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About


Favorite games:
Breath of Fire III
Breath of Fire IV
Chrono Trigger
Chrono Cross
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
Final Fantasy series
Gradius III
The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker
Mega Man series
Mega Man Legends
Mega Man Legends 2
Mega Man X series
No More Heroes
No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle
Paper Mario
Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door
Persona 3
Persona 4
Phantasy Star II
Phantasy Star IV
Pikmin II
Pokemon Gold
R-Type III
Shadow Hearts: Covenant
An assortment of other games I'm forgetting

I'm an aspiring writer, musician, and artist. That doesn't necessarily mean I'm very talented in any of those fields, but that won't stop me from throwing the titles around. I'm presently a high school graduate who has no idea what he wants to do with his life.

Contact me. I'm bored.

AIM: clumsybigfoot
MSN: deadz837@hotmail.com
Gtalk: zachery.norman@gmail.com

(Last Updated Saturday October 2nd, 2010)
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Following (20)  


Hello Destructoid. Do you remember me? It's alright if you don't, it's been nearly a year since my last post, and I haven't been very active in the community. Still, hello all the same. I'm writing this blog as an introduction for all you cool cats I've never met, and a re-introduction to the few of you I did. Here's a small sampling of some of the things I used to write for this fine neck of the e-woods. This is clearly my best work.

Man, I have no idea where to go with this, so here's a blurry picture of me flashing you with my goodies:



I'll give you a moment to take it all in. I know how disturbing it can be to look at me.

Here, have this to wash out the bad juju:



Better now? Good, because I've managed to come up with some filler content to make this post look more legitimate! My username is Krow, as you've probably already noticed. My real name is Zachery Norman, as you may not have noticed. It's blatantly obvious that I love video games. Some of my favorites include the big budget Final Fantasy titles that have been a part of the gaming world for decades, as well as flashy stuff like Bulletstorm and the Metal Gear Solid series. Still, I've found that my gaming tastes have shifted over the course of this current generation of consoles, and that the vast majority of my favorite titles to have come out in the past few years are those that truly stand out as something new and unique. Favorites in this department include games like Spelunky, Minecraft, Splosion Man, Scott Pilgrim vs the World, Noby Noby Boy, Costume Quest, Don't Look Back, Red Faction Guerilla, and Demon's Souls.

I love video games. I love Destructoid. I love you.

Hello again, everyone! Hopefully you'll be seeing my name around here more often.

Do let me know if you'd like to make sex.
Photo Photo







Krow
6:41 AM on 08.01.2010

hey gutys i vehangebety bloged in in a while so i thought i woaudlgh blog now i hope you enjoy my ablgo




im so sosrrhyay










[SPOILER WARNING: If you've yet to play Final Fantasy IX I have to caution you on a couple of spoilers. It's nothing major, but they are mentioned, and one of the key points I make details a spoiler that takes place near the end of the third disc. If you try to keep yourself spoiler free, turn away now. I would strongly encourage you to read the article regardless, as the spoilers aren't heavy and I believe the strength of what I highlight here should be known by all gamers. Happy reading!]

Andrew Kauz wrote an article calling developers to provide more interesting protagonists. It's an article that I agree with wholeheartedly, and while I have nothing to add to his statements directly, reading through it managed to wring something out of me. I've been meaning to write about the love I have for Final Fantasy IX for months now, and since I consider FFIX to be an excellent example of what Kauz is pushing for, I may as well do so now.

When I was seven years old my Mother took me to Target to pick out a video game. My report card had shown that I was doing well in school; my reward was a video game of my choice. I remember seeing Final Fantasy VII hanging there behind the glass, a spiky haired guy with a big sword posing epically, the promise of adventure hidden inside of a little plastic case. Excitedly, I chose it as my prize. It was a turning point for me as a gamer, changing my after school fun into a passionate love of all things digital and interactive.

I didn't discover Final Fantasy IX until years later, and like all Final Fantasy games I discovered as a child, I didn't play through the bulk of it for more years still. It holds the honor of being the first Final Fantasy I ever sat down to play with the intention of completing, as well as the honor of being one of the few games that have managed to impact me in a serious, emotional way. It's close to my heart and it's most definitely my favorite Final Fantasy release to date. My adoration of the game is owed largely in part to the way it chooses to implement its protagonist, as well as the impact this narrative decision had on my experience.



Final Fantasy games are known for their narratives. You generally have on central character that the story revolves around and several "support" characters who exist to further the main character's goals. Oftentimes a number of them aren't very important to the overall narrative, and not much would be affected if you were to pluck them from the plot. Certain games in the series follow this more than others, and a case for the strength of an individual narrative can be made for each game in the series.

When you first begin to play through Final Fantasy IX, you'd be right to assume that Zidane Tribal is at the center of the game's plot. After all, he's the character you control the most throughout the game. It's a rare occurrence that you'll leave him to his own devices; in essence wherever Zidane goes, you go. As time wears on and you delve deeper in the game, you'll notice something. Zidane isn't at the center of the events of the game. In fact, it's reasonable to say that he's just along for the ride, the issues at hand centered on other members of the party. This is the brilliance of Final Fantasy IX.

By putting you in the role of someone who is a support character for most of the game, you're provided an outside view on the events that unfold, and an outside perspective on the rest of the cast. In this way you're able to identify with the anguish of Dagger over her Mother's conquest, empathize with Vivi over the reality of his eventual death, and look on with understanding when Steiner is in turmoil, pondering betraying his oath of fealty for the greater good. It becomes less about what Zidane is doing, and more about the personal struggles of each individual character. You aren't telling Zidane's story, you're experiencing the story of Final Fantasy IX through Zidane's eyes.

I genuinely care about each character as if they were a real people. This is owed largely in part to the fact that when they needed someone most, I was there for them. As silly as it may sound, seeing these characters when they were emotionally vulnerable adhered them to me as people. At one point or another everyone goes through something. Whether that something be the toils of having alcoholic parents, the thing I've struggled with most, or any other number of hardships, we've all been emotionally unstable. Odds are that there is at least one character in Final Fantasy IX that you'll be able to relate to, for me it was Dagger and her inner struggle regarding her Mother, Queen Brahne. Her self reproach for her Mother's wrongdoings was nearly identical to my own struggle with my parents' alcoholism, and because of that I grew attached to her.



Eventually the story does shift focus to Zidane, but not until near the end of the game. By this point you've built up an emotional attachment to each character, simply because throughout the game you've served as their support and they haven't served as yours. There's a particularly poignant scene in which Zidane is walking down a corridor, crushed and defeated by discovering his origins. As he slowly proceeds, powerful monsters attack him. In each new battle a different party member will come to your aid, constantly reminding you that you don't have to face this alone. They're serving as your support, helping Zidane through his denial and you the player through a series of difficult fights. You can watch the scene on Youtube if you're interested.

Final Fantasy has always been able to wretch emotion from me. Deaths throughout the series and beautiful endings being perfect examples. Keeping those epic examples in mind, it should mean all the more when I say to you that no scene has ever affected me as deeply as the corridor scene in Final Fantasy IX. Watching the character I've built up to be the very backbone of my party fall into utter darkness was heart wrenching. I immediately panicked. How was the party going to continue on? If Zidane had given up hope, what would become of the rest of them? To see each and every party member do all they could to hold Zidane up, to remind him of his tremendous spirit, was more powerful than any death had ever been. The people I had come to love were there for Zidane, and in turn, they were there for me.

Final Fantasy IX dared to provide a fresh perspective in a genre so full of staleness, and in doing so proved the power in changing something as simple as the protagonist's role. To this day it remains one of two video games that have managed to bring me to tears, something that I believe speaks volumes of its ability to affect gamers on a deeper level. If you've yet to play through it and are a fan of the genre, I simply cannot stress enough how much you need to play this game.








Good morning community. For those of you not aware, Destructoid has a forum. Within that forum is a thread, a thread where the Destructoid community routinely posts the games they've completed as they complete them. Then, it's left up to a a solitary user to update the list once a month. This year that job has fallen on Technophile, our resident forum admin. I'm in charge of transferring the list to the community blogs, so those of you who aren't into the forums can see it and possibly become enthused about participating. Do not post your completed games here. Do that in the forum thread.

This transfer is a few days late, and for that I apologize. I was tasked with editing in all of the bold, but beside that, I'm a little on the OCD side. I went in and made the usernames pop out a little bit more, as well as editing in a universal format for the little bonuses you guys tack on, and making sure everything was spelled correctly. I know; I'm crazy.

-Ace829-
Xbox 360
Castle Crashers

-Advocate918-
PS3
Dragon Age: Origins
Bayonetta

-Aerox-
PC
VVVVVVV
Xbox 360
Darksiders

-akeripper-
Xbox 360
Bayonetta - (Very Easy)

-Ali D-
PC
Bioshock
Xbox 360
Fable 2

-Anonymouse-
DS
The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks
Xbox 360
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 - (Single Player 100%)

-ArcticFox-
Xbox 360
Mass Effect 2 - (Veteran, Engineer)
Marvel Ultimate Alliance - (Normal)

-Batthink-
PS2
Persona 3: FES - (The Answer)
PS3
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Xbox 360
Battlefield 1943

-Bleach Boy-
Xbox 360
Mass Effect 2
Assassin's Creed 2

-Budboy311-
PS3
Ghostbusters
Dead Space
Xbox 360
The Maw - (All Achievements)
Mass Effect
Modern Warfare 2 - (Hardened)

-Buddha-
DS
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

-Bulkmailer-
DS
Henry Hatsworth
Lunar Knights

-BulletMagnet-
DS
Devilish
Xbox
Voodoo Vince

-BulletTrain-
PC
Mass Effect
Wii
No More Heroes

-Cadtalfryn-
PC
Far Cry 2
Wii
Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All Stars

-callmeAlex-
PS1
Final Fantasy VII
PS3
inFAMOUS
Wii
New Super Mario Bros. Wii

-Ckarasu-
DS
Mario and Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story

-Clockwork Zombie-
PS3
Red Faction: Guerrilla
PixelJunk Shooter
Demon's Souls - (Platinum Trophy)
PSP
Half-Minute Hero

-CUDpwns-
N64
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
PC
Mass Effect
Sega Mega Drive
Sonic & Knuckles
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Wii
New Super Mario Bros. Wii

-Cyber Altair-
PC
VVVVVV

-DaniusKang-
Xbox 360
Braid

-DickMcVengeance-
PS3
inFamous

-digtastik-
PS3
God of War
God of War 2 - (Normal)

-DJP3DRO-
Wii
No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle

-doifX-
DS
Advance Wars: Dark Conflict
GBA
Advance Wars
Advance Wars 2 - (Normal Campaign)
PC
Bionic Commando: Rearmed
Wii
New Super Mario Bros. Wii

-Drowning Rabbit-
PC
Dawn of War II
Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter
Wii
No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle

-eternalplayer2345-
Gameboy
Donkey Kong 64
GBA
Mario vs Donkey Kong

-Fifty Dollar Curse-
Genesis
Batman - (Hard)
Batman Returns
After Burner II - (Normal)
Altered Beast
Master System
Shinobi
NES
Renegade
PS3
Batman: Arkham Asylum - (Normal)
Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time - (Hard)
Katamari Forever
SNES
Super Mario World

-FinalGamerAC-
Xbox 360
Assassin's Creed II - (All Achievements)

-Funksy-
PC
Mega Man 7 - (8bit Remake)
Love - (Zero lives lost)
PS3
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
God of War
God of War II
Wii
No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle
Xbox 360
Bayonetta
Assassin's Creed II
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 - (Hit 70)

-FunWithBonus-
PS3
Shatter

-GamesAreArt-
DS
Mario and Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story
Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box
Wii
Zack and Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure

-gatorsax2010-
DS
Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story
PC
Flood the Chamber
Merry Gear Solid
Karoshi
Karoshi 2.0

-Gibbo-
Xbox 360
GTA IV: Episodes From Liberty City
Assassins Creed II

-Gobun-
Wii
New Super Mario Bros Wii
Xbox 360
Saboteur

-g-off-
PS2
Metal Saga
Wii
Silent Hill: Shattered Memories

-Grocerspride-
PS3
Assassin's Creed 2

-Guagloves-
Wii
New Super Mario Bros. Wii
Rabbids Go Home
Xbox 360
Mushihimesama Futari Ver 1.5
Bayonetta - (Normal)
Call of Duty 3
NBA Street Homecourt
Battlefield Bad Company - (Normal)
Wolfenstein
Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway

-Guncannon-
SNES
Megaman X2
Megaman X3
Xbox 360
Bayonetta - (Normal, Platinum Trophy)

-Gyrael-
NES
Mega Man 3
Ninja Gaiden
PC
Crysis Warhead - (Normal)
Indigo Prophecy

-IcarusKills-
PC
VVVVVV
Flood the Chamber
Wii
Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles
Xbox 360
Shadow Complex
Darksiders
Bayonetta

-jhitcher42-
Xbox 360
Red Faction: Guerrilla - (Normal)
Left 4 Dead 2

-JLanphear-
Xbox 360
Mass Effect

-JohnnyViral-
Xbox 360
Dragon Age: Origins
Assassin's Creed 2

-JT IceFire-
Wii
No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle
Xbox 360
Borderlands

-KD_Alpha-
PC
Cave Story
PS1
Final Fantasy II - (Origins)

-Kif-
Xbox 360
Splosion Man
Rez HD

-Krow-
Gameboy
Kirby's Dreamland
PS2
Kingdom Hearts

-LFly-
PS1
Wild Arms 2
PS3
Valkyria Chronicles
Vandal Hearts: Flames of Judgement
Army of Two: 40th Day

-Little McIntosh-
DS
Mario Party DS
iPod
Geared
Wolfenstein RPG
Sega Genesis
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Sonic the Hedgehog 3
Wii
Klonoa
Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure
Rabbids Go Home
Resident Evil 4

-maniaccat-
Xbox 360
Mass Effect

-MatCD-
Wii
Muramasa: The Demon Blade
Xbox 360
Borderlands
Bayonetta - (Normal)

-Mr Kite-
PC
World of Goo
Lucidity
Lumines - (Classic mode, Advanced mode)
PS3
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves - (Normal)
Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction - (Normal)
Xbox 360
Bayonetta - (Normal)
Dead Space - (Medium)

-naia-the-gamer-
PC
Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition
Tales of Monkey Island: Chapter 1
Tales of Monkey Island: Chapter 2
Tales of Monkey Island: Chapter 3
Tales of Monkey Island: Chapter 4
Tales of Monkey Island: Chapter 5
Xbox 360
Gyromancer + DLC

-Nebones-
Xbox 360
The Sabotuer - (Normal)
Sealife Safari

-Necro-B.A.B.S.-
Xbox 360
Bayonetta

-Necros-
PS2
We Love Katamari
Xbox 360
Castle Crashers - Normal
Assassin's Creed

-nekobun-
Xbox 360
Phantasy Star Universe: Ambition Of The Illuminus - (100% Complete)

-otakunoise-
PS3
Bayonetta - (Hard)
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
Batman: Arkham Asylum

-ParaParaKing-
NES
Mega Man
Mega Man 2
Mega Man 3
Mega Man 4
Mega Man 5
PC
VVVVVV
PS3
Darksiders - Apocalyptic
inFamous - Platinum Trophy
Flower - 100% Complete
PSP
Darius Burst
Xbox 360
Mass Effect 2

-Phantomile-
DS
Moero! Nekketsu Rhythm Damashii Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan 2 - (Normal)
Zoo Keeper - Normal
N64
Banjo-Kazooie
PC
VVVVVV
Wii
Fatal Frame IV (Normal)

-Phones-
PS3
Pixeljunk Shooter

-Poopface Morty-
Xbox 360
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare 2

-portastad-
Xbox 360
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

-PrestoChango-
PS3
Uncharted: Drakes Fortune

-Projectexodus-
DS
The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks
PS3
Batman: Arkham Asylum
God of War
God of War II
Wii
New! Super Mario Bros. Wii
Xbox 360
Mass Effect

-psycho soldier-
Xbox 360
Bayonetta

-Quoth-
PC
King's Quest
King's Quest II
Xbox 360
Viking: Battle For Asgard - (Hard)

-Riegel88-
PS3
Assassins Creed 2 - (Platinum Trophy)

-RonBurgandy2010-
PS3
Pixel Junk Shooter
Wii
No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle

-ryu89-
PC
Mass Effect 2
Xbox 360
Shadow Complex

-Samwise-
Xbox 360
Darksiders

-Seven.Tales-
PC
Dragon Age: Origins

-shinigamiDude-
SNES
Super Mario Bros. 3 - (All Stars)
Xbox 360
Call of Duty: World At War - (Veteran)
Ben 10 Alien Force: Vilgax Attacks
SAW
Call of Juarez:Bound in Blood - (Hard)
Star Ocean: The Last Hope

-Sir Legendhead-
Xbox 360
Bayonetta

-slowriot-
PS3
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
Fallout 3

-SousedLouse-
PS2
God Hand - (Hard)

-SpeedNut-
Xbox 360
Borderlands

-stay-
PS3
inFamous
Wii
New Super Mario Bro's Wii

-that1dude24-
PC
VVVVVV
Wii
No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle

-the guy with the hat-
PC
Dragon Age: Origins
Xbox 360
GTA IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Mass Effect

-The Mad March Harris-
PS3
Noby Noby Boy - (Platinum Trophy)
Batman Arkham Asylum - (Normal, 100% completion)

-TheChemist-
Xbox 360
Assassin's Creed
Batman: Arkham Asylum - (Normal)

-TheGoldenDonut-
PS2
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner - Raidou Kuzunoha vs. the Soulless Army

-Trebz-
PC
Portal
Wii
No More Heroes - (Mild)

-Triplzer0-
PS3
Borderlands
Darksiders

-tsunamikitsune-
PS1
Jumping Flash

-Vhaius-
Xbox 360
Darksiders - (Easy)
The Saboteur
Mass Effect
Mass Effect 2 - (Normal, Infiltrator)

-WarZombie-
Xbox 360
Borderlands

-wintersocks-
PC
Braid
Half Life 2 - (Garry's Mod)
PSP
Brainpipe
God of War: Chains of Olympus
Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops
Super Stardust Portable - (Arcade Mode)

-Zodiac Eclipse-
PC
World of Goo

-zombielifecoach-
PS3
Darksiders
Xbox 360
Army of Two: The 40th Day

-Zombologist-
Xbox 360
Bionic Commando

251 games completed in January. Nice showing guys.








Earlier today I made a comment on the final post in Destructoid's "50 best games of the decade" feature. It dawned on me that the message I had intended for the editor's, and subsequently Destructoid on a whole to see, might get lost in the fray. Now here I am, bedraggled from a sleep schedule gone haywire and a total lack of anything better to do, writing my first blog in over a month, knowing full well that the potential for flames is possibly through the roof.

The following is an open letter to the Destructoid community, the Destructoid staff, and any gamer who happens to find his way to my small, hardly updated blog.



When the first article went up last Monday, I only glanced through the first ten games. I ignored the comments, as I'm apt to do with any article that might cause controversy, and I quietly left the room. I did the same on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and even Friday. It was until this morning that I actually took the time to the time to read through each article, in order, and the nearly four hundred comments on the last article.

To the staff, thank you. This five part series was a reminder of why I fell in love with Destructoid's editors and its unique way of doing things in the first place. It's clear that this list wasn't an afterthought, that it's something which each and every one of you deliberated, discussed, and mulled over for more than enough time in order to post it with confidence. Though there were moments where my own personal tastes differed from the overall consensus of the staff, I managed to put aside my greivances just long enough to see what this list really was; a reminder of how good we have it as gamers, as well as a reminder that the staff of Destructoid loves video games just as much as we do.

In my experience, most video game sites compile these lists with the sole intention of garnering pageviews and pandering to their audience. Regardless of whether or not Destructoid is guilty of making a post just for profit, this five day series is one of the few "best of" lists I've ever seen Destructoid take part in, adding at least a little validity to the claim that they're not just doing this for the money. I'm going to cut that off there- I don't want to stir up controversy that doesn't exist.



Where am I going with this? Ah, right.

So, Game (A) wasn't in the right spot or Game (B) didn't make the list. It's unfortunate, sure, but that's not the point. Sometimes I think we, as gamers and Dtoiders, forget that the people behind this site are gamers too. To my knowledge, no one person on the staff agrees with each game being in each position on the list, in the same way that no community member agrees with the list entirely. Part of the magic of our hobby is born out of individual experiences, while one person could hate a game, another might absolutely love it.

I've done enough stating the obvious in blog already, the point I want to make is this:

The motto, "For gamers, by gamers", isn't just something that Niero slapped on his business to garner more attention or loyalty, it's the downright truth. After reading through nearly four hundred comments of discussion, rage, and passion, I'm reminded that the people I share bandwith with are a tough crowd to please, newcomers not understanding the utter loyalty some of us oldfags have, and many of the people from BACK IN TEH DAY disillusioned with Destructoid's shift to maintaining a cashflow with the growing site numbers.

I don't really know why I'm writing all this. Perhaps what I'm trying to say is, "As much as things change, they stay the same," who knows. Could be that I'm trying to thank the staff for bucking the industry standard for list posts, maybe I'm trying to explain to you just why I appreciate Destructoid. Maybe I'm just rambling.

It's probably a combination of all three.

THE POINT IS, TL;DR

I love Destructoid, I love its staff, and I love each and every community member who has taken the time to talk to me, get to know me, and loves video games as much as I do. Keep on rockin' baby, long live our robot overlords, etc.

Also, cocks?

P.S. How awesome is my avatar? I mean, seriously.

P.P.S. What the fuck did I just write.

P.P.P.S. There's probably some horrible unintended irony in here.

P.P.P.P.S. Mother 3 is awesome.








Majora's Mask is as simple a game as it is a complex one. As heartwarming a game as it is soul crushing. In all my years as a player, I have yet to encounter another experience in media that affects me as deeply as Majora's Mask did, on such a personal and emotional level. The following is a shrine to an overlooked classic, a letter to those who didn't experience it, and my personal take on what I hold up as my favorite video game.

The premise


Anyone who picked up a gaming magazine back in 1999 should understand the premise of Majora's Mask, but assuming you've been in the dark all these years, let me break it down for you. You play as Link, the same Link who slew Ganon back in 1998. The game begins with a scene of our hero riding Epona through the Lost Woods. Those who took the time to read the manual would have known that Link had set off on a quest to find, "A lost and beloved friend", or something to that effect. Most assume that he was seeking Navi.

Events quickly spiral out of control as we are introduced to the antagonist of the game, Majora's Mask. Everything a Zelda fan holds dear is lost, including the familiarity of Link's human form. After having Tatl fill the role that Navi has left open, and a brief foray through a wooded section, we're introduced to Termina and the crisis that has befallen it. The player is then given three days (about 54 minutes of real time), to find a way to the top of the Clock Tower, retrieve his Ocarina, and defeat Majora's Mask.

If the player is successful in this first mission, he will retrieve his Ocarina. Upon playing the Song of Time, you are warped back to the moment you first stepped out into Clock Town, and everything is as it was before the Moon started its final descent. Congratulations, you've been introduced to the main gimmick of Majora's Mask, and given your first taste of the God-like powers you now possess. With your human form restored, you'll set out on a quest to cleanse four temples of the evil that resides within them.

The execution


We've reached a point of divergence. Here is where most fans either become enamored with the world of Termina and explore it in full, or become daunted by the strict limits of the three day cycle and give up in favor something less, well, strange. Those of you who gave up, take note. If you play Majora's Mask the "right" way, you'll find that repetition rarely rears her ugly head.

I'm well aware of how wrong that last sentence sounds to anyone who is a fan of Zelda. Up until Majora's Mask, Zelda games were instantly familiar to returning fans. An emphasis was put on adventuring at your own pace and leisure, and while there was often an impending threat, it had never been pertinent to the point that if you were to stand still, there would be ramifications. Majora's Mask takes that convention and throws it out the window. No more unfocused wandering. You have to have a purpose, a schedule. When you begin a new three day cycle, you'd best have a clear idea of what you wanted to accomplish in mind, lest you waste time and can't accomplish your goals.

Luckily, players are granted a boon in two hidden songs, both involving the Song of Time. If the player plays the Song of Time backwards, time will be slowed to half speed, effectively extending your 54 minute timer to nearly two hours. If you needed to advance ahead to a specific time on a specific day, you can play the Song of Time with double notes, warping you ahead twelve in-game hours. It's not a perfect system, but with these two things in mind, it becomes far more manageable.

Anyone who plays Majora's Mask will have to learn how to use the Song of Time effectively, in all three of its incarnations. A good example of this crops up later in the game, when you set off to complete the fourth and final dungeon. The player is presented with a long and arduous event in the form of Ikana Castle, a dungeon that you are required to complete to complete in order to learn a song that will grant you access to Stone Tower Temple. In the process of gaining access to Ikana Canyon, exploring and conquering Ikana Castle, and first entering Stone Tower Temple, I returned to the first day three times. It's important to note that although I returned to the past three times over this course of events, I did not encounter any repetition. Using strategy, I allotted time to objectives, warped back to the first day, and used the Song of Soaring to return to Ikana Canyon with progress made.

Majora's Mask is not impossible to play, nor is it repetitive. The potential is there, but for gamers of our caliber, it is unlikely.

The little things


This is the crux of my love for Majora's Mask. The little things. Never before had I played a game that put such a strong emphasis on bringing a world to life, replacing a set of static NPC's with ones that lived out their lives from day to day, getting into trouble, and giving off the impression that these minor elements of the story were living, breathing beings.

Instead of waxing on for several thousand words about each individual moment, as it would be very possible for me to do so, I've picked out the two moments that have stuck with me, that I can remember in excruciating detail. One is the story of a Goron who had trouble moving on after death, haunted by the fact that his people were suffering. What stuck me the most is encompassed by a simple, thirty second cutscene. The other takes place over the course of an entire three day cycle and tells a story of unrequited love and unwavering devotion.

The first event involves the spirit of a Goron named Darmani the Third. After Majora cursed Snowhead, the home of the Gorons, with an eternal winter, Darmani took it upon himself to go to Snowhead Peak and cleanse it of the evil that had manifested itself there. The blizzard blew him into the valley below, killing him. Upon arriving at the Mountain Village and obtaining the Eye of Truth, you'll be able to see his spirit. He'll implore you to follow him, and if you comply, you'll be taken to his grave.

It's here that you are presented with his harrowing tale and are forced to heal his wounded soul. A short cinematic plays, something that I cannot imagine will have the same impact on you as it did on an eight-year old me nine years ago. This cutscene marks the first time, and one of the only times, a game has nearly brought me to tears. It could have been my loose understanding of what death was, or it could have held a relevance with me at the time that I can't recall. However, in spite of this, that short scene has stuck with me, and made a huge impact on me as a person. It's the scene that made me reexamine the video games I had previously played, a scene that turned me into a little Reverend Anthony that is consistently expecting more from video games as a medium and is constantly disappointed.



The second event is much more subtle, and far more difficult to pull off. It's also incredibly easy to miss, as the entirety of the sequence is optional. I could have recounted it here in text format, but I've instead decided to embed the crucial moment, the one that made the whole of the experience worth it.

You're given a few minutes of in game time to return to Clock Town, to be there when Kafei meets Anju in a room within the Stock Pot Inn. If you carry out this task, you'll be stuck waiting until there's barely a minute left, nervous that you'll get caught in the destruction that the Moon will soon wrought. Kafei will arrive in the nick of time and you'll be treated to a touching scene, as well as the Couple's Mask, something you can use to get a Piece of Heart. Despite the issue of Majora having turned Kafei into a child and in spite of their impending destruction, they embrace. They utter a final line before you're given the order to flee; it's a line that has stuck with me over any other moment from this game.

"Please take refuge. We are fine here. We shall greet the morning... together."

B'aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaw.

The time system may have been stressful, and initially hard to grasp, but thanks to moments like these, it was entirely worth it. If you haven't played Majora's Mask, I implore that you give it the fair chance it deserves. If you have played it, but didn't enjoy it, I'd make the suggestion that you return to it with the knowledge of the slowed time flow and with a greater emphasis on managing time. Hell, if you knew about those things, maybe this game just isn't for you. To everyone else, thank you for sticking with me for this long article. I admit that I wrote it more for me than for you.