Maljora’s Mask, world building and unease

Having just finished work on my photos i thought I would boldy go and make another post.

Brief bit of context for those who aren’t familiar with gaming between 1998 and 2001. In 1998 The legend of Zelda: Ocarina of time (OoT) came out, and grossed higher than any Hollywood film of that summer period or even that year. While other games had been blockbusters over time, OoT was the first time gaming had ever had that kind of day one mass sales.

Selling millions of copies, being awarded perfect scores in many magazines and websites, even Gamespot (who have only ever awarded 10/10 to 10 or so games in their long history) and the game is still fondly remembered today. With a remake on the 3DS coming out in only a few months.

Naturally, something this popular was going to get a sequel, while the series had been going strong since 1986, this was the first time it became truly mainstream. We got a very odd sequel that defied a lot of expectations called The Legend of Zelda: Maljora’s Mask (MM). MM on first glance, a betrayal to the first and a cheap cash grab. Appearing to reuse assets wherever possible, but also changing a lot of what made OoT so unique for many people.

So, how is MM different? Well, basically in every non technical way it’s a different game. What do I mean by that? Well the way you interact with MM and OoT is the same, the way it plays, how things work mostly, graphics are the same and so on.

But the real differences come into play when you look at the structure of the game. MM is essentially about subverting everything you know and expect, mostly. Time is now limited, and must be reset along with certain parts of your progress. Quests are more about helping in smaller ways a lot, rather than single epic quests. Characters are all based on OoT characters, but behave differently, oddly, some with similar roles, some with opposite roles, be it a reprise of a thief, a minor character being a boss or a boss turning into a minor character. It’s these constant minor differences between the first game, along with the looming presence of possible failure, along with a more general dark and twisted tone and you have a game that unsettles both with it’s content, but with it’s context too.

To those that haven’t played OoT how well Maljora’s mask can unsettle is questionable, and alot of makes MM one of the most fascinating zelda games might be lost, but it unsettles in the most amazing way, defying what you know slightly.


About link6616

I am an Assistant Language teacher on the JET Program living in Shikoku Japan. I love games, photography, Japan and musicals!
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