Game Theory: Is Link Dead in Majora’s Mask?

Game Theory: Is Link Dead in Majora’s Mask?


Wheel of gaming Turn, Turn, Turn Tell me the fan base I should burn Oh, jeez. ♪ [Intro theme song] ♪ Hello Internet! Welcome to Game Theory. The show that unwittingly manages to offend a new subset of die-hard video game fans on a regular basis. [I believe that] Speaking of which, that’s why today we’re talking about the absolutely absurd physics of Zelda’s hook {Adobe Flash’s normal everyday crashing} That’s Majora’s mask. Definitely the darkest Zelda game out there. and I love it. Any way I’m PeanutButterGamer and I’ll see you guys next time. Ahem, uh excuse me Mister Buttergamer You, uh, you appear to be on the wrong channel. Huh… How’d that happen? YouTube glitch. Oh, YouTube glitch While we’re on the subject can we talk about how videos don’t reach subscribers Or comments requiring Google+ [Sigh] So uh.. Since you’re here you mentioned Majora’s Mask? Uh yeah I just finished it again, it’s definitely one of my favorite Zelda games It’s so dark and creepy it’s so dark and creepy So dark and creepy Right! Like who would think that Nintendo would actually release a game about Link dying? Wait, say that again Well it’s just a theory Oh… A game theo– Woah, slow down there peanut butter jelly time let’s not jump the gun here Have you heard about the Majora’s Mask Grief Theory? (thinking…….) Well, it sounds kind of familar, but why don’t you go ahead and fill me in just in case Well, basically there are 5 major realms in the game, right? Yeah, there’s Clock Town, Woodfall, Snowhead, Ikana Valley, and Great Bay. Not in that order. So each area– [Grunting] Wait, hold on, let me get this out of the way here… [Grunts] Give us some room to breath, as I was saying each area in the game features some aspect of loss, right? But the way the Game’s NPCs handle these losses differ from one location to the next. In fact… How the character’s handle their personal losses And the order in which you confront them Perfectly match up with what’s known as, the “Kübler-Ross Model of Grief” Which basically says that when someone is confronted with death They go through 5 very distinct emotional phases: Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. “DABDA” for short. {DAB} Link’s adventure starts in Clock Town, Where all the people are in denial. Notice how even though there’s a moon that’s going to crash into the world, killing everyone in 3 days, no one seem’s to care? In fact they’re planning a carnival Take a quick peek into the mayor’s offices and you see Muto the carpenter calling anyone who is scared a coward Saying that the falling moon is just a groundless theory A game the– Nope nope still not yet. Appreciate the enthusiasm though Ahh… but still no…still…still not yet Oh, and there’s the sword master, who even says he’s gonna slice the moon into pieces. Not the most effective strategy. A perfect example of denial, or stage one, of the Kübler-Ross model. Then there’s the Deku Palace in Woodfall Here, the princess has gone missing and HOW does the Deku King respond? Obviously by raging against a monkey! Man, monkey abuse just seems to be a thing around here lately… Anyway, he jumps to the conclusion that this monkey is the culprit and must die as a punishment. The thing is, the monkey’s innocent The Deku King is just angry Lashing out at anything and anyone because he doesn’t know what else to do And thus we see the second stage of grief manifested U MAD BRO? -cringe- Yes. Yes, he is. Yes. Yes he is. Stage three, I got this Snowhead features the Gorons, a tribe who just lost their leader, Darmani. When you meet his ghost, he begs Link to use his magic to bring him back to life He’s bargaining Darmani is actively trying to make a deal to prolong his life just a little longer thinking that Link can provide some backdoor solution to the inevitability of his death. And when those bargains fail, you get depressed, stage four This is when a person realizes that there’s no escape, and that there’s nothing that they can do. So they instead retreat inward, disconnecting from the world And it’s at the Great Bay that Link meets Lulu, a Zora who’s lost her eggs She’s a mother who’s lost her children and to cope, she just stands there, staring out into the distance, silent. And finally Link makes his way to Ikana Valley. A valley filled with death, sure, but also a place of acceptance. First you have Sharp, one of two composer brothers who you help come to terms with his mistreatment of his sibling. But also more symbolically, you have the Stone Tower Temple Which has you climbing upwards towards the heavens and obtaining enlightenment, here illustrated by the item of the dungeon being the Light Arrows. Link has journeyed through the Valley of Death, passed through the other four stages and here, he ascends into acceptance. There’s even the Garo Master, a creature described as emptiness cloaked in darkness. If this game is all about overcoming grief, fighting this guy is a pretty literal interpretation. He even commits suicide once you defeat him; An enemy who refuses to accept death on anyone’s terms, but his own. And when you really stop to think about the whole repeating 3 days gameplay mechanic, that in essence is how grief can feel. Like you’re trapped in time and can’t move forward. It paralyzes you from moving on with your life This grief theory does make a lot of sense but WHAT is Link grieving? I don’t see why you’d say he’s dead. The game starts off with him roaming the lost woods in search of Navi, who flew away at the end of Ocarina of Time. Why anyone would bother searching for her is beyond me, But Link is a weird kid, so whatever. Wouldn’t it make more sense for him to be grieving over her loss? Maybe she died? Or maybe he’s just sad about losing her? Yeah, maybe. But in my mind there’s more evidence to suggest something even darker. I propose to you that throughout Majora’s mask, Link is actually in purgatory, the waiting room of the afterlife, and that the game represents his journey to accept his death and move on. First look at the name of the place, Termina. That’s not even subtle, Nintendo. Termina? Like TerminaL, THE END? It’s a pretty big red flag. Then look at how Link finds this place. Isn’t it a bit strange that Link is falling down through a tree trunk into what equates to practically a whole new country? With its own astronomically-themed nightmare fuel that apparently no one in Hyrule knows about? I mean, planet Earth is a really big place, significantly bigger than Hyrule, but whether you’re Spokane or Djibouti, you know how many moons we have. Really, I ask the question, where is this place supposed to be located? Underground? Then how is there a sky? And remember, Link supposedly fell a REALLY long way to end up here. If that’s the case, though, he would have died. Granted, there’s a lot of creative license in these games, don’t get me wrong, but Nintendo has always taken falling very seriously in 3D Zeldas. Even the animation that happens while you fall feels a bit surreal, like a bad LSD trip ripped straight out of Alice in Wonderland, which, SPOILER ALERT, ends up being all a bad dream. And now that you mention it, where did Epona go? You see them run into this tree, and I guess they could just jump from one stump to the next, but does Epona also live through that huge fall? Even if she does, Skull Kid would have to transport her over this water, through this cave door, and over these deadly platforms, all for her to end up at Romani Ranch later in the game. And he’d have to do that all before Link arrives so that he’d be ready to hover there all cool and Magneto-like. It does seem pretty suspicious, [Both in unison]: Like he can’t be real! Exactly! And that’s also why most of the people you see throughout Termina are identical copies of the ones you met during your Ocarina of Time journey. Link’s personal purgatory, his journey to accept his death, is populated with people he’s encountered before. He’s like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, “And you were there, and you were there, and you were there!” And consider the masks. The transformation masks all represent characters who have died. There’s Darmani the Goron, who’s ghost appears to you; Mikau, the Zora guitarist, who actually dies in front of you; And although its never actually said, the Deku Mask is most likely this little sprout, The deceased child of the Deku Butler. Knowing that these different transformations are Link assuming the forms of deceased characters, turn your attention to this, The Elegy of Emptiness. It’s a song you get late in the game that allows you to create statue clones of your current form. In a lot of ways they’re like funeral effigies standing there as a memorial to the dead. Now, if the only masks that allow you create a clone using the song are the ones that are related to dead people, and Link is somehow able to create a clone of himself, that would seem to mean… That would meeeeean… (thinking…….) What would that mean? Waiting on you… AND THAT ACTUALLY MAKES SENSE IN THE TIMELINE TOO! (Awkward Silence) Okay, we’ll keep moving on then. Well, Majora’s Mask comes before Twilight Princess according to the official Zelda timeline, right? And in Twilight Princess theres the hero Shade, a Stalfos looking creature who has officially been confirmed in Hyrule Historia as the spirit of the Hero of Time, AKA Link in Majora’s Mask. And, just in case you doubt they’re one in the same, he’s left-handed like Link, and most of the songs he uses come from Ocarina and Majora. Anyway, Zelda lore states that those who become lost in the woods are fated to become a Stalfos. “Although I accepted life as the hero, I could not convey the lessons of that life to those who came after. At last, I have eased my regrets.” So, the Hero of Time is somehow prevented from teaching others his ways. And that begs the question, why? Why would this hero, who has conquered both evil and time, have such profound regrets? Could it be that he died prematurely? Could it be that he died in the Lost Woods, becoming a Stalfos? COULD. IT. BE?! Probably. It’s also worth pointing out that the Hero Shade’s saying, “Believe in your strength” directly mirrors what the Happy Mask Salesman says to Link throughout Majora’s Mask: “Believe in your strengths.” And speaking of the Happy Mask Salesman, he provides what I think is the strongest proof of this theory. Do you happen to remember the first line he says to you in the game? “You’ve met with a terrible fate, haven’t you?” When he says this to you at the beginning of the game, you assume he means Link being turned into a Deku Scrub, right? That’s just what happened, but that line actually repeats again later in the game. Every time you let the moon crash towards Earth, the animation shows the moon destroying Clocktown, Link getting consumed by fire, then you hear the Happy Mask Salesman’s laugh, and see this line. The terrible fate isn’t being turned into a scrub, it’s Link dying. Why else would Nintendo choose to repeat that particular line, at that particular instant? Yeah, I… I got nothing. So him riding off into the fog at the end is Link accepting his fate and moving on? That’s definitely one way to interpret it. Ultimately, though, dead or not, the reason this game is so incredible is that it’s bigger than itself. It’s symbolic of much larger and mature topics allowing for any number of interpretations, really. It’s deeper, more somber, and incredibly more artistic than other entries in the series. More like other games just in general. Definitely. And in a lot of ways, the gamer sees what the gamer most wants to see in this sort of game. Have you suffered a loss as a child? You’ll respond to those moments in the game. Are you afraid of losing your friends and being betrayed? Then Skull Kid’s story will probably speak to you. And that’s what happens when you try to interpret a work of art. what you’re left with is, at best… JUST A THEORY A GA- [Unintelligible, overlapping talking] Ok good A GAME THEORY! And hey! We’re through here, but before you go, subscribe if you haven’t for weekly theorist videos, and then click on your favorite mask to enjoy some more PBGB (PeanutButterGamer) time over on his Zelda month. Anything you’d like to close us out with, Mister Peanut? These are my closing remarks: [Clears throat] Zelda… is cool. Truer words were never spoke. Thanks for watching! ♪ [Outro theme song] ♪

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