The Zero Hour

Reviews, rants and oddities on video game and film culture.

Majora’s Mask is darker than you think…

Majora’s Mask. A highlight of the Zelda franchise and my number 11th game of all time, is a very dark game. Zelda games have been known for moments of bleakness and lack of hope, from the start of the adult saga in Ocarina Of Time to the Dark World, Zelda games have a habit of making the player feel like they’ve messed up and brought on the end of the world. Majora’s Mask has the end of the world staring back at you. The game contains little details that if you dwell on, make the game fairly unpleasant, but at the same time, more interesting and incredible, potentially Majora’s Mask could be the darkest game ever in it’s own weird way. With the help of my good friends at TV Tropes, I’ve compiled a list of all the sinister, strange and downright weird stuff that you may have overlooked in the game.

. The Redeads and Gibdos (essentially Zombies and Mummies) don’t fade when defeated, like other enemies. They lay on the floor motionless for all to see…Also, if you kill one and leave others alive, they’ll walk over to it and go down near it. Is that to give respect or have lunch?

. The Happy Mask Salesman. He wants Majora’s Mask. Everyone who’s evil wants Majora’s Mask…

.He has a Mario mask on his backpack. Fun little easter egg, right? How does Link get his masks? People die, he plays the song of healing and then their faces become masks (that’s pretty creepy in itself), so effectively, the Happy Mask Salesman has killed Mario.

.At the start of the game, having just restored link to his normal self, he says, “And now, that which you promised me.” and he holds out his hand. And Link obviously doesn’t have it. to which, the salesman, still smiling, says: “Don’t tell me… That you… didn’t… you have it… don’t you..?” Suddenly, his eyes turn into horrific red demon eyes and he starts throttling Link, screaming “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO ME!!!”

.You fail. Moon falls. Wall of flame engulfs you character, destroying him and the world. Majora’s Mask appears, and fades out- the screen fades to black. You hear a laugh. It’s not the Skull Kid, It’s not the Majora’s Mask, it’s the Mask Salesman’s laugh. He says: “You’ve met with a terrible fate, haven’t you?” And the game is over.

. Transforming is a horrible experience. Link puts on the mask and you hear cracking sounds, Link’s mask has become one with his face, his mouth wide open in pain, blood shot and veined eyes and a piercing scream. It’s terrifying to watch. So here you go…

. The transformation at the start where Link is forcibly changed into a Deku Scrub, horrible…

. The fact that the Link in this game is 10 years old. If he was the adult incarnation, that’s slightly less worrying, but he’s not. Think about how petrifying that must be for him, as a child, lost, alone and turned into a bastard chimera. Also, watch the movie of just after his transformation into a Deku Scrub at the start and watch his reaction, it’s pretty haunting.

. The alien abduction mini-game on Romani Ranch. Basically, Aliens come on the first night and abduct cows (???). You, with the help of Romani, have to fend them off. If you don’t bother or you fail. She gets abducted as well. Basically, that’s quite a motive, a little girl gets kidnapped if you fail a mini-game??? Insane. Come back the next morning, and she’s there, well kind of. She’s a completely different person, eyes drooping, unable to talk and with her mouth hanging open. Something happened to her, and I don’ particularly want to know what…

. As I mentioned briefly before, the transformation masks were created by healing the souls of the deceased (one of whom died in front of you), meaning you literally become that Goron (Darmani) or Zora (Mikau), and take their place in society. That’s not the disturbing part. The disturbing part is… what happens when you leave? Mikau vanishes off the face of the planet, leaving his band high and dry and Darmani, who’s been elected the next Goron chief, and who everyone thought survived after all…You literally stamp on the tribes dreams.

. With that in mind, where does the Deku mask come from? If the Goron and Zora mask came from a deceased Goron and Zora, then what Deku Scrub was the Deku Mask taken from? Well. There’s a lonely tree stump at the start of the game. Not to mention the Deku Butler’s missing son (who isn’t a side quest), who, according to him, bears a resemblance to Deku Link. and of course the butler visiting said lonely sad dead tree at the game’s end.

. Despite the entire Ikana Valley part of the game being incredibly eerie, no one would ever suspect the pure, unadulterated horrors that could arise from inside the creepily cheerful sounding Music Box House by the river. You enter to what seems to be a normal looking home…until you go downstairs. Having a distorted half-man, half-Gibdo leap out at you, groaning in unholy agony, then limping across the room is hardly what you would call a treat. Let’s not forget that before you can even enter the Music Box House, it’s surrounded by a group of circling Gibdos moaning for the inhabitants of the house to come out and become one of them. It doesn’t make it any better that when you burn the Gibdo’s mummy wrappings with a Fire Arrow, it reveals the ReDead underneath. It also takes four Fire Arrows to kill them.

. The sequence in the moon is creepily eerie, yet utterly incredible. You’re warped into the moon, but inside, it’s a giant, blissful field with kids playing tag wearing the masks of creatures you’ve killed. It’s creepy, because it’s so idylic. A creature of such violence and destruction leaving in heaven just terrifies me.

. Skull Kid calling out to the moon. He shivers violently and gives out this horrible scream, as if it’s being ripped out of him. It’s bone chilling to the core.

. My favourite line in the whole game (nay, almost videogaming in itself) happens to be the creepiest. The giants stop the moon, but Majora’s Mask has other plans. The moon awakens again, his eyes suddenly glow red and he begins to move more violently accompinied by the immortal lines. “I Will Consume…Consume Everything!” It’s horrible and sends shivers down my spine, but it is just incredible.

. The moon is potentially the scariest thing in Nintendo history. Maybe more than Earthbound’s Giygas. It’s terrible enough that its on an impact course to Clock Town that will inevitably destroy all of Termina with it, but it now has the most horrifying of all faces added to it: fierce, glowing red eyes, and a mouth bared, showing a set of grayed teeth contorted into a grimacing expression. Hell, it almost looks as if its angry and in pain at the same time, eager to wipe the town clean, as if it’s caused it so much panic. Freaky…. Here’s an idea: When you’re heading to the Swamp to beat the Woodfall Temple, on the way there, go into first person view mode, look toward Clock Town and look upward. Your reward? That lunar body STARING DOWN AT YOU.  If you’re able to stare straight into its face for more than a full minute without hurriedly exiting First Person View mode and shuddering, you are the bravest person in the world. Worse is that there are certain cut scenes that end up featuring that Moon right in frame, even when they’re not specifically focusing on it. The worst part is that if you have the guts to stare straight up at it for extended lengths of time, you can actually see it descending… inch by agonizing inch.

. Elegy Of Emptiness, this song allows you to create a statue clone of yourself, regardless of the form you’re in, which is what makes it horrible. The Goron statue has white, dead eyes and a scar from shoulder to waist. The Zora form looks like it’s screaming…

. If you fall off the Inverted Stone Tower Temple, you fall into the sky, fall forever and ever and ever and ever and ever….

. When you met the ghost of Darmani, he’s so happy because the wise owl Kaepora Garbora said you can resurrect him. You can’t. When he realizes this, he is so full of disappointment. Also, when you wear his mask, all the Goron’s think Darmani survived and are so full of hope…and who’s Link to crush that hope? In some ways, that’s worse…

. The owner of the Swordsman School claims he will chop the moon in half. Go back in on the final evening, the dojo is empty. He leaves a note saying he’s gone on vacation, however he’s hiding in a secret room, curled up, rocking back and forth and is scared witless saying “I don’t want to die”.

. There is a monkey being held prisoner to the Deku Scrubs early on in the game, it’s all fairly harmless until you realized the Deku King has ordered him to be dunked in boiling oil.

. The All Night Mask. It apparently stops the user from sleeping. Now, why would anyone not want to sleep, as punishment, perhaps? A gossip stone even refers to it as a torture device. It’s a horrible prospect.

. Spider houses. No matter where you go in them, you can hear the scratching of the skulltula’s. Not to mention the Stalchildren (effectively child size skeletons) sitting at the table for no reason…maybe they’re awaiting a meal that will never come…

. On that subject. The Stalchildren were once soldiers of Ikana….WAIT! Ikana used children as soldiers and sent them to their deaths?

. The mirror shield has a screaming face on it that STARES AT YOU when not in use. As if there’s something trapped inside…

. If you fail the Anju & Kafei quest at the point when you have to retrieve the Sun Mask, you have to leave Kafei in the hideout. Locked in a room forever. Anju meanwhile is waiting for him to come back in Clock Town. Both will die in several hours…

. The fact that in the 72 hours that you’ve been given, you can’t do everything. If you Save Anju and Kafei’s marriage, but the poor monkey was boiled alive, the Gorons went extinct, the moon took out the city (Unless you made the mother of all speedruns to the clock tower to confront Skull Kid/Majora with all boss masks in tow), the ranch girl was abducted by aliens, the bomb shop’s shipment was stolen, and Pamela’s daddy became a zombie and ate her. Go back and fix one of the those things and Anju and Kafei’s marriage fails.

. Pamela lives in the aforementioned Music box house. She’s 10 years old and is trapped inside because of the Gibdos outside. To make things worse. Her dad is half a gibdo and locked in the wardrobe…

. Odolwa, the boss of Woodfall Temple is creepy if you dwell on him too much. He is constantly chanting something in a bizarre language, performs special attacks by tribal dancing, and will even spontaneously dance for no reason, not even attempting to attack you. And he keeps chanting through the entire fight. For beginners, he’s also ridiculously hard.

. A comment posted on this article before interested me on this subject. The Happy Mask Salesman mentions an ancient tribe, it could be related to Odolwa, it could be the Majora tribe. Maybe, Majora locked Odolwa in the woodfall temple for all time as punishment for something.This is purely speculation on my part, but maybe…

. What about Majora’s Mask (i.e. the item) itself? A cursed mask that posesses whoever wears it, basically bringing out and acting on the wearer’s hidden fantasies and insecurities – to the point where a lonely child missing his friends will feel compelled to destroy the entire world? And that, even if the person wearing it triumphs over these desires, the mask will have already gained enough power to function on its own? ……Plus, it just looks creepy as hell, just look at it, it stares into your soul…

Interestingly, it doesn’t look dis-similar to the markings of the Twilight Interlopers of Zelda: Twilight Princess.

Finally, cruelly unplaced in the first edition, I must discuss with you one character. And his name is Tingle. Tingle is a 40 year old man with rosy cheeks. That sounds harmless, right? He wears a one piece outfit (complete with hood) pants on the outside and floats in a balloon. He also spends his days hunting for fairies. Want a picture?
I would not trust him with a ten year old boy, even one as brave as Link…

Finally I turn your attention to the hand. If you’ve played the game, you’ll know what I mean. For those that don’t, The Stock Pot Inn has a dark secret (well it has couple to be honest) but the creepiest turns up at about Midnight. Go to the bathroom (still the only one I’ve ever seen in a Zelda game, typical…)  and a hand comes out of the loo, asking for paper….

Whilst this next section has little relevance to the game you’ve played or will ever play, I feel it’s important to mention this story as it purposely exposes those darker elements of the game that this article has mentioned. In September 2010, this was posted on the Paranormal board on 4chan;

“Guys, I need your help with this. This is a long read, I’m sorry for that, but I feel like my safety or well-being could very well depend on this. This is videogame related, specifically having to do with the Zelda game called “Majora’s Mask”, and this is the creepiest shit that has ever happened to me in my entire life.

I recently moved into  my dorm room starting as a Sophomore in college and a friend of mine gave  me his old Nintendo 64 to play. I was stoked, to say the least, I could  finally play all of those old games of my youth that I hadn’t touched in  at least a decade. His Nintendo 64 came with one yellow controller and a  rather shoddy copy of Super Smash Brothers, and while beggers can’t be  choosers, needless to say it didn’t take long until I became bored of  beating up the computer.

That weekend I decided to drive around a few neighborhoods about twenty  minutes or so off campus, hitting up the local garage sales, hoping to score on some good deals from  ignorant parents). I ended up picking up a copy of Pokemon Stadium,  Goldeneye (fuck yeah), F-Zero, and two other controllers for two dollars.  Satisfied, I began to drive out of the neighborhood when one last house  caught my attention. I still have no idea why it did, there were no cars  there and only one table was set up with random junk on it, but something  sort of drew me there. I usually trust my gut on these things so I got out  of the car and I was greeted by an old man. His outward appearance was,  for lack of a better word, displeasing. It was odd, if you asked me to  tell you why I thought he was displeasing, I couldn’t really pinpoint  anything – there was just something about him that put me on edge, I can’t  explain it. All I can tell you is that if it wasn’t in the middle of the afternoon and there were other people within shouting distance, I would not have even thought of approaching this man. He flashed a crooked smiled at me and asked what I was looking  for, and immediately I noticed that he must be blind in one of his eyes;  his right eye had that “glazed over” look about it. I forced myself to  look to his left eye instead, trying not to offend, and asked him if he  had any old videogames.

I was already wondering how I could politely excuse myself from the  situation when he would tell me he had no idea what a videogame was, but  to my surprise he said he had a few ones in an old box. He assured me he’d  be back in a “jiffy” and turned to head back into the garage. As I watched  him hobble away, I couldn’t help but notice what he was selling on his  table. Littered across his table were rather… pecuiliar paintings;  various artworks that looked like ink blots that a psychatrist might show  you. Curious, I looked through them – it was obvious why no one was  visiting this guy’s garage sale, these weren’t exactly asthetically  pleasing. As I came to the last one, for some reason it looked almost like  Majora’s Mask – the same heart-shaped body with little spikes protruding  outward. Initially I just thought that since I was secretly hoping to find  that game at these garage sales, some Freudian bullshit was projecting  itself into the ink blots, but given the events that happened afterward I’m  not so sure now. I should have asked the man about it. I wish I would have asked the man about it.
After staring at the Majora-shaped blot, I looked up and the old man was suddenly there  again, arms-length in front of me, smiling at me. I’ll admit I jumped out of reflex and I laughed nervously as he handed me a Nintendo 64 cartridge. It  was the standard grey color, except that someone had written Majora on it  in black permenent marker. I got butterflies in my stomach as I realized  what a coincidence this was and asked him how much he wanted for it. The  old man smiled at me and told me that I could have it for free, that it used to belong to a kid who was about my age that didn’t live here anymore. There was something weird about how the man phrased that, but I didn’t really pay any attention to then, I was too caught up in not only finding this game but getting it for free. I reminded myself to be a bit skeptical since this looked like a pretty shady cartridge and there’s no guarentee it would work, but then the optimist inside me interjected that maybe it was some kind of beta verison or pirated verison of the game and that was all I needed to be back on cloud nine.  I thanked the man and the man smiled at me and wished me well, saying “Goodbye then!” – at least that’s what it sounded like to me. All the way in the car-ride home, I had a ningling doubt that the man had said something else. My fears were confirmed when I booted up the game (to my surprise it worked just fine) and there was one save file named simply “BEN”. “Goodbye Ben”, he was saying “Goodbye Ben”. I felt bad for the man, obviously a grandparent and obviously going senile, and I – for some reason or another – reminded him of his grandson “Ben”.
Out of curiosity I looked at the save file. Eyeballing it, I could tell that he was pretty far in the game – he had almost all of the masks and 3/4 remains of the bosses. I noticed that he had used an owl statue to save his game, he was on Day 3 and by the Stone Tower Temple with hardly an hour left before the moon would crash. I remember thinking that it was a shame that he had come so close to beating the game but he never finished it. I made a new file named “Link” out of tradition and started the game, ready to relive my childhood.  For such a shady looking game cartridge, I was impressed at how smoothly it ran – literally just like a retail copy of the game save for a few minor hiccups here and there (like textures being where they shouldn’t be, random flashes of cutscenes at odd intervals, but nothing too bad). However the only thing that was a little unnerving was that at times the NPCs would call me “Link” and at other times they would call me “BEN”. I figured it was just a bug – a fluke in the programming causing our files to get mixed up or something. It did kind of creep me out though after a while, and it was around after I had beaten the Woodfall Temple that I regrettably went into the save files and deleted “BEN” (I had intended to preserve the file just out of respect of the game’s original owner, it’s not like I needed two files anyway), hoping that that would solve the problem. It did and it didn’t, now NPCs wouldn’t call me anything, where my name should be in the dialogue there was just a blank space (my save file name was still called “Link”, though). Frustrated, and with homework to do, I put the game down for a day.
I started playing the game again last night, getting the Lens of Truth and working my way towards completing the Snowhead Temple. Now, some of you more hardcore Majora’s Mask players know about the “4th Day” glitch – for those who don’t you can google it but the jist of it is that right as the clock is about to hit 00:00:00 on the final day, you talk to the astronomer and look through the telescope. If you time it right the countdown disappears and you essentially have another day to finish whatever you were doing. Deciding to do the glitch to try and finish the Snowhead Temple, I happened to get it right on the first try and the time counter at the bottom disappeared. However, when I pressed B to exit the telescope, instead of being greeted by the astronomer I found myself in the Majora boss fight room at the end of the game (the trippy boxed in arena) staring at Skull Kid hovering above me. There was no sound, just him floating in the air above me, and the background music which was regular for the area (but still creepy). Immediately my palms began to sweat – this was definately not normal. Skull Kid NEVER appeared here. I tried moving around the area, and no matter where I went, Skull Kid would always be facing me, looking at me, not saying anything. Nothing would happen though, and this kept up for around sixty seconds. I thought the game had bugged or something – but I was beginning to doubt that very much.
I was about to reach for the reset button when text appeared on my screen:  “You’re not sure why, but you apparently had a reservation…”  I instantly recognized that text – you get that message when you get the Room Key from Anju at the Stock Pot Inn, but why was it playing here? I refused to entertain the notion that it was almost as if the game was trying to communicate with me. I started navigate the room again, testing to see if that was some sort of trigger that enabled me to interact with something here, then I realized how stupid I was – to even think that someone could reprogram the game like this was absurd. Sure enough, fifteen seconds later another message appeared on the screen, and again like the first one it was already a pre-exisiting phrase “Go to the lair of the temple’s boss? Yes/No”. I paused for a second, contemplating what I should press and how the game would react, when I realized that I couldn’t select no. Taking a deep breath, I pressed Yes and the screen faded to white, with the words “Dawn of a New Day” with the subtext “||||||||” beneath it. Where I was ported to filled me with the most intense sense of dread and impending fear I had ever experienced, the only way I can describe the way I felt here is having this feeling of inexplicable depression on a profound scale. I am normally not a depressed person, but the way I felt here was a feeling that I didn’t even knew existed – it was such a twisted, powerful presence that seemed to wash over me.

I appeared in some kind of weird twilight-zone verison of Clock Town. I walked out of the Clock Tower (as you normally do when you start from Day 1) only to find that all of the inhabitants were gone. Usually with the 4th Day glitch you can still find the guards and the dog that runs around outside the tower – this time they were all gone. What replaced them was the ominous feeling that there was something out there, in the same area as me and that it was watching me. I had four hearts to my name and the Hero’s Bow, but at this point I wasn’t even considered for my avatar, I felt that I personally was in some kind of danger. Perhaps the most chilling thing was the music – it was the Song of Healing, ripped straight from the game itself, but played in reverse. The music would get louder, building up so as if you should expect something to pop out at you, but nothing ever did, and the constant loop began to wear on my mental state. Every now and then I would hear the faint laugh of the Happy Mask Salesman in the background, just quiet enough so that I wasn’t sure if I just hearing things but just loud enough to keep me determined to find him. I looked in all four zones of Clock Town, only to find nothing…. No one. Textures were missing, West Clock Town had me walking on air, the entire area felt… broken. Hopelessly broken. As the reverse Song of Healing repeated for what must have been the 50th time, I just remember standing in the middle of South Clock Town realizing that I had never felt so alone in a videogame before.
As I walked through the ghost town, I don’t know whether it was the combination of the out of place textures and the atmosphere and the haunting melody of the once peaceful and soothing song being butchered and distorted, but I was literally on the verge of tears and I had no idea why. I hardly ever cry, and that’s not just some macho guy front I’m putting on, but something had gripped me here and this powerful sense of depression that was both foriegn and crippling took hold of me through a TV screen and I didn’t know how to cope with it.
I tried leaving Clock Town, but every time I attempted to zone out, the screen would fade to black and I would just zone in to another part of Clock Town.  I tried playing my Ocarina, I wanted to escape, and I did NOT want to be here, but every time I played the Song of Time or Song of Soaring it would only say “Your notes echo far, but nothing happens”.  By this point, it was obvious the game didn’t want me to leave, but I had no idea why it was keeping me here.  I didn’t want to go inside the buildings, I felt that I would be too vulnerable there to whatever I was terrified of. I don’t know why, but I came up with the idea that maybe if I drowned myself at the Laundry Pool (I had the Goron Mask, and if I lost enough hearts by falling in water I’d die) I could spawn somewhere else and leave this place. As I zoned in and ran towards the pool, that’s when it happened. Link grabbed his head, and the screen flashed for a brief moment of the Happy Mask Salesman smiling at me – not Link – me with Skull Kid’s scream playing in the background and when the screen returned I was staring at the Link Statue from playing the song Elegy of Emptiness. I let out an audible yelp as the thing just stared back at me with that haunting facial expression. I turned around and ran out of the Laundry Pool and back into South Clock Town, and to my horror the fucking statue followed me in the only way I can compare this is like the Weeping Angels from Doctor Who. Every so often, at random intervals, the animation would play of the statue appearing behind me like I was summoning it with my Ocarina. It was like the thing was chasing me, or – I don’t even want to fucking say it – haunting me.
By this point, I was on the verge of hysterics, but not even once did the thought of turning off the console occur to me, I don’t know why, I was so wrapped up in it – the terror felt all so real. I tried to shake the statue, but it would literally appear right behind me every single time. Link started to begin to make weird animations I had never even seen him do before, he would flail his arms around or spasm randomly and the screen would cut to the Happy Mask Salesman smiling again for a brief moment before I was face to face with that fucking statue again. I ended up running into the Swordmasters Dojo and ran to the back, I don’t know why, but in my panic I just wanted some kind of assurance that I’m not alone here. To my dismay I found no one, but as I turned to leave the statue cornered me in the cubby in the back. I tried attacking the statue with my sword but to no avail. Confused, and backed into a corner, I just stared at the statue waiting for it to kill me. Suddenly, the screen flashed again to the Happy Mask Salesman and Link turned to face my screen, standing upright mirroring the statue, looking at me along with his copy. Literally staring at me. Whatever was left of the 4th wall was completely shattered while I ran out of the dojo terrified. Suddenly the game warped me to an underground tunnel and the reverse Song of Healing queued up again as I was given a brief moment of rest before the statue started appearing behind me again… this time aggressively – I could only take a few steps before it would summon behind me again. I hurrily made my way out of the tunnel and appeared in Southern Clock Town. As I ran aimlessly – in a sheer panic – suddenly a redead screamed and the screen faded to black as “Dawn of a New Day” and “|||||||||” appeared again.

The screen faded in and I was standing ontop of Clock Tower with Skull Kid hovering over me again, silent. I looked up and the moon was back, looming just meters above my head, but the Skull Kid just stared at me hauntingly with that fucking mask. A new song was playing – the Stone Tower Temple theme played in reverse. In some sort of desperate attempt, I equipped my bow and fired off a shot at the Skull Kid – and it actually hit him and he played an animation of him reeling back. I fired again and on the third arrow, a text box appeared saying “That won’t do you any good. Hee, hee.” and I was picked up off the ground, levitated upwards on my back, and then Link screamed as he burst into flames, instantly killing him. I jumped when this happened – I had never seen this move used by ANYONE in the game and Skull Kid himself didn’t HAVE any moves. As the death screen played, my lifeless body still burning, the Skull Kid laughed and the screen faded to black, only to have me reappear in the same place. I decided to charge him, but the same thing happened, Link’s body was lifted off the ground by some unknown force and he immediately burst into flames again killing him. This time during the death screen the faint sounds of the reverse Song of Healing could be heard.

On my third (and final try), I noticed that there was no music playing this time, that all there was was eere silence. I remembered that in the original encounter with the Skull Kid you were supposed to use the Ocarina to either travel back in time or summon the giants. I attempted to play the Song of Time but before I could hit the last note Links body once again horrifically exploded into flames and he died. As the death screen neared its end, it began to chug, as if the cartridge was trying to process a lot of something…. when the screen came to, it was the same scene as the first three times, except this time Link was lying on the ground dead in a position I had never seen in the game before, his head tilted towards the camera, with the Skull Kid floating above him. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t press any buttons, all I could do is just stare at Link’s dead body. After around thirty seconds of this, the game simply fades out with the message “You’ve met with a terrible fate, haven’t you?” before kicking you out to the title screen.
Upon getting back to the title screen and starting again, I noticed my save file was no longer there. Instead of “Link”, it was replaced with “YOUR TURN”. “YOUR TURN” had 3 hearts, 0 masks, and no items. I selected “YOUR TURN” and immediately when I did I was returned to the Clock Tower Rooftop scene of my Link dead and the Skull Kid hovering over, with the Skull Kid’s laughing looping again and again. I quickly hit the reset button and when the game booted up again there was one more save file added, below “YOUR TURN”, entitled “BEN”. “BEN”‘s save file is right back where it was before I deleted it, at the Stone Tower Temple with the moon almost crashing. I turned the game off at that point, I’m not supersticious but this is WAY too fucked up even for me. I haven’t played it at all today, hell, I didn’t even get any sleep last night, I kept hearing the reverse Song of Healing music in my head and just remembering the sense of dread I felt exploring Clock Town. I drove back to the old man’s house today to ask him some questions with a buddy of mine (no way I was going there alone), only to find that there’s a For Sale sign in the front yard and when I rang the door no one was home.

So now I’m back here writing down the rest of my thoughts and recording what happened, sorry if some of this has grammatical errors and whatnot, I’m running on no sleep here. I’m terrified of this game, even moreso now that I relived it a second time writing this all down, but I feel like there’s still more to it than meets the eye, and that there’s something calling to me to investigate this further. I think “BEN” is something in this equation, but I don’t know what, and if I could get ahold of the old man then I would be able to find some answers. I need another day or so to recooperate before tackling this game again, its already taken a toll on my sanity I feel like, but next time I do this I’m going to be recording my footage all the way through. The idea to record only came to me towards the end, so you see the last few minutes of what I saw (including Skull Kid and the Elegy statue), but it’s on youtube. I’ll update you guys tomorrow when I play again.”

As the weeks went on the story progressed (I’m not going to copy the whole thing, this is already long enough, but I’ll link you to the site in my references) and took freightening, haunting turns, the likes have made players terrified of little pieces of dialogue. Lines that were supposed to reassure players like “You’ve met a terrible fate, haven’t you?” and just a simple song played backwards now have made people fearful of the game itself. I’ll leave you with the Judasable videos that he made to go with the story. I’ve tried here to define a creepy, yet masterfully created game and Judasable has has taken that and elevated it to the extreme, they’re fantastic pieces of work and a perfect conclusion to this tale.

“Exactly 108 minutes later, a new video was uploaded to Jadusable’s Youtube account, simply entitled “free.wmv”. Jadusable changed his Youtube profile picture and added the quote, “Now I am everywhere” to his profile. Viewers were made to draw their own conclusions as to what this video signified.”


The Legend Of Zelda: Majora’s Mask (2000), dir. Eiji Anouma, Nintendo
TV Tropes – Majora’s Mask (funnily enough, this page contains a link to the 2nd edition of this post, when a friend of mine copy and pasted it on a Zelda forum)


32 responses to “Majora’s Mask is darker than you think…

  1. Chair 30/07/2009 at 22:19

    hi, this made for a fascinating read…you made some very good points, especially where you said you cant actually make everyone happy in MM- well done. =]

  2. Joke Ronoch 08/10/2009 at 03:04

    This was an incredible read.

    …I can’t get over the fact that no matter how you played the game, you could never stop every tragedy.

  3. Graara 20/10/2009 at 02:05

    exellent reveiw and i agree completely when you say ”You’re warped into the moon, but inside, it’s a giant, blissful field with kids playing tag wearing the masks of creatures you’ve killed. It’s creepy, but it’s just impossible to guess why.”
    sometimes the suttle things are the worst

  4. Graara 20/10/2009 at 02:06

    I may write on on another creepy game

  5. GregW17 21/11/2009 at 10:09

    Let’s not forget… In the original (I think Nintendo censored this later on though) Majora’s Mask spews blood when you defeat the first form. A lot of blood. More than Ganondorf did in both forms combined. Later on it was changed to being flame.

    Children as soldiers… Oh god, don’t tell me that’s where Bungie got the idea of the UNSC kidnapping children to use for the Spartan program…

    All in all, I’m never going to look at this game the same again. It’s still a good game, but I’d never thought of it that way.

  6. Anonymous 05/12/2009 at 00:54

    Great Article. Tragedy is one of the prime focuses of metaphysics. I’m surprised it is so prominent in a Zelda game.

  7. John Lucas 29/12/2009 at 17:39

    Oh, you forgot about Tingle.

    John Lucas

  8. Kiryadin 20/01/2010 at 12:40

    Incredible how much dark elements there are in this game. There seem to be even more (i am busy reading an article on a forum mainly about Ikana and the stone tower). I too will never look at the same game again.

    I wonder if Odolwa (with the tribal dancing and chanting) has something to do with the “vanished ancient tribe” of which the happy mask salesman speaks…

  9. John 01/02/2010 at 03:36

    Actually, Odolwa does not speak in a “bizarre language” To me, it sounds liek he is saying “We gotta work! We gotta work!” then when he does the dance and usmmons the bugs “Work, I got it. Work, I got it.” which means he coulda been a slave master lo.

  10. John 01/02/2010 at 03:38

    oh and also something like “work on up” or something

  11. Totz the Plaid 22/02/2010 at 06:12

    Sorry, but you CAN save everyone! I’ve done it. NintendoCapriSun also does most of it in his run (Anju/Kafei, both Ranch quests, and beating all four bosses [including saving the monkey]), add in saving Pamela, saving Lulu’s eggs, and saving the witch in the forest (which IS all doable in one cycle of days with practice! It took me 12 tries, but I ultimately succeeded) and everyone you can properly save is saved. Takes a lot of careful timing and warping, but it’s not impossible!

    • Lady Alzers 24/03/2011 at 23:52

      Actually, man, it is. And I have no idea what you’re talking about when you say NCS saved everybody…. He didn’t. That was editing, friend.

  12. Lucas D. 08/03/2010 at 08:58

    If you get all the masks, the ending shows that most stuff works out just fine without your direct interference (Kafei and Anju’s relationship does, for sure), since most of it was caused in the first place by Skull Kid acting like a total knob, and the rest was from Majora BEING a total knob. Too bad about the monkey, though.

  13. Norvolo 10/03/2010 at 02:04

    I think y’all are forgetting the numerous scenes playing durring the end credits in which we get to see everything turn out happy – IF you as a player actually helped said people. My first time through I beat the game without helping everyone, and whoever you pass by gets reflected in the credits. For example, I first beat the game without helping Kafei and Anju, so instead of seeing their loverly wedding scene, all I got to watch was the Couple’s Mask spinning around in a black void – it was really boring. Personally I think it’s brilliant the way they pulled that off, it made it doubley rewarding to complete everyone’s side quests because you got in-game rewards AND a montage of denouements! So, yeah, in some weird way, timestream-warping way, I guess you CAN help everyone. By MAGIC~

  14. Dutch07 14/12/2010 at 00:25

    Very good… It made me think much differently about the game. Don’t forget the Link Elegy statue… It always makes me think of the haunted Majora’s Mask story…

  15. Dutch07 08/01/2011 at 00:40

    I’d also like to point out that Majora’s Mask is shaped like a heart… With spikes coming out of it.

  16. Alexa Gonzalez 22/09/2011 at 22:25

    You have forever changed my view of Majora’s Mask. Never before had I thought of it this way. You made very good points, and brought things up I never realized.
    Thank you for the very well written article!

  17. N 14/04/2012 at 22:49

    “… so effectively, the Happy Mask Salesman has killed Mario.” D:

  18. Tony Star Toxic 17/06/2012 at 08:29

    Not to say anything bad I mean it had good points and everything only thing is that “Haunted Majora’s Mask cartridge” with “BEN” in it was a fake let’s not forget, other than that pretty good explaination as to why the game is creepy and I agree and, if you weren’t too young, you could probably pick up on it’s creepiness cause honestly I never really played it much til I got a bit older

  19. Austin 14/07/2012 at 23:03

    And don’t forget the part of the game where you see the Skull Kid over the Clock Tower through the telescope (where you get the moon’s tear). If you look at him on the first day, he just turns around and starts to act like a kid. When you look at him on the second day, he does the same. But if you look at him on the last day, instead of doing that, he just keeps staring at you with his head twisted to one side, shivering in a creepy way, because Majora’s mask had taken control of his body.

  20. Emmaleee 26/11/2012 at 20:52

    You are a very good writer, for you completely captured my attention from the start. I didn’t skim your article for what I was looking for as I normally would have. I read the entire thing, and was entertained in the process. I love how you tried to find meaning in everything, even if the creators never meant for there to be a meaning. for example the whole Odolwa punishment thing, like I don’t think they initially intended for there to be a story behind it. But it’s great that you are able to speculate, and let your mind wander. You have a seemingly great mind, you are an incredible writer, and I’m grateful of having read your words. Well put about this game being creepy, I completely agree, it’s creepy down to it’s core for it’s based on an alternate universe and it can’t get creepier than that. Also, Odolwa is my favorite. Cheers.

  21. bloodymoon 14/12/2012 at 04:35

    Majora was born at the same time the goddesses Majora was born from it’s own void. Good and bad beings came to Majora trying to clame it’s Magick powers for there own and Majora devoured all that tried until A Oni and the goddesses was born as water,fier and earth that created a devin sacred light the triforce. after causing creation to Hyrule and watching the foolishness of mankind they were unhappy with the humans until one day a child was born and this child is a decadent from the oni kimi who sacrificed his life for Majora majick and blessed him as the hero of time granting him tremendous powers to for Hyrule as the hero of time. powers for there own and Majora devoured all that tied until a Oni Kimi/Demon God play the song of healing sealing him self into Majora risking him his existence forever turning his spirt in to a persona and majora it self. In doing that it made the goddesses powerful enough/able enough to rule in existence with no exceptions

  22. bloodymoon 14/12/2012 at 05:48

    Majora is a best that was born from it’s own void at the same time as the goddesses. Good and bad beings came to Majora trying to clame it’s Magick powers for there own and Majora devoured all that tied. Until a Oni Kimi arrived with a intrument and played the song of healing to Majora for three dsys and on the 3rd day the song was sealing Majora and him self in to a persona transfering the Oni Kimi soul in to Majora and leaving his spirt as a Oni Kimi persona and risking him self his existence making the goddesses the strongest spirits existing. The goddesses was born as water,fire and earth that created Hyrule and a devin sacred light that created the triforce. The goddesses was watching the foolishness of mankind and wasn’t pleased with the humans until a child was born that was decadent from the Oni Kimi yes Link. The goddesses chosen link a child to be clamed as the hero of time granting him tremendous magical powers blessed by them making him the hero of time.

  23. bloodymoon 14/12/2012 at 06:13

    Near the end of THE LEGEND OF ZELDA MAJORA MASK the Happymasksealsman say’s ”it looks like the evil has finally left this mask” because link destroyed the Oni Kimi soul that was cursed in to Majora as a mask. Stating it’s not the mask thats evil it whats controlling the mask the Oni Kimi. When Majora gives you the Oni Kimi mask it say’s ”could this mask be as evil as Majora” The name Oni Kimi speeks for it’s self.Thats why when link play the lullaby the song of healing or the Happymasksealsman there souls dont transfer it’s because they are blessed by the goddesses. The Happymasksealsman say’s something to the skull kid at the end in simpler terms it was come with me and be a reason for the goddesses or stay here and forever be trusted in to this world…. well what ever you choicest it is for a reason hidden for only the goddesses to see and began to walk off and disappear.

  24. Davey 25/02/2013 at 22:57

    The hand-in-toliet comes back in skyward sword, again asking for paper. Also there is a pixle in super paper Mario that ask for paper and is also locked in a toliet. As for oowlda, the idle chants to me sound like “Speak out boy” and “I got it”

  25. Liam McNair 15/04/2013 at 03:02

    Ok first this is truly chilling!
    The hand in the toilet does appear in another Zelda game! It appears in “The Oracle of Ages” again in a shifted world, disorted by a time rupture and again looking for paper.
    I thought about your views on the masks and link. It almost seems like Links ‘soul’ is being ripped oit of his body and being replaced by a new one. He resembles the happy mask salesman when Link returns with no mask. Maybe some evil spirits are at work.
    Link cannot help anyone true. Thats a strong life lesson, you can never help everyone. But the situation with Link and the Gorons, about him appearing as their leader then ‘chrusing their dreams’. Essentially never happens. Each 3-day cycle, is basically a new timeline. So in the end, Link never really helped anyone except himself. (aqquiring the masks)(here i am excluding the fact he stops the moon because the game ends afterwards)

  26. Xavier 27/04/2013 at 22:53

    Does it seem wierd to anyone else that the HMS slightly resembles Shigeru Miyamoto. So Shigeru Miyamoto killed Mario to make room for The Legend of Zelda.
    Just a thought.

  27. loukasyo98 16/06/2013 at 13:47

    Majora’s Mask was the first game i ever played.I was around 7 years old when me and my little sister were playing the game.We played it until the the countdown to the end and then close
    it beacuse we were scared of what will happen.It’s a fact that everyone who have played it as kids and never beat it are in some way huanted by it until they beat it.

  28. Deama Hatahet 21/07/2013 at 18:53

    I didn’t expect to see a post running from 2009 to have recent comments and replies! This makes me happy that people are still discussing MM.

    The writer describes everything ever so perfectly and I felt the exact same way about the game. Playing it as a kid, I missed out a lot of emotions and detail but reading all this again and playing the game not too long ago made me open my eyes again.

    Players find the moon scary, well what if I told you that I used to have nightmares about a moon with a face prior to the game’s existence?

  29. Louis Cunningham 29/07/2013 at 15:47

    I almost never comment, however i did a few searching and wound up
    here Majoras Mask is darker than you think |
    The Zero Hour. And I actually do have some questions for you if you usually do not mind.
    Is it just me or does it give the impression like a few of these comments appear as
    if they are written by brain dead folks? 😛 And, if you are writing at additional social sites, I’d like to keep up with anything fresh you have to post. Would you list of the complete urls of all your shared sites like your linkedin profile, Facebook page or twitter feed?

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