Link’s time travel in Majora’s mask hides a big video game problem


Majora’s Mask’s time travel mechanic adds depth to Zelda’s formula, and inadvertently caused static, problematic video game NPCs to become immersive.

Immersion is one of the most integral aspects of video games, but even the most immersive games are simply programs with limitations. No matter how many lines of dialogue, almost all video game NPCs have a finite number of things to say and activities to enjoy. The variety and quality of NPC has improved with industry technology, but The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask overcame this early game limitation. Through its distinctive and complex three-day time travel cycle, majora mask fixed one of the inherent problems with the game.

Plus The legend of Zelda titles aren’t the most challenging or intense games ever made. They are usually lighthearted and whimsical adventures, with epic undertones scattered throughout. Nevertheless, majora mask is one of the most unique games in the series. It has a time limit of three days that is constantly reduced, and the moon will collapse if the player allows it to reach zero. The problem is, players can reset this time limit by going back to the beginning of the loop, which resets all quest and dungeon progress.

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majora mask It is also one of the most intensive side quest entries in the franchise. This means that there are many NPCs to talk to, all of whom have their own schedules to follow during each cycle. To complete the game’s missions, players must figure out who to help, when to help them, and how to help them. However, this is pretty typical for video games, especially nowadays, what about majora maskDo the NPCs make it such an immersive experience, compared to other games?

How time travel makes Majora’s mask more immersive

NPC in majora mask act exactly as they do on others Zelda games. They follow their schedules for the day and repeat the same dialogues each time they are spoken to. majora mask It is not more immersive because it changed the way NPCs work; rather, it is because the repeating cycle of time provides context for why they always repeat the same actions. In games like Ocarina of timeFor example, it doesn’t make sense for characters to stay in exactly the same corner for eternity, spitting out the same text when spoken to. In majora mask, NPCs do this because the player literally went back in time before they originally said and did those things.

majora maskTime travel also provides context for typical video game failed states. It’s possible to completely screw up a mission and see what happens if Link fails, but players can reset the three-day cycle and try again with that knowledge. Characters even overlap across multiple missions, making Termina’s population feel interconnected and community-centered. Sakon robs the bomb merchant, but he is also an integral part of Anju and Kafei’s search, as he stole Kafei’s wedding mask.

The three-day cycle is also inherently immersive, putting pressure on both Link and the player. Nothing is more stressful than fighting the boss of a dungeon when the timer reaches the last day. In this regard, Link and the player are on the same page, as he is probably so stressed by the little time left. Still, the timer’s biggest achievement is how effectively it hides the limited capabilities of the game’s NPCs. Tingle is fun and adorable, and the context of Termina’s timed cycle is part of what brings her character to life. Few other games provide such a compelling explanation for why NPCs constantly repeat the same actions, and it’s yet another reason. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask it is still distinguished today.

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