.