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I'm Rachel, A.K.A. The Nintendette, an avid Nintendo fan, journalism & creative writing student, & overall video game enthusiast. Check here every day to see easter eggs, game reviews, & other video game goodies.

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So much has been said about Majora's Mask that it's easy to overlook what makes this game so great when it comes down to bare bones. One of this game's claims to fame is the "Ben Drowned" Creepypasta that plays off of the macabre and dark environment of the game. This game has such a large cult following (it's become even more apparent with the recent collector's editions of the game being sold out in 15 minutes or less) that the premise of the game almost gets drowned out (no puns intended) by all the hype. So, what is it about Majora's Mask that that makes it so popular?

 

Like Majora's Mask, the Wind Waker wasn't a fan favorite at first

 

If you think about it, Majora's Mask and The Wind Waker have a lot in common. They both were games that resulted in an upgrade in hardware (MM with the ExpansionPak and WW with the GameCube), and they both weren't well received by the Zelda fanbase at first. You can really tell that the developers were attempting to try something new with these titles. In Majora's Mask, they were able to add more detail and complexity to the overworld that was absent from Ocarina of Time. With Ocarina, the developers introduced the concept of the 3D Zelda game, but with Majora's Mask they perfected it. With The Wind Waker, I think the developers wanted to play with the idea of a more expressive Link and more dynamic overworld, hence the cell-shaded graphics. Both titles were hailed as being too different, and therefore fans steered away from them at first. However, they both eventually became huge hits and received/are receiving remakes. In my eyes, these games (Majora's Mask more specifically) embody the spirit of the series that was introduced in the original game.

 

The least popular Zelda titles are often the most different (excluding the original of course)

 

 

 

In the original Legend of Zelda game, there was very little direction, leaving the player to explore the world as they pleased. Granted, the Zelda games of today are way more linear than the original Legend of Zelda, but I think Majora's Mask is a more modern version of the original game without being being a direct sequel.

There are so many secrets to be discovered in Majora's Mask. The game itself is like one big puzzle, and it's up to the player to figure out where all the pieces go. That's much like how the original Legend of Zelda game is. In both games, the player acts as a detective trying to solve a mystery with very few clues along the way. Granted, many other Zelda games feature these elements, but in Majora's Mask and The Legend of Zelda, I feel like the exploration element is the most prominent.

 

There are 24 masks to collect in Majora's Mask, and 20 unique quests to get them

 

The developers of the upcoming Zelda game for Wii U claim that they're going back to basics. However, I think they already have in the form of Majora's Mask. The game is such a good example of what makes Zelda times great, both new and old. The time where that game was seen as taboo and too different is now gone. I think it's arguably one of the most popular Zelda games to date. Hopefully the upcoming remake will do it justice, but only time will tell. I'll be playing that game as soon as it comes out, so expect a post about by thoughts of the game! With this post thus ends my series of Majora's Mask posts.

 

If you're intertested in other things I've written about Majora's Mask, be sure to check out my top 5 hopes for Majora's Mask 3Dmy theory about the story of Majora's Mask and what it means, the Majora's Mask easter egg in A Link Between Worldsthe classic dungeon theme easter egg in Majora's Mask and the Star Fox easter egg in Majora's Mask.









The hit Zora band of Termina, the Indigo-Go's

 

Instead of doing a daily easter egg like I used to, I'd like to do more of an easter egg spotlight, highlighting my favorite easter eggs. I'm doing a series of three posts about this incredible game, and while I'm working on the third, I thought I'd share my favorite easter egg with you guys!

There's a band in Majora's Mask named the Indigo-Go's. They're a popular band in Termina that's made up of Zoras, the aquatic race of the Zelda universe. When you go to Zora's Cape, you can listen in on their rehearsals. Three members of the band play classic Zelda songs when they rehearse. The first time I listened to them  playing, I thought what they were playing sounded familiar, but it wasn't until I did a little research that I found out exactly what they were playing.

 

 

Tito the drummer plays the cave theme from A Link to the Past.

 

 

Japas the bass player plays the dungeon theme from the original Legend of Zelda.

 

 

Evan the keyboard/piano player plays the "Game Over" theme from  the original Legend of Zelda.

 

I tried to find individual in-game examples of this easter egg, but the closest thing I found was a Let's Play episode by Dekinosai on YouTube. He collects a few Heart Pieces, but eventually shows all of the Zora band members playing their easter egg tunes. I recommend you watch the video because this is a very fascinating easter egg, as well as a good example of the atmosphere of Majora's Mask. You can watch the video here.

If you're intertested in other things I've written about Majora's Mask, be sure to check out my top 5 hopes for Majora's Mask 3D, my theory about the story of Majora's Mask and what it means, the Majora's Mask easter egg in A Link Between Worlds, and the Star Fox easter egg in Majora's Mask

Thanks for reading, and be on the lookout for one more post about Majora's Mask soon!

(Source)









 

The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask is widely regarded as being the black sheep of the Zelda franchise. It doesn't make much sense when compared to the other entries in the series, and it's nothing like the other Zelda games, or even like any other Nintendo game up to that point. Instead of saving a princess and going on a (mostly) lighthearted adventure, Link gets transported to a completely different land that isn't Hyrule and has to save it from impending doom. Seems pretty straightforward, right?

 

Wrong.

 

Majora's Mask is easily the most emotionally mature title in the Legend of Zelda series. It revolves around death, loss, hopelessness, and grief. More specifically, it highlights and mirrors the five stages of grief. There is a widespread theory that claims that Link himself is going through the five stages of grief in the game in order to overcome his own death. There aren't any overt occurrences in the game that prove this theory, but it can be gathered from many of the in game events that maybe Nintendo developed this game to represent something deeper than what can be gathered on the surface...

 

(Of course, I will be delving very deep into this game so if you want to avoid spoilers, you better not read this!)

 

Like any other great piece of art, there can be many different ways to analyze Majora's Mask beyond what you see on the surface...

Now, I realize that this is a really popular theory that has been talked about a lot, but when I played through the game, there were a lot of things I noticed that haven't been talked about as much. I'm an English major, so analyzing symbolism and dialogue is something I love to do, so there were many instances in Majora's Mask where I thought that there was something more being said than what was actually being said, if that makes any sense. Also, Majora's Mask is my favorite video game of all time, so it's fun to pick it apart. So, without further ado, let's start from the beginning, shall we?

 

This is the Kübler-Ross stages of grief model

 

The Kübler-Ross stages of grief model outlines what the average person goes through when faced with a loss of a loved one. It may look like theory on the surface, but having gone through the loss of my father 3 years ago, I can personally attest that I did indeed follow the model when grieving over the loss I experienced. The five different areas in Majora's Mask perfectly mirror the five stages of grief in order.

 

Somehow, the people of Clock Town don't seem to notice the ever-present and ever-terrifying moon looming over their heads, coming to bring certain doom

The first stage of grief is Denial. Consequently, the first area of the game the player is introduced to is Clock Town, where all of the residents are in denial about the astronomically apocalyptic moon that's hanging over their heads. Even the town's resident astronomer doesn't seem to be phased by it, which is completely baffling when the moon looks the way it does. When an expert on cosmic bodies doesn't seem concerned about the danger, you know that they must be in denial. To me, the moon represents the certainty of death since it is such an apparent entity, foreboding and prominent. The moon stares you right in the face,  just as death stares you in the face for all of your life. The people of Clock Town decide to ignore and deny their deaths by denying the presence of the moon.

The townspeople are so much in denial that they are planning a carnival, completely ignoring the problem at hand. And when someone shows some sanity and suggests that maybe they should evacuate the town, they get ridiculed and accused of fear mongering.

Yeah the theory is certainly groundless. I mean, a moon with a face on it being unnaturally close to the ground is completely normal!

The townspeople are certainly going through denial, but what are the consequences of this denial? As each of the three days that they have left to live passes, some of them come to their senses and leave, but some decide to stay. To me, this symbolizes how some people only realize they're dying when it's too late to do anything about it. The head carpenter in town stays in town for all three days, refusing to leave his work even though he faced certain doom, much like the people of Pompeii refused to leave when it was apparent that Vesuvius was going to erupt.

 Another  example of denial in Clock Town is the longest side quest in the game which revolves around two characters who decide to stay in town and die together in order to be together. Their relationship was doomed from the start, but they waited to be together at the very last second possible. I am of course referring to Anju and Kafei, who are separated and spend the last few days of their lives trying to reunite. You could say that they are in denial about the danger around them because they are so much in love. It's touching and sweet, but also a little maddening as well. You see, Kafei was turned into a child by the Skull Kid (the little annoying imp that stole Majora's Mask), and disappeared. It's then up to Link to track Kafei down and reunite him with Anju.

Okay, Anju, I get that you love Kafei, but he looks like he could be your little brother.

Anju's mother tries to reason with her to get her to evacuate the town, but she won't listen to her. You must be in the deepest and most ultimate form of denial to ignore your own mother to stay in town for a guy who may or not be missing. Anju seems to be in denial about her death because she doesn't seem to care about dying at all, or even realizing that she's going to die; all she cares about is Kafei. You could also infer that Anju may just be really stubborn, but isn't being stubborn almost equal to being in denial about the truth?

Not only do the characters show how Clock Town symbolizes denial, the music that plays conveys a sense of denial as well. As each day progresses, the music in Clock Town changes from cheery and pleasant to ominous and eerie. Even on the very last day, mere seconds before impending doom, the cheery melody of Clock Town plays on over the desolate and desperate melody of the final day. To get a better sense of what I'm describing, click here to experience the music for yourself.

 

Whoa there, Deku King, let's not make decisions when we're angry...

Moving on to both the next stage of grief, Anger, and next area the game, the player ventures to Woodfall to find that there's trouble amok. There, the Deku King's daughter (the princess) has gone missing, and he gets very angry about it. Instead of trying to look for her, he decides to punish an innocent monkey for it instead. There's no evidence that the monkey did it, other than that the monkey is actually friends with the princess and tried to save her himself. The king is just lashing out over the loss of his daughter because he's angry. Okay, so I was mistaken. You do indeed save a princess in this game, but it's less Zelda and more Deku.

To add insult to injury, Woodfall is tainted with poison, and to me that poison symbolizes how anger can get in you and kill you from the inside out, like any toxin does. Once you let anger in, it festers and can destroy things quickly, as shown by how rashly the Deku King lashed out.

 

Poison, like anger, can spread to other areas of your life, affecting you beyond the loss you experienced

 

The Deku King isn't the only person who is angry in Woodfall. The Tour Guide in the Swamp Tourist Center is embarrassed because his son acts immature for his age. If you show him a picture of his son, he gets really angry, but will give you a Heart Piece in return. Who is his son, you ask?

 

 

That's right. It's Tingle, the 35-year-old fairy wannabe!

 

The next area in the game is Snowhead, where the next stage of grief, Bargaining, is represented 

 

The player comes in to contact with characters that are experiencing Bargaining in the next area of the game, Snowhead. The mountain-dweling race known as the Gorons have lost their hero and leader, Darmani. Link comes in to contact with the spirit of Darmani, and he begs Link to bring him back to life. Or, you could say that he's bargaining for his life.

 

 

After Link plays the Song of Healing, sealing Darmani's spirit into a mask, he encourages Link to read about his life story so he can better understand how to live life in Darmani's stead. As mentioned above, one of the aspects of bargaining is the desire to tell one's story. Also, Darmani seems to be really confused about what happens, and tries to bargain with the fact that he can't be dead, which is also a classic sign of bargaining.

 

 

Lulu the Zora is Depressed over the loss of her eggs

 

The next stage of grief is Depression. After dealing with bargaining, the player heads to Great Bay to meet Lulu the Zora, who has lost her eggs. She is the singer of the Zora band, the Indigo-Go's, and Link has to take the form of Mikau, the slain Zora guitarist in order to find Lulu's eggs. Mikau went to recover the eggs himself, but was killed in the process. Lulu refuses to sing until her eggs are recovered. All she does is stand around, staring at the sea, silent. She's too sad to speak, let alone sing. Depression is also associated with detachment, which makes sense in Lulu's case because she refuses to let anyone help her, not to mention that she stands alone, not seeking the company of the rest of her race in the tough time she's going through.

 

 

 

 

The last area of the game before the finale is Ikana Valley. The stage of grief modeled here is Acceptance. While Ikana Valley is a place of death, the undead beings that exist here are comfortable and accepting of their existence. The most prominent example of acceptance in Ikana Valley is the Stone Tower temple. The temple requires Link to ascend into the heavens to accept his death. To complete the temple, you must flip it around so you face the ground. To me, this symbolizes the ascent to heaven, or the descent to hell.  Before the boss fight, Link acquires the Giant's Mask in order to fight the boss. To me, this symbolizes Link achieving comfort with his death, and becoming larger in life because of it.

In the Stone Tower Temple, you either ascend into the heavens, or descend into hell

 

The Elegy of Emptiness creates funeral effigies for the deceased characters, including Link

In order to ascend upwards, Link must make statues of the dead spirits he has healed. According to popular theory, these statues represent funeral effigies for those who have died. He's literally paying homage to the spirits that helped him along his journey by creating effigies of them. Link can create statues of the three spirits he has healed, along with a statue of himself. If he can create statues for the other characters because they're dead, that would mean that he is dead as well since he can make a statue for himself.

 

Another story of acceptance is that of Pamela and her dad

 

In order to proceed onwards with the plot, Link must get the Gibdo mask from Pamela's dad. Her dad has been turned into a Gibdo (think mummy mixed with zombie) and it's up to Link to save him. However, even though Pamela may be scared of her father the way he is, she accepts him and protects him. However, when Link turns him back to normal, they have a touching scene where they reunite. I can honestly say that seeing Pamela reunited with her father is the only time a video game has made me cry. That moment touched upon the feelings I felt during the time I lost my own father.  Even though Pamela was able to be reunited with her father since he wasn't truly gone, I think the whole situation can symbolize that even when we lose someone, they're not truly gone; they can live on in our hearts and minds, and it's up to us to accept their death the way it is.

 

The calm before the storm: the very last stage before Link can fully accept his death.

After Link conquers and goes through each stage of grief, he then can come face to face with the evil that has been plaguing his journey to acceptance: Skull Kid and Majora. To me, this last part of the game is the most symbolic. Link journeys inside the moon in order to confront Skull Kid. Inside the moon, he finds the scene pictured above. It seems so surreal that such a serene place would exist inside something that looks like this:

 

 

 

Even though he has overcome every stage of grief, his journey to acceptance isn't over yet. Inside the moon, there exist the "moon children". There are five of them, one for each area of the game. Four wear the masks of the bosses you have defeated, while one wears Majora's Mask. Link must talk to each child and give them some of the masks he's collected. He then enters into a kind of mini-dungeon that represents each dungeon he has overcome so far. It's like he's re-living the experiences that brought him to acceptance. I see these moon children as the final gatekeepers before Link can get to heaven. By giving the children the masks he's earned through his experiences in Termina, he's proving that he is worthy of entering paradise. However, even after he's proven himself to the moon children, he must prove that he can defeat what I think symbolizes his death: Majora himself.

 

The moon children. Each mask represents a stage of grief and boss that Link has defeated except Majora. Majora represents Link's death itself. Link cannot fully overcome his death unless he defeats Majora

 

If Link collects all 24 masks, he gets access to the Fierce Deity's mask. By wearing this mask, Link transforms into his adult self, except he is super powerful. To me, this symbolizes that Link has fully come to terms with each stage of grief and now has the true power to fully overcome his death,  Majora.

 

 

The question is posed whether or not the Fierce Deity is as evil as Majora. To me, the Fierce Deity represents what Link could have become if he had not died. Only after healing everyone's sorrows, Link has access to the ultimate weapon to use against Majora, fulfilling his true potential. After Link defeats Majora, Skull Kid and Link get closure. This is the ultimate symbol of Link overcoming and accepting his death since Skull Kid seems to be the one responsible for everything that has happened to Link.  Everything goes back to normal and the evil leaves the mask, like nothing had ever happened.  Finally, the three day cycle is over, symbolizing Link's acceptance of his death. A Dawn of a New Day arrives, and the journey that Link went through almost seems pointless.

 

 

The evil possessed by the mask and the way it affected Skull Kid seems random and unfair. I think this random, unfair evil symbolizes how death can be random, or unfair. They say that only the good die young, and that's obviously what happened to Link (at least in my eyes).

And so, the carnival does indeed take place, and Link (although not invited to it) rides off without even seeming to want to enjoy the place he saved by attending the carnival. Why? Well, because his work there is done. With the evil gone and his death overcome, he can finally move on.

 

 

Even Tatl knows that Link's work is done and that he should take his leave

 

And so he does, riding off into the light...

The end. Literally.

 

Lastly (well, almost, I still have a bit more to say), I interpret the end screen of this game as being Link's grave. He's pictured with Skull Kid and the four giants on a tree stump as pictured above. This represents the journey he went on. There's the beginning and end of his problems, represented by Skull Kid, and the personification of his efforts in Termina with the giants representing 4 of the 5 stages of grief (Skull Kid being the 5th).

 

So, in a nutshell, this is my theory of what happened:

 

Okay, so in the beginning of the game, we have our hero Link riding into the woods to look for Navi, the fairy that aided him in his quest in the last game. I think by this point, Link had already passed away. The woods look different. They're misty and desolate, nothing like the woods we saw in Ocarina of Time.

It is said in Ocarina of Time that anyone who wanders into the woods and gets lost who is not a child of the forest (a Kokiri) will be turned into a Stalfos, a skeleton-like monster. It is revealed in Ocarina of Time that Link is not a Kokiri, meaning that if he gets lost in the woods, he can become a Stalfos. So, I believe that Link got lost in the woods while looking for Navi and became a Stalfos.

To back up my theory even more, let's fast forward to Twilight Princess, another installment in the Legend of Zelda franchise. 

What Hyrule Historia, A.K.A. The Bible of the Zelda Universe, says about The Hero's Shade

 

In Twilight Princess, an entity known as the Hero's Shade teaches Link secret techniques. He desires to do this because he "could not convey the lessons of that lift those who came after". In Hyrule Historia, it is confirmed that the Hero's Shade is the spirit of the Hero of Time, A.K.A. Link in Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask. So, why wouldn't the Hero of Time be able to convey the lessons he learned? Something must have happened to him. He wasn't able to carry on the hero's legacy because he died in the forest, becoming a Stalfos. He even appears in Stalfos form in Twilight Princess, as pictured above. That's also why I think Link's grave is that stump in the woods; that's where he died.

To further prove that the Hero's Shade is Link from OOT and MM, he's left handed like Link, and many of the songs he knows are from Ocarina and Majora. He also says the phrase "believe in your strengths", something also said by the Happy Mask Salesman, a pivotal character in Majora's Mask.

 

 

Hyrule Historia also says that he wasn't remembered as a hero. Having saved the kingdom from the ultimate evil, you think he would have been. To reiterate, something must have happened to him for him not to be remembered, such as him completely turning into a form that is so different from his own. To me, the evidence is overwhelming.

 

The Zelda timeline as it appears in Hyrule Historia

 

 

This theory also makes sense with the official Zelda timeline. Majora's Mask is a direct sequel to Ocarina of Time, and Twilight Princess (the game in which the Hero's Shade appears) comes after Majora's Mask. It is also said in The Wind Waker that the Hero of Time disappeared, resulting in Hyrule being flooded. While The Wind Waker takes place in a different timeline known as the Adult Era and Majora being in the Child Era, it still makes sense to me that the Hero of Time's disappearance would be him falling in the forest as a child, never becoming an adult, meaning that the Hero was gone from Hyrule, leaving it unprotected, resulting in the events that take place in The Wind Waker. The Hero's Shade and the timeline are in my opinion the strongest evidence supporting this theory, considering that this is all information that is confirmed to be canon by Nintendo.

Going back to the game itself, Majora's Mask just has a really surreal feel to it. Everything in the game seems otherworldly, like it can't be real. I mean, there are aliens in this game. Aliens.

 

Yup. That's a cow being abducted by aliens in a Zelda game. It seems too weird to be true, mostly because it probably is.

I believe that the events Link goes through in Majora's Mask are his very own form of purgatory. I mean, why else would this game take place in any other place besides Hyrule? Majora's Mask takes place in a world known as Termina, which is one letter short from "Terminal" as in "the end". Termina seems like it's a completely different world apart from Hyrule. After all, it does have its own nightmare inducing moon. Link fell into Termina though a hole in a tree. How does one fall into another world, especially one with its own sky? It doesn't seem like something that could be a part of reality. Besides, all of the normal elements of a Zelda game are absent from Majora's Mask, including well, Zelda. Ganondorf isn't in this game, and neither is the Master Sword. In fact, Link barely seems to remember what happened to him before he arrived in Termina.

 

Link remembers Zelda giving him the Ocarina, but that's it.

His memories of what happened in Ocarina of Time seem very distant, as if they happened in a past life. There's another Zelda title that didn't take place in Hyrule, and Ganon, the Master Sword and Zelda were absent—Link's Awakening. Spoiler alert, but everything that happens in that game turns out to be a dream.  So, that leads me to believe that when key Zelda elements are missing from a game, the events that take place may not be real. At least, that seems to be the case with Majora's Mask and Link's Awakening. Both games are also very...strange to say the least. I don't think it's a coincidence when probably the strangest Zelda titles of the bunch have so many similarities, causing me to believe that Majora's Mask also may be some sort of dream or purgatory.

 

 

Everything Link experiences in Link's Awakening is a product of the Wind Fish's dreamy imagination

 

So, Link dies in the forest, his body becomes a Stalfos, and his spirit moves on to the pergetory-like Termina where he must accept his death, represented by the Skull Kid and Majora's Mask. Once these two are defeated, he can finally move on. But, his regrets weren't fully eased, and he must pass down his teachings to Link in Twilight Princess to fully move on.

 

My theory about the prevalence of time and grief in Majora's Mask:

 

When I was in high school, one of the Biology classes did a big project about how humans deal with grief, which sparked my interest in the topic. They covered the Kübler-Ross stages of grief, but also talked about something called "The Loop".

 

 

 

"The Loop", besides being the neighborhood in Chicago I live in, is how people often deal with grief. You see, grief isn't a linear journey; we constantly cycle back though the different stages, sometimes ceaselessly.  I think this is represented in the 3 day mechanic in Majora's Mask. People cycle through the stages of grief over ad over again until they come to terms with the death they experienced.  Also, the "Grief Wheel" also bears an uncanny likeness to something else in Majora's Mask...

 

Clocks are an ever apparent symbol in Majora's Mask

The themes of time and grief in Majora's Mask seem to compliment each other. It takes time to get over death, but also time is feared, due to the inevitability of death. Yet, clocks are everywhere in Majora's Mask, a constant reminder that time is always running out. The game revolves around themes of grief and time, so to me it makes sense for the game's lead protagonist to be involved in those themes as well. Not to mention that Majora's Mask can be extremely creepy and unsettling, and not even just to children; this game gave me the heebie-jeebies on more than one occasion. The apocalyptic setting and the macabre imagery make me believe that this game is trying to make a point; the main character is going though something truly terrifying and pivotal.

 

The transformation cutscenes are some of the most terrifying and unsettling elements in the game

A lot of the characters in Majora's Mask are quite creepy as well, and there's one in particular I'd like to talk about.

 

My theory about the Happy Mask Salesman's character:


Before I say anything else, let me say that the Happy Mask Salesman is probably one of my favorite video game characters of all time, if not my absolute favorite. He has this air of mystery and hilarity about him. He's quirky, serious, foreboding, and not to mention terrifying all at the same time.  He's a pivotal character in the game, and the first character Link comes into contact with when he enters Termina.

 

The very first thing the Happy Mask Salesman says to you, and probably the most famous line in the game

 

The Happy Mask Salesman plays a very important role in the game. He turns Link back into a human  and gives him the most important tool that he will use in his journey through Termina— the Song of Healing. He tasks Link with getting Majora's Mask back from Skull Kid, so you could say that he really pushes him to conquer his death, or so I theorize.

 

He may be a bit spazzy, but the Happy Mask Salesman has a lot of power

Since the HMS pushes Link to defeat Skull Kid, I think that he represents a god-like figure, at least in Termina. Since I also theorize that Majora's Mask itself represents death, it would make sense for a god-like figure to want such power back—because only he as a deity should be able to give out death, so to speak. It's like he's trying to write the wrong that Majora's Mask (death) placed upon Link since his death in the woods was so untimely.

The HMS doesn't behave like a normal character. His animations are purposely spazzy (for lack of a better word) and at the end of the game, after getting back Majora's Mask, he just disappears into thin air. He also talks in parables, much like you would expect of a god-like figure. He also makes a giant organ appear out of nowhere, which is strange to say the least.

 

This isn't Animal Crossing; you can't just pull pianos out of your pocket!

He says before this "However, a parting need not last forever", which goes along with the fact that even though death separates us from our loved ones, they still exist in our hearts and minds.

The HMS is so prevalent in the game that it leads me to believe that the developers wanted him to seem like he was larger than life, and maybe even god-like. He's in the opening cut scene for the game, and you hear his creepy laugher and his famous phrase, "You've met with a terrible fate, haven't you?" every time Link fails to save Termina. He knows that Link failed, and he in turn wants Link to know that, much like gods want those who worship them to work towards being a better person and to realize their true potential.

 

The Happy Mask Salesman is he appears in the opening cutscene of Majora's Mask

 

According to Didyouknowgamimg.com, the Happy Mask Salesman is based off of Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of the Legend of Zelda series. Miyamoto is highly regarded in the gaming community, god-like almost, so I think the same can be assumed about the HMS. Sure, it may be a bit of a stretch, but it's an interesting notion nonetheless.

 

 

Remember the moon children we talked about earlier? They kind of look like the Happy Mask Salesman, don't they? It would make sense considering their interest in masks. Also, many theorize (including myself) that the Happy Mask Salesman and these children are a part of the tribe that sealed  the evil of Majora's Mask away. They would have to be pretty powerful and god-like to be able to seal away such a great evil.

 

The Happy Mask Salesman: Wise, quirky, helpful, god-like, and terrifying.

 

In closing:


Majora's Mask is easily my favorite game of all time. So much of the game is left unexplained, leaving the player to make up their own explanations. The themes of loss and grief speak to those who have experienced those feelings in real life, such as myself. All of the things I have described in this post are how I in particular interpret the game. I have heard many other theories about how this game mirrors African mythology, and other mythological stories from around the world. So much of Majora's Mask is open to interpretation, much like many great novels and works of art are as well. To me, Majora's Mask is the perfect case for why video games should be considered art— they speak to us and help us cope with the harsh reality of daily life, just like many novels, films, or paintings can. Thanks so much for taking the time to read my theories about this masterpiece of a game! Believe it or not, I have one more post planned about Majora's Mask for you guys. In the meantime, what do you think the story in Majora's Mask means? Do you believe Link is dead? Why or why not? Like I said, this game is open to so much interpretation, so I'd love to hear your take on it!

 

If you're intertested in other things I've written about Majora's Mask, be sure to check out my top 5 hopes for Majora's Mask 3D, the Majora's Mask easter egg in A Link Between Worlds, and the Star Fox easter egg in Majora's Mask

 









Majora's Mask 3D is coming in 2015!

Hello everyone! I thought I'd start out the new year with a blog post about a game that's all about new beginnings, and that game is The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. But first, I'd like to take a moment to thank everyone who has helped make this blog grow; you know who you are! 2014 was a great year for me; I jumped back into the world of gaming by starting this blog, and I'm constantly overwhelmed and touched by the support and kindness I receive from the gaming community. It's because of you guys I decided to start this blog, and the reason I want to continue making content about games. I can't wait to see how this blog will grow in the coming years, and here's to a great 2014! Again, thank you so much; I can't say it enough.

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This post is the first of three posts I will be writing about the masterpiece that is The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. I'm overjoyed to say that we will indeed be getting a Majora's Mask remake in 2015. It's ironic to me that my first post of this year is about a game that was the topic of my very first post ever, which was speculating about whether to not we'd see a remake on the 3DS. I always knew in my heart that we'd eventually see a remake of the well loved, black sheep of the Zelda franchise; we just had to have faith it would happen...

 

Just have faith...

Of course, with every remake, there are changes to be made. We haven't gotten much word yet about how this remake will be different from the original game, so I thought I'd share my thoughts about what I hope to see in Majora's Mask 3D. Here are the 5 things I'd like to see implemented in the remake (beware of mild spoilers about the original game):

 

#1. Better controls/camera

Honestly, the things I struggled the most with in Majora's Mask were the controls and the camera—not the three day cycle or the toughness of the temples. Controlling the camera with the c-stick was a pain, especially with aiming. The camera would fall as soon as you moved an inch, and you would end up aiming wrongly or just miss entirely. The most frustrating experience I had in the game was in the first temple. Towards the end, you have to shoot an arrow through fire in order to light a beacon in a dark corner on the other side of the room, all while you're rotating on a moving pillar. It was hell. Pure hell. You have to be so precise, and I feel like the controls barely allow you to do that. Swimming in the game is so tough because to swim up, you have to move the stick down, and vice versa. I often found myself flopping and bouncing against the bottom of the ocean because the Zora form was a nightmare to control. There's one particular boss fight where the swimming controls and the camera are detrimental; I'm pretty sure veteran Majora's Mask players know what I'm talking about. Luckily, it seems as if we will indeed get better controls in the remake, seeing as Ocarina of Time 3D got improved controls and camera movement.

 

#2. More apparent objectives/straightforward temples

It's a well known fact that Majora's Mask is a lot like piecing together a complex puzzle. Pieces and parts of different storylines intertwine, and it is not made entirely apparent why or how—that's up to you to figure out. That's all well and good, being as that is probably my favorite aspect of the game, but there's an area of the game where it's barely apparent as to what you're supposed to do next. In the last area of the game, Ikana Valley, you're supposed to acquire the Mirror Shield (probably my favorite item in the game) in order to tackle the last temple. In order to do that, you must do an obligatory Bottom-Of-The-Well dungeon, but you need the following items:

 

* 5 Magic Beans

* 10 Deku Nuts

* 10 Bombs

* Fish

* Milk

 

In no way is it apparent that you need these things. If you go into the well without these items, you can't get the shield. So, you have to waste time (a precious commodity in Majora's Mask) to backtrack to get everything you need. I don't want a game to hold my hand, but when you have to be subjected to useless backtracking, I'd prefer a little warning to avoid it. Not to mention that those items are completely random quantities that make hardly any sense

Again, before you can complete the last temple, you need to learn a new song. In order to learn said song, you have to go through Ikana Castle, but you have to buy items in order to do so. You need a powder keg, which you have to do a side quest in order to buy, so you end up backtracking a lot. Also, the game doesn't let you know that you need to even go through the castle or even how to do so in the first place. There was hardly any direction during this last part of the game. Again, I don't need my hand held, but there needs to be direction in a game in order to move things forward. I don't usually use hints or walkthroughs when playing Zelda games because I prefer to figure things out myself. But with this particular area, I had to use a walkthrough. It was the only area in the game I couldn't figure out. So as a result, I'd like the remake to have more apparent (but not easier) objectives. 

On a slightly different note, I'd like it if the the temples were a bit more straightforward and forgiving. In almost every temple, if you make a small mistake, you lose progress. For example, in the cylindrical shaped Snowhead temple, if you fall, you have to backtrack and activate switches and pretty much jump though a bunch of hoops to get back to the top. In the Great Bay temple, the awful swimming controls can cause you to go in the wrong direction, which can cost you time since you have to turn around and go back. In the Ocarina of Time remake, Nintendo corrected a lot of the annoyances in the temples that were present in the original games, so I hope they'll do the same with Majora's Mask. I like how in Skyward Sword, once you reach a new part of an area or temple, you can open up a shortcut that can save you time if you need to leave and come back later. I think having shortcuts in the temples in Majora's Mask would make them a whole lot more enjoyable.  

Mirror Shield, I love you, but you're such a major pain in the ass

#3. Good use of the touch screen

In both Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask, scrolling through menus to change and equip items can be a major pain, and can waste a lot of time. In Ocarina of Time 3D, they made the bottom screen of the 3DS the items menu, making it super easy to switch items. I hope they do the same for Majora's Mask 3D. I can see it now—being able to put on different masks with just a simple tap of the stylus...*sigh* I can't wait. 

#4. Loyalty to the original game while still improving upon it

Eiji Aonuma, the director of many of the Zelda games has said that they are making Majora's Mask 3D easier while still retaining its difficulty. While that is in a nutshell everything I want for this remake, I really hope they keep the complexity of the game intact. To me, asking for such a complex game to be simplified is like a double edged sword. Let me put it this way: there are points in the game where the complexity really helps the overall experience (like the storytelling), and there's places where it hinders it (no clear direction about what to do next in the last area of the game). I hope they improve upon the shortcomings while not harming what was good about the complexity in the original game. 

I also hope they improve upon a lot of the graphical parts of the game as well. For an N64 game, Majora's Mask looks pretty darn good, but there are parts where it's too dark, and the graphics can get grainy, making it hard to see and make things out. I'm sure they will improve upon this, but I hope they keep a lot of the original charm of the game too. Thanks to the ExpansionPak, Majora's Mask featured greater detail than its older brother, Ocarina of Time. I hope in the remake, they will keep all those little details, but still improve upon them. I'm also looking forward to a fleshed out soundtrack, which I'm sure won't disappoint.

 

The graphics on the 3DS look clearer and sharper—a welcome change!

 

#6. The collector's edition to be released in the U.S.

This is more of a personal preference, but it has been confirmed that Europe is getting a collector's edition of Majora's Mask 3D. Majora's Mask is my favorite Zelda game, if not my favorite game ever, so I'd like to have all of the goodies of the collectors edition. I'd also like to be able to purchase both Majora's Mask and Ocarina of Time 3D together in some sort of pack. I've played and completed OOT 3D, but I don't actually own it, so it'd be nice to have both. Two birds with one stone, if you will.

 

Ugh, Nintendo, I want all the things!

So there you have it. There are all my hopes and dreams for the remake of one of my favorite games. Hopefully, 2015 will bring lots of gaming goodness besides Majora's Mask 3D, but I hope this remake will be as awesome as I think it'll be. I'd love to hear what you all think of the remake so far, so feel free to leave a comment. Also, be on the lookout for two more posts regarding this incredible game here in the coming weeks.

 

I hope you all have a very happy new year as well!

 

 








 

Well, the time has finally come. We finally got the remakes we were wishing for in the form of Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. But, do they do their job as being faithful remakes with enough new content to justify their existence? Of course, beware of spoilers if you haven't finished the game yet!

Remakes often seem to include a lot of fan service, and boy, that still holds true in the case of Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. It seems as if Game Freak knew how badly fans of the original Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald games wanted to revisit Hoenn in glorious 3D—so they added a lot of little nods to the original games that older fans of the series will recognize. For starters, the opening of the game is almost an exact replica of the opening of the original R/S/E games with the camera focusing on water droplets falling into a small pond with Latias or Latios (depending on your version) appearing to fly towards a mountain in the distance. You'll then see Brendan (the male character of the series, it's never May for some reason) ride his bike to chase after Latios or Latias, and thus begins your adventure into Omega Ruby or Alpha Sapphire. I happened to purchase Alpha Sapphire because I played Sapphire back when I was a kid. Also, in my humble opinion, I think that Sapphire is the better version of the two because I think the focus on water makes more sense with how much water is present in Hoenn.

 

Ah, just like old times... 

The game starts out with you being in a moving van like last time, playing what seems to be either Sapphire or Ruby, which is a really nice touch!

Alpha Sapphire starts out just like any other Pokémon game. You are either or boy or a girl starting out on their Pokémon journey for the fist time. In the case of Alpha Sapphire, however, your family just moved to Hoenn from the Johto region so your father could become the Petalburg Gym's new leader. Your "rival" is Professor Birch's kid (either Brendan or May), and the two of you set out on your Pokémon journey together, but not before you save Professor Birch from a ravenous Poochyena and receive your starter Pokémon.

Professor Birch is pretty irresponsible for a Pokémon Professor....

From there, you continue on with your journey to become the Champion of Hoenn by collecting all eight gym badges, as per usual for every Pokémon game. But, at the same time, a criminal organization named Team Aqua is planning to expand the sea by awakening the ancient and power legendary Pokémon Kyogre. Except this time there's a twist. In Alpha Sapphire, Kyogre can take advantage of Primal Reversion which allows Kyogre to return to its Primal form, granting it more power. When it completes Primal Reversion, it gains access to the ability Primordial Sea, which renders Fire type moves useless, as well as all other effects of the weather. Also, can we talk about Kyogre and Groudon's theme song really quick? It's amazing. It has snippets of the original theme from Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald in it which was really endearing to hear again.

 

Fear the power of Primal Kyogre!

The enemy teams got a major visual overhaul in these remakes and I must say, they look even cooler than before, if that was even possible.

 

 

These guys look cooler than ever

 

When the enemy teams aren't trying to destroy it, Hoenn looks gorgeous with its new 3DS graphical overhaul. The development team stayed really true to the colors present in the original games, so it still somehow looks like the same region, except with greater detail. You'll often see Pokémon hanging out in their natural habitats. It's really common to se Beautifly floating in the wind, Wingull chilling out on the beach, and Relicanth swimming in the depths. A new feature was added to Alpha Sapphire that helps you interact with these Pokémon called the DexNav. It allows you find better Pokémon the more you encounter them. You'll often see little bits of the Pokémon sticking up out of the tall grass such as Pikachu's tail or Ralts' head.

 

 

 

 

 

You then can sneak up on the Pokémon and fight them. I think the DexNav is so neat because it adds another dimension to catching Pokémon. The DexNav keeps track to how many Pokémon you've caught on a route, and how much more you have left to go. The more you encounter a Pokémon, the more likely you are to find one with certain egg moves, natures, and stats, making this feature really useful to breeders like me. I found this new mechanic to be super addicting and rewarding. The DexNav makes it easy to chain for shiny Pokémon as well, considering that it makes it possible to encounter the same Pokémon over and over again. Plus it's really neat that Game Freak made the DexNav screen match whatever route you're on with how it looked in the original Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald games; it's a really nice touch.

 

It's the little details that have the biggest impact!

Another feature that is new to the remakes is soaring. After beating Wattson, the player joins Steven Stone to save Latias from Team Aqua. You fly on Latios to Southern Island and save her from the team's evil clutches. After laying down some serious smack on Team Aqua, Latias joins your party and Steven gives you the Mega Bracelet. After saving the world from Kyogre's wrath, you gain the ability to soar on the back of Mega Latias.

 

There's nothing quite like dominating the sky on a Pokémon that looks like a jet plane

The feature pretty much renders the HM Fly useless. It's pretty exhilarating to soar around Hoenn and be able to land wherever you want, and the music that plays is pretty fantastic as well.  After Steven gives you the Eon Flute, you can summon Latias even if she's not in your party, so this feature is super useful and super fun. Soaring also gives you the ability to visit Mirage Spots. Legendary Pokémon appear in these Mirage Spots randomly, so it gives you the chance to catch them if you missed them in previous games, or if you're just trying to complete the Pokédex, so be sure to buy lots of Pokéballs!

 

I've come to the conclusion that Lord of the Rings references in Pokémon are the best

 

Many features returned from the original games as well. Contests have made a comeback, except this time they are called "Contest Spectaculars" and are more awesome than ever. The theme that played in the contest halls sounds like it belongs in a club (in a good way) and your character can now dress up for contests. After winning your first contest, you receive a Cosplay Pikachu which can wear different outfits depending on what contest moves it knows. One thing about the contests that disappoints me is that your Pokémon doesn't receive a ribbon for each contest it wins. Instead, it gets a ribbon when it wins the Master rank contest. Also, you can participate in every rank of contest at any Contest Hall which I think takes the adventure out of doing each rank of contest. I suppose this was done to eliminate backtracking, but I think it takes some of the fun out of winning each rank. That being said, contests are still fun nonetheless and can be surprisingly challenging!

 

Ever wanted to put Pikachu in a dress? Well, now you can!

 

 

Can't put Brendan in a dress though. Also, where is May's nose?

 

Another returning feature are the Secret Bases. Like contests, they have been revamped for the remakes. You can receive the secret bases of people you have streetpassed or you can scan QR codes to receive the Secret Bases of anyone you wish. You can turn your Secret Bases into your own personal gym, and you can recruit other players to be a member of your "Secret Team" which you get to name. They will stay in your base and fight challengers that come along. You can go out and scour the lands to find other players' bases in order to collect flags from them to earn more decorations for your base. There are many unique decorations to deck out your base with, and many different locations to choose from when deciding where you want to put your Secret Base. For now, mine is on Route 119 under the bridge by the waterfall. Secret Bases were one of my favorite features from the original games, so I'm glad they've made a triumphant return in the remakes.

 

 

 

So, once you've beaten all eight gyms and defeated the Elite Four, you'll gain access to the post game event known as the Delta Episode. In the Delta Episode, a 6-mile-wide meteor is barreling towards Hoenn and for some reason, it's up to a preteen to save the world, except a mysterious figure known as Zinnia keeps getting in your way. She's been stealing everyone's keystones in order to summon the great savior of Hoenn, Rayquaza. Rather than follow the scientists of Hoenn's plans to send the meteor into a black hole and warp it somewhere else, she will ask Rayquaza to save Hoenn just like it had done in the past. She argues that they could possibly be destroying another world by sending the meteor somewhere else, suggesting that the game takes place in a separate universe than the original games due to the events that took place in Kalos with AZ and the ultimate weapon (or so people speculate). Zinnia manages to successfully summon Rayquaza, and discovers that it won't mega evolve even though she stole a lot of key stones in order to harness its power. The meteorite that you stole back from Team Aqua earlier in the game begins to glow in your bag, and Rayquaza then ingests it and gains the power to Mega Evolve. Rayquaza then chooses you to capture it, and then Zinnia teaches it a  move only it can learn: Dragon Ascent. You then climb onto Rayquaza's back and head into space to destroy the meteor. Upon doing so, a strange being emerges from the rubble of the destroyed meteor and you enter into what I think is the hardest part of the game.

 

 

 

 That's right! You face off against Deoxys in space! For the first time ever, Game Freak has made an event legendary catchable. For me, catching Deoxys was really challenging. In fact, I knocked it out three or four times before I managed to catch it. But, I really didn't mind because I enjoyed every moment of it. The Delta Episode is probably the most epic thing I've ever witnessed happening in a Pokémon game. Sure, it adds up to about an hour of gameplay, but it's still super exciting. Zinnia is arguably one of the most interesting characters in the Pokémon universe, and I think this whole series of events merits making Brendan and May more epic than Red. I mean, not only did they thwart the plans of Team Aqua and Magma, saving Hoenn in the process, but they go around and save Hoenn again by riding a dragon into space and catching a Pokémon that lives inside the very thing that would bring destruction to a whole region! That's pretty awesome, if you ask me.

 

Move over Red, we have a couple of badasses on our hands.

 

I really, really enjoyed Alpha Sapphire. Game Freak stayed really true to the concept of the original games while at the same time making the remakes feel really fresh and new. And the music, oh my gosh the music! The music is incredible, and really highlights the spirit of the games well, both old and new. It really made the game feel epic especially in key fights throughout the game like the ones with Kyogre, Archie, The Elite Four, and Zinnia. That being said, Alpha Sapphire is the most epic Pokémon game I've ever played in terms of story, environment, and characters. There are so many awesome locations in Hoenn such as Meteor Falls, Sootopolis City, and Sea Mauville, to name a few. There is so much to explore and discover in Hoenn, and there's so many different ways to do it. You can ride two different kinds of bikes, soar, dive, and surf. The water routes are some of my favorite places in Hoenn, to be honest. I don't think they're nearly as bad as everyone says they are. In total, I think you could get across them in 15 minutes or less, and not to mention that if you surf on a Sharpedo, you can go even faster. I also encountered far fewer Pokémon along the water routes this time around without even using any Repels.

Overall, Game Freak added a few cool features to Alpha Sapphire that really made the game for me. However, I don't think they added enough new content to really make this remake stand out. When Heart Gold and Soul Silver came out, they were the most advanced Pokémon games to date because they improved on many aspects of Diamond and Pearl, so their remakes were really justified, and stood out beyond their status as remakes. While I think the Hoenn remakes are indeed justified, I just wish Game Freak would have added more new features rather than copy paste some features over from X and Y like the Battle Maison. In the post game area of Alpha Sapphire, the Battle Resort, they tease the possibility of a Battle Frontier, but give us a recycled version of the Battle Maison instead. I wish Game Freak would have spent more time on the game and included the Battle Frontier to begin with. Now I'm left wondering if they'll introduce it as DLC or include it in a later game. They didn't tie up some loose ends regarding some plot elements of the game, so that leads me to believe that they'll introduce an Emerald remake, but that remains to be seen.

Oh Game Freak, you're such a tease

Another thing that kind of disappointed me was the fact that character customization is absent from Hoenn. Although I can understand why they didn't include it in Alpha Sapphire because Brendan and May are established characters, it seems as if character customization should be a standard for the series since it was such a success in X and Y.

Also, this game is really stinking easy. The exp share, as wonderful as it is, makes the game a cakewalk. So much so, that it almost seems broken in my eyes. While this is a mechanic that can be turned off, I think it just makes more sense to use it. I think they should adjust it so your Pokémon gain fewer experience points so that they aren't always so grossly over leveled. Although I must say that the Elite Four in Alpha Sapphire are at least a little more challenging than they were in X and Y, but only slightly. All in all, Alpha Sapphire is a gorgeous game oozing with charm and nostalgia that is a delight for Pokémon fans both young and old. 

And so, allow me to introduce my new rating system. I want to use a grading system, much akin to the one used in high school and college, since I'm more of a letters and words person rather than a numbers person:

 

A+ 

A- 

B+ 

B- 

C+ 

C- 

D+ 

D- 

F  

Pretty much, "A" ratings are for great games that are pretty close to perfect, but have maybe a few flaws here and there. "B" ratings are for good games that have room for a little improvement. "C" ratings are for games that are just decent with many things that could be improved, and for games that aren't either good or bad. "D" ratings are for games that are passable, or just barely such. And "F" ratings are for awful games, naturally. So, I would give Pokémon Alpha Sapphire version an A- rating. I loved the visuals, music, story, and gameplay, but it gets a "-" for lacking a few new features. 

 

Thanks for reading my review of Alpha Sapphire! What did you all think of the remakes? 









 

Generation 3 is known as the "advanced" generation. However, it is probably more widely known as the "controversial" generation.

Generation 3 arrived in a very transitional time for the Pokémon franchise. "Pokémania" or the intense obsession and popularity of the Pokémon franchise that was brought about by the success of the first 2 generations had come to an abrupt end when the generation 3 games were released. The kids who had played the first two generations were growing up and out of Pokemon, while the new fanbase that was first introduced to the Pokémon franchise through Gen 3 was young and undefined. Also contributing to this transitional time was the fact that Game Freak (the developers of Pokémon) had decided to take the franchise in a new direction in order to give it a fresh twist.

You see, the Pokémon franchise was supposed to come to an end with the release of the Gen 2 games.  However, considering that the fanbase for the games was so strong, Game Freak decided to push on with the series because the demand was so high.

As a result, they made a lot of changes to many of the game's mechanics, introduced a brand new region, Hoenn, on a more technologically advanced system, and created 134 new Pokémon for trainers to catch and enjoy.

 

Older Pokémon fans were disappointed that Hoenn held very few familiar faces

Unfortunately, many fans of the series didn't respond well to the new changes. Firstly, the games weren't backwards compatible (I'll explain why this was later), meaning that players who had trained teams of Pokémon they had grown attached to couldn't trade them over from Gens 1 and 2 into the new games. Sure, there were 134 new Pokémon to catch and train in Hoenn, but many players felt too unfamiliar with these new creatures and the new region since many of the Pokémon available in Kanto and Johto were absent from Hoenn. Not to mention that in the Gen 2 games, the player could revisit Kanto, while in the Gen 3 games, the player was stuck in Hoenn. In a nutshell, the Gen 3 games really alienated older fans of the series, while at the same time creating a brand new and innovative generation of Pokémon for new fans.

That's where I come in.

I fell into the "young and undefined" category of Pokémon fans that existed at the time that Ruby and Sapphire were released. Sapphire was the first Pokémon game I tackled and completed on my own, and I remember playing it over and over again and never tiring of it. So, when I say that Gen 3 is my favorite generation of Pokémon, maybe it is because I'm a little biased, but looking back at Gen 3 after the newer generations have come out since then, I can confidently say that in my opinion, many aspects of the Gen 3 games are superior to its successors.

  Firstly, so many new features were added in Gen 3 that the games that came before them had become obsolete, hence why they weren't backwards compatible. For instance, the developers of the game re-did the individual values system (IVs), and increased each potential number of IVs for a Pokémon from 15 to 31, meaning that any Pokémon coming from Kanto or Johto wouldn't be able to compete with the new Pokémon with 31 IVs.  They also added abilities, which forever changed the way Pokémon battle. Another new battle mechanic that was added were double battles. These double battles added a new dimension and strategy to battling Pokémon considering that two Pokémon are sent out at once. Other features such as secret bases, the Battle Frontier, and contests also gave trainers a lot to do besides beat the standard eight gyms and challenge the Elite Four. And on top of all that, the environment all this took place in was absolutely breathtaking.

 

Double battles added a new level of complexity to Pokémon 

Hoenn is absolutely gorgeous. The GameBoy Advance is a 32-bit system, meaning that the graphics got a major upgrade from their 8-bit counterparts on the GameBoy. The environments became more diverse and alive. The water sparkled and churned, footprints were pressed into the sand, flowers blew in the wind, ash drifted down lazily from the sky, rain drizzled to the earth below, and players could see themselves mirrored in puddles on the ground. Hoenn is a region that focuses on nature, and as a result, so many different aspects of nature are represented in the game. Hoenn has everything: deserts, rainforests, beaches, vast oceans (7.8, too much water), volcanoes, mountains, caves, and underwater caverns. The player has so many options when exploring the region of Hoenn. There are two different types of bikes to choose from, and you were able to dive underwater for the first time. I love Hoenn because I get to explore so many vast landscapes all within one region. As the story progresses, the landscapes become more diverse, which really makes the player feel like they're on an epic quest. So many locations in Hoenn are really unique as well. There's the breathtaking Meteor Falls with its sparkling cascades of water, sleepy Dewford Town on the beach, eerie and somber Mt, Pyre, the water-borne Pacifidlog Town with its floating houses, and the decrepit abandoned ship, to name a few. There's so much to see and explore in Hoenn, and it's all accompanied by a compelling story.

 

There is much adventure to be had in Hoenn!

 

In my opinion, the Gen 3 games have the best story of any Pokémon game. For starters, the villain teams aren't goofy, Slowpoke tail-eating loons anymore. Team Aqua and Team Magma are environmental extremists whose plans actually succeed. They awaken Groudon and Kyogre, and the two proceed to either drown or dry up everyone to death in order to make the world more habitable for Pokémon. Granted, since they are the antogonists, their plans get foiled by a preteen, but all the same their environmental message got across clearly. I always thought it was so compelling and dark to be immersed in seemingly eternal rain after the mighty Kyogre was awakened. When I was a kid, Kyogre always seemed so maleficent to me because of its raw and ancient power. I think the emphasis the story puts on the Legendary Pokémon's power makes the story deeper. Not to mention that the designs of these teams are really awesome. I mean, come on! Team Aqua are a bunch of pirates! It doesn't get much cooler than that.

 

Where do I sign up to be a member?

I love a lot of the little story elements that Gen 3 introduced as well. For the first time, the playable character had two parents, with the usually absent father being a gym leader. Being able to battle and best your own father was always a touching moment in the game for me. But, for me, the icing on the cake is how great the music is.

The fantastic music makes the journey you are on feel as if it has a purpose. For the first time in the series, the music didn't consist of simple bleeps and bloops. The GBA's advanced sound allowed there to be sweeping melodies with multiple instruments, including the trumpets Hoenn is so famous for.

I love Gen 3 because of its controversies, the beautiful and diverse region of Hoenn, the gorgeous music, and the compelling story. But, I completely understand why people love to hate Gen 3.

Even though Gen 3 is my favorite generation, it's not perfect. The games (at least the first two) have a few short comings including there not being animated sprites, or as someone in the comments pointed out, day and night cycles are absent as well. I do have to admit that I don't care for many of the Hoenn Pokémon like Volbeat/Illumise, and Makuhita/Hariyama among others, so I understand when people say that the Gen 3 designs are some of their least favorites. But at the same time, my top three favorite Pokémon are from Hoenn. As a whole, I feel like Gen 3 consists of a lot of give and take, so it's not going to be everyone's cup of tea. But, if you happened to skip Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald when they came out, or if you didn't care for them when you first played them, I highly recommend you go back and give the originals or their new remakes a shot. Speaking of the remakes, I will be doing a review of Alpha Sapphire here in the coming week so stay tuned! Also, I'd love to hear about why you loved or hated Hoenn, and all about your favorite generation of Pokémon!

I'll see you all in Hoenn very soon!