I'm Glad I Waited 15 Years To Play Majora's Mask

I'm Glad I Waited Fifteen Years To Play Majora's Mask

I first played The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask in a small, dark hotel room that offered rentals on all of the hottest N64 games, Expansion Pak and all. I don't remember where we were or even how old I was, but I do recall convincing my parents to let us rent Majora's Mask for 24 hours.

This was probably a bad idea. See, I was the type of kid who liked playing games slowly. I grew up with big, sprawling RPGs like Final Fantasy VI and Secret of Mana and Lufia II — games where you didn't really have to rush to save the world. My idea of a good time was walking around a new town and finding all the nooks and crannies, not rushing through quests to save the world as quickly as possible. So between the 24-hour hotel time limit and what I would soon discover was a ticking in-game clock that never stopped, Majora's Mask stressed me the fuck out. I gave up after a few minutes.

Some 15 years later, I'm glad I gave it another shot, and I'm kinda glad I waited. Twenty-seven-year-old Jason appreciates this game far more than 12-year-old Jason would have. Majora's Mask has aged beautifully — although, granted, the 3DS tweaks and overhauls sure help — and over the past few weeks, I've grown to really appreciate why so many people are so quick to lavish it with praise, to the point where some say it's even better than that most sacred of sacred cows, Ocarina of Time.

In fact, I think I agree. Ocarina of Time might be the perfect hero's journey, but Majora's Mask is just so unsettling and melancholy and stressful and different. It's unlike any other Zelda game — really, it's unlike any other game in how it purports to have a time limit but instead uses time as a dimension for you to explore. When you play Majora's Mask, you don't just have to think about where or how far you're going, you have to think about when you'll be there and how long it will take. Forget 3D — they should have called it Majora's Mask 4D.

But I'm sure you've already read plenty about why this game is so good. What I'm here to tell you is that if, like me, you skipped Majora's Mask because the timer freaked you out, you should know that it is not an impediment and in fact it's the very reason this game is so stellar. I wish other Zelda games would play with time in this way, weaving sidequests and character arcs through one large temporal yarn. The constant presence of a ticking clock turned me off as a kid, but as an adult with way more experience and way better taste, I'm really glad it's there. It's still stressful, but in a good way.

Consider this: I, a huge Zelda fan, have finished every game in the series (with the exception of the first two on NES, which I've played extensively but not beaten, and of course the CD-I games because who counts those?) except for Majora's Mask, which I started for the first time in mid-January. Now, inexplicably, it's become one of my favourite Zeldas. Who would have thought?


Comments

    I actually started playing MM again for the first time in about the same time (15 years) after a similar, brief experience. I remember being completely overwhelmed at the fact that I didn't know how to reliably save and simply gave up at the start due to the nagging thought of losing time at some point in the future. It really affected my mental state whilst playing the game and I always felt more anxious than engrossed.

      this is exactly my first experience as well. EXACT! i only gave it an hour or 2 back then but gee im happy to be playing it again now. Its like a brand new zelda game but it was made in one of my favorite eras of video games

      Sorry to hear man, I hope that one day that anxiety turns into something positive that lets you enjoy a really good video game. I bought it last week and still haven't got to play it yet :(

    I played MM, and enjoyed it thoroughly, when it was released on the N64. I was 14 at the time and having just experienced OoT I think I found it too different so I did not completely appreciate its magnificence. As time passed, however, I came to understand it more and more. I still believe OoT is a superior game overall but MM is the epitome of video games as art, in my opinion.

    Last edited 19/02/15 2:09 pm

    I'm new to Nintendo. The 3DS was my first Nintendo console, followed by a WiiU. So I'm SUPER glad Nintendo remastered OoT, MM and Windwaker. They are good enough, influential enough and old enough to be considered classics.

    Last edited 19/02/15 2:16 pm

    I've played a few 2D Zeldas (some to completion), but never a 3D one. With everyone talking so much about MM at the moment I'm wondering: do I have to play OoT before MM? I'm aware I'll get "You should definitely play OoT! It's so good! How have you not played it yet?" but aside from all that, can I play MM first and not get horribly confused?

      They are completely self contained stories. You will probably have an easier time if you played OoT first because you will probably have a little easier time on some of the puzzles being in a 'Zelda mindset' but it probably works the other way too. Play them both if you can!

      It's a direct sequel, and the change in tone feeds in perfectly, but you won't miss anything critical to the story.

      In OoT, link becomes a hero as a child, faces terrible things, then is rewarded by everything going back to normal. No recognition, robbed of his childhood, probably left with ptsd.

      Then mm kicks off by piling on the losses. It's just amazingly grim.

      There, you're caught up! Dig in!

      Last edited 19/02/15 3:56 pm

      what Darren said... but if you do care Oot is chronologically before MM. MM is supposed to be after link has already saved the world in Oot. In MM they say things like, "have you done this before?" etc. Once again, it doesn't really effect the story

      OoT kind of works as a jumping off point for MM. It's by no means necessary, but a lot of the weird stuff in MM makes more sense if you've played OoT.

      MM is a direct sequel as said above. It's not essential but I would STRONGLY recommend playing OoT first. MM was made for those that finished OoT and wanted more. There is barely any introduction to the controls or anything in MM - in fact in the first few minutes a sign tells you how to jump by saying "If you don't know already..." or similar. Play OoT first or MM will feel very overwhelming IMO.

    I find it weird when people haven't play 'the original'.

    How can you own a N64 and not have owned Majora's Mask?

    That's like saying, I had a Gameboy Advance, but never own the original Pokemon Ruby and Saphire. I instead played the 3DS remake.

    Or, I had a Playstation, but never owned Resident Evil. I instead played the Gamecube remake.

    Or, I had a SNES, never owned Lufia 2, but played that shitty DS remake.

    Or, I had a NES, but I didn't own the original Mario Bros, I instead played it on Wii's virtual console.

    When it came to consoles, there were MUST HAVES.

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