Many SPOILERS are contained throughout these posts. You have been warned!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Thoughts on Majora's Mask

The story of Majora's Mask, while it may seem silly on the outside, is really one of the deepest and most touching video game experiences.

Even the intro to this game is really creepy, sad, and ominous and has this deep sense of mystery to it.

In the land of Hyrule, there echoes a legend.
A legend held dearly by the Royal Family that tells of a boy...
A boy who, after battling evil and saving Hyrule, crept away from the land that had made him a legend...
Done with the battles he once waged across time, he embarked on a journey.
A secret and personal journey...
A journey in search of a beloved and invaluable friend...
A friend with whom he parted ways when he finally fulfilled his heroic destiny and took his place among legends...

Such a short and sweet prologue, but that little bit of narration sets the mood of the whole game. It is a story of sadness and regret, dealing with lost friendships, and learning to overcome your losses instead of letting them consume you.

After returning to his own time at the end of OoT, Link felt like something was missing from his life. He set out on a search to find his special friend, the one who had been with him since the beginning. The friend he is looking for is none other than Navi. Having grown up in the Kokiri Forest without a fairy, feeling like an outcast most of his life, Navi must have been very dear to him. It wouldn't be a stretch to say that Link wouldn't have gained the courage to make it as far as he did without Navi helping him along. Her sudden departure must left Link feeling as empty and lost as he did back when he was a fairyless Kokiri boy.

Just as Link is dealing with the loss of his close friend, the Skull Kid is also dealing with the loss of his 4 close friends. The skull kid's situation is very much like Link's both of them are dealing with the loss of a friend, and both of them are haunted by the evil in Majora's Mask.

The creepiness of this mask is unlike any other Zelda boss. It's not a dark, powerful evil like Ganondorf, but more a psychological evil.

As Link treks through the lost woods, he also loses his horse, loses the Ocarina of Time, gets chased by giant Deku scrubs, gets turned into a Deku scrub himself, falls into a deep hole and goes through a trippy Alice in Wonderland sequence.

At this point one might begin to speculate that the curse of the Lost Woods hinted at in OoT is now affecting Link and this is the sort of thing that you'd go through before dying and turning into a stalfos... well, close. After falling into Termina the skull kid uses his creepy powers of staring and twitching his head and makes Link's body get taken over by the soul of a dead Deku Scrub.

To top it all off, there's the mask salesman.

This is undoubtably the strangest character in the Zelda series. His demeanor, his dialogue, his role in the story inspires many ridiculous and off-the-wall speculations as to the meaning of Majora's Mask. He seems to know about everything that's going on... There are tons of wacky theories you might have for this guy. I think the mask salesman represents Buddha. The man of many faces.

Somehow after the fall he ends up in the bottom of a tower in a completely new, strange town. This parallel world aspect was presented extremely well. You get a sense of atmosphere and story that is entirely unlike the classic tales of Hyrule and the Triforce. There's the fact that you start out smack-dab in the middle of a bustling town, There's no talk of a destined hero coming to save the land from evil, everyone seems to have their own agendas, and Link's story is just one of the many important stories being played during the 3 days.

You get to see all these separate stories play out, and at the end of each story you recieve a mask. These masks end up being a very important plot element. When you first arrive in Termina, you meet a Great Fairy who has been separated into stray fairies, and your first task is to find the missing stray fairy so she can become whole again. This theme of bringing people together recurs throughout the rest of the game.

Throughout the game's dungeons there are stray fairies scattered around, and they too need to be brought back together so they can be whole again. Also the dungeons are separated into four areas of Termina that seem to be completely separated as if each area is its own world. By defeating the boss in each dungeon and collecting its remains in a mask, the four giants from each of the four directions can be reunited and brought back together.

Speaking of which, this game's dungeons are very well designed. A huge improvement over Ocarina of Time's dungeons (which are also very well designed but too much on the easy side). I think these dungeons have a very unique spin to the classic Zelda formula while still staying true to the series.

What really makes this game stand out is the Stone Tower Temple. Why? Everything about it is perfect. It's unique, it's challenging, it makes good use of all the items and abilities you got in previous dungeons, it has some badass enemies...

it has amazing architecture...


Even with its amazing dungeons, you may get turned off by the fact there is only four of them. While this game only has 4 main dungeons, it does a really good job of filling the gaps between them with sidequests that are very relevant and important to the story. All of these tie into the main theme of the game's story.

At the swamp, you get the story of the Deku Butler who suffered the loss of his son, and Link helps him out by racing him and helping bring him a bit closer to coping with his loss. At the mountain, Link helps a Goron fill his stomach and recieve the Don Gero mask, then after spring returns to the mountain he brings the singing frog group back together. At the ocean, Link brings 2 seahorses back together, brings the Zora eggs together so they can hatch, and helps the Zora Band rehearse their new song. At the canyon, Link recieves the mask of Skull Keeta and uses it to bring the dead soldiers of Ikana to rest, reunites the ghosts of the two composer brothers, Flat and Sharp, de-mummifies a girl's father.

Some of the sidequests have even more story relevance than the main quests...

There are sidequests about an innkeeper and her missing fiance, an alien abduction, and various townsfolk preparing for the end of the world in their own ways... It seems almost futile in the end, Link helping all of these people even though he'll just end up rewinding time anyway, and all he gets out of it is a mask. Are these masks really that important? It doesn't seem like it, until you reach the game's conclusion...

Finally, after helping everyone and obtaining all the masks, you can now confront the Skull Kid, and receive the final mask. As I said before, the Skull Kid's story is very much like Link's. The Skull Kid fell into a deep depression because his friends, the four giants, left him alone. Majora's Mask used his sadness to take control of him and wreak havoc on the world. Just by playing pranks on people at first, causing people to doubt each other and separate. Using the power of the mask, he tries to destroy Termina to get revenge on those who took his friends away from him.

When Link helps bring everyone back together, he receives masks from them. These masks represent the happiness that Link has brought to those people. Each mask represents a different story, an ego, a version of the person who Linked helped make happier.

The Oath to Order is the song that brings the four giants back together. They stop the moon from falling, then the Majora's Mask takes on a life of its own and goes inside the moon, with Link following it. Inside is a playground where a bunch of children are running around wearing the masks of the 4 bosses, and another child sitting by the tree wearing Majora's Mask.

I think these children are supposed to represent the gods of Termina. They are wearing the cursed masks of the bosses who invaded the four temples, which correlates with what has been happening in Termina. The 4 children running around all want to play hide and seek with Link. Hide and seek is the basic philosophical game of beings who know they are gods. Knowing all and seeing all would be a huge bore, and the only way to experience a thrill would be to make something unknown to you, by playing hide and seek.

But when you talk to the kid wearing Majora's Mask, on the other hand...
...Everyone has gone away, haven't they?  Will you play... with me?

You don't have any masks left, do you?  Well, let's do something else.  Let's play good guys against bad guys... Yes.  Let's play that.

Are you ready?  You're the bad guy.  And when you're bad, you just run.  That's fine, right?  Well... Shall we play?
He doesn't want to play hide and seek, but instead wants to play a game of good guys vs. bad guys. This is the basic philosophical game of people who believe in a god or diety. Instead of acting as you are one with the universe, you act as an individual and believe in external beings or gods. The stories of Christianity, for example, are deeply rooted in the theme of good vs. evil, giving a very serious and negative spin on the mysteries of life. Whereas the concepts of eastern religions are based on selflessness, enlightenment, reincarnation, giving a more optimistic spin on the mysteries of life. I believe Majora represents western philosophical views while the other kids who only want to play hide and seek represent eastern philosophical views.

Finally, when Link plays hide and seek with the four children inside the moon and gives all his masks to them, you get to see the true ending where all of Link's helping people throughout all of the time cycles have come together into one timeline. To reaffirm my theory that the children inside the moon are the gods of Termina, they use the masks Link gives them to merge all of these timelines together... They recreated the world using the souls of these masks.


  1. Hello, just found this.

    What textures are you using? the screenshots have FAR better graphics than the orginal game.

    Oh, I agree with everything in the article too, and have felt the same way for a while.

    You can reply by contacting me at

  2. I like the idea of the power of the masks being used to resolve everyone's problems in one timeline. It bothered me a great deal that on the final three day cycle, most peoples' problems went unsolved. This was a good read all round. I greatly admire the depth of this game.

  3. Just wanted to drop a line saying I enjoyed reading this account of Majora's Mask.

  4. Oh my gosh the textures...they're so nice. Well, accept for the Salesman's face...that's kind of terrifying. But, if I could, I'd totally use these textures in the game. They're so nice looking! *u*