Hello and welcome once again to me, Eric John E writing about my experiences while playing video games because you some how find that more interesting than playing them for yourself. As always we’ll be talking about playing within the confines of trying really hard not to kill people, and never choosing to do so, as part of my weird New Year’s resolution.
Today we will NOT be talking about playing Majora’s Mask. That will be Part 2. Part 1 will instead be about everything I experience around the game before playing it (at the time I am writing this I have not started playing yet.)
For a while now I’ve been interested in playing this game as part of this project for several reason. I have barely ever played an Zelda games so this would really be a new experience for me. I had always been aware of the fandom around the franchise, so had always wanted to try some of it for myself. Lastly, there’s supposedly a Zelda Netflix show coming, and I can’t stand watching things without knowing the the original source material (except Game of Thrones).
But I was hesitant too. While this is a Nintendo game, it is also a hacky and slashy game, which don’t work well with my resolution. I didn’t want to start the game and only progress a small portion before having to stop before the game required me to kill some one.
Then I re-watched a video about the fan theory in which Link is dead through the majority of the story. Now I’m not gonna say I believe it entirely, but I found it interesting. And if you’re one of the three people that reads this regularly, you will know that undead character are ok to kill in my book. That being said I didn’t want to just accept this theory as a cheat out of playing the game with my resolution.
So I sought out the help of my friend, former class mate, and Zelda expert Brenna. So I asked Brenna what she thought of the theory. First instinct was essentially that she liked it, but there were holes and I didn’t disagree. So we talked through some of the aspects that worked and didn’t. For the following three days we each kept stumbling upon different evidence or counter evidence and then talk through that for a time.
I realized quickly that these conversations in of themselves were worth writing about for this project and buying the game. I don’t think I’ve ever before had so closely examined the symbolic importance of aspects of a game. The continuos debates over current franchise lore vs the original developers intentions emulated larger philosophical and theological conversations I’ve been privy to. It genuinely felt like I was trying to talk through finding the true meaning within a Bible parable.
That being said, a decision or an answer didn’t come out of it. There was evidence I thought had weight, and counter evidence that I thought could be ignored, but I thought the answer was still open. I’ll go over the evidence that I’ve essentially accepted and thrown away now:
(I also recommend looking up one of the several videos that explains this theory before continuing, as I can’t myself without butchering so much of the lore that people will be offended.)
1. Anything in Hyrule Hystoria can be tossed. It came out eleven years later than the actual game, after influential figure of the franchise had long since left.
2. Link would not be killed from that fall since he landed on the weird plant.
3. The place is called Termina. This is an english word, that technically means “end” but would clearly conjure imagery of death to an english speaking audience. Some one had to choose this specific word, so there must have been a reason for it.
4. Skull kid’s name is skull kid. ‘Nuff said.
5. Supposedly there originally was meant to be a Link mask, that would be worn by skull kid. All of the main masks up until now had been based off of character that had been dead.
6. The “You’ve suffered a terrible fate” line.
7. Eiji Aonuma, the game’s producer said he like the theory that the game was all a dream.
8. The stages of grief thing.
9. Skull kid is reunited with the giants in the end. What’s the point of having the stages of grief thing if the character most easily identifiable as grieving just gets what he wanted anyways.
10. Link’s story ends exactly where it started. In a game that is already about looping through the same event multiple times. Definitely symbolic of something…
11. Twilight princess! The next 3d features a brand new link who even get’s trained by a ghost of the old link. Why not make old Link old instead of dead. I’d think fan’s would have liked that better.
12. The game’s opening describes the legend of a boy, not a man. To me this implied that to the rest of the world Link’s story ended a game earlier, when he went into the woods, and was never seen or heard from again.
I think that’s everything.
So there’s a lot there. But nothing really definitive. So I decided to do the same thing I would with any other massive, symbolic, religious tome with hundreds of zealot like followers. Read it myself…. I mean play it myself.
So Part 2 will be that. What happened when I played the game? Did I kill someone while truly believing that they weren’t real, all Inception style. Or did I put the game down when finally asked to slay a man in cold blood. Or best case scenario, do I complete the game without shedding any blood through my meta gaming magic? Find out in Part 2…. which will not be the next post!
I bought Majora’s Mask to play on the train to San Francisco, where I will be attending GDC, the Game Developer’s Conference. So through out the week I will be posting stories from the trip. Some might be recounts and reactions to the lectures I’m looking forward to attending, and some might be about the industry parties in an attempt to write some game culture gonzo journalism. Point is it’ll be fun to write and hopefully to read.
Before I sign off I just want to thank Brenna again for all her help with this, it made for the start of a really interesting game play experience.
Till next time….
-Eric John E