We explore the history and development of one of the strangest entries in the Zelda series to discover how the game became the black sheep of the family.

The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask is one of the few Nintendo games where the consequence of your failure is planetary genocide. Link, searching for his lost friend Na'vi, is robbed and is then forced to stop the moon from plunging into Termina. The happy mask salesman, who looks eerily like series creator Shigeru Miyamoto, tells Link early on that has "met a terrible fate" and that he has to fix this calamity in three days. But don't worry, he knows Link can do it. 

The titular Majora's Mask doesn't play into the game's frightfulness. While Ganondorf may have threatened to  rule Link's home with a tyrant's fist, he does not bring about the end of the world. Then there's the subdued colour palette, the off-kilter music, and a three day cycle that can be punishingly difficult if not carefully managed. Link needs to keep his eye on the clock every day because everyone is busy in on their final days, and may need him at various hours. 

Daniel Rosen argues much of this difference can be attributed to Eiji Aonuma, and his freshman direction on the series, which has left it feeling dissonant from the rest of the franchise. Plus, he's got his hands on the upcoming Majora's Mask 3DS remake, so it's probably a decent time to revisit it.

Daniel will have more about the game when it goes for sale on February 3.


THANKS TO OCREMIX for the following songs: "Dawn of a New Day" by Docjazz4FunkyEntropyTheophany, and XPRTNovice and "Memories of an Ocarina" by Daybreaker.

The header Image is from Vincent Bisshop. His work is pretty incredible. You should buy his art.

WE ALSO USED CLIPS FROM Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask and the Ocarina of Time.

BUILT TO PLAY IS A PRODUCT OF THE SCOPE AT RYERSON RADIO STATION IN THE HEART OF DOWNTOWN TORONTO. IT WAS PRODUCED AND EDITED BY ARMAN AGHBALI AND WRITTEN BY DANIEL ROSEN.

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