The Majora’s Mask Curse or Why Video Games Are Trying to Drive Me Insane

Miyamoto’s Law: No matter what Zelda game you play, if there’s a water temple dungeon in it, it’s going to suck ass.

This is the story of one such temple.

Now, I have to say something before I tell you about my curse. See, unlike many Zelda fans, I actually really enjoy Majora’s Mask. In fact, I’d go so far as to say I like it better than Ocarina of Time. MM is darker, more difficult, and ultimately more… haunting, I suppose. The characters and places stick with me after I set down the controller, unlike those in OoT.

Anju and Kafei, I’m looking at you.

Pervading MM is this overwhelming air of hopelessness and tragedy. As you relive the same three days over and over, you get to know people in all corners of Termina (yes, MM is not set in Hyrule, something else many hardcore fans hate but that I love, because it makes the Zelda-universe that much larger). And, while you might help one or two of these people out each time, when you reset the clock and go off on a new 3-day venture, you know those people are now living out those days without your help. And some pretty awful shit is happening to them.

Oh, and the fucking moon is falling into the Earth. So, you know, the whole issue of impending armageddon is weighing on you the entire time you play…

Anyway, I love the game. And I finally purchased it for the Wii so that I could play it through again (I started it on an emulator a few months back, but it had some serious flaws that literally prevented me from completing the last dungeon).

So today, being a day off for me, I decided to relax and enjoy the game (and also do something that didn’t require me to talk, because my throat is all fucked up right now and I’m kind of losing my voice… which has never happened to me before and is mostly just amusing to me). Which I was doing. Admirably. Powering through the temples, collecting rupees.

Life was good.

Then, I get to the water temple.


When I first bought MM, I was in middle school. I remember coming home and literally elbowing my brother off the bar stool in the kitchen so that I could set up the N64 in there to play (this was before I had a television in my room). I was on the third temple and needed to beat it that night.

My brother skulked off to start his homework, while I froze waterfalls and changed the pipe flows to suit my needs. After puzzling the whole temple out (I don’t use strategy guides… sorry) and beating the ridiculously difficult final boss, I happily started heading for the Great Fairy’s lair to drop off the Stray Fairies I’d picked up in the temple.

At that moment, my brother walks through the kitchen. Now, the 64 was attached to the TV, but it was plugged in across the dining room. Which means there was a cord stretching across the floor. The same cord that Chris, naturally, tripped over.

The television screen went black.


I was so upset. All my progress… just… gone. See, unlike in OoT (where you could technically save at any time you wanted, just by accessing the Start screen), there are only two ways to save in MM. One is the Owl Statues, but they are few and very far between. The better way is to finish up whatever you are doing on that particular three-day block, then play the Song of Time and time travel back to the beginning of those three days again. Of course, most dungeons have some chain events attached to them, so you need to finish the chain events during the same three-day block you finish the dungeon, because when you go back, the dungeon will be reset and you can’t finish the chain events without defeating that dungeon all over again.

It sounds irritating (and for many, it is), but I never had much of a problem with it. Just think of it as a game with really infrequent save points.

However, in this case, it was godawful. Because I had just spent so long finishing a dungeon and doing those chain quests… and I had lost all of that block of progress.

I had to do the whole thing again. It was like torture.

*end flashback*

So, as I battle my way through the water temple today, I think about how much less tedious it is than the one in OoT. The sink/swim problem of the iron boots was pretty much fixed with the Zora mask. And, while you’re doing a lot of switch pulling to get the water flowing through all the correct pipes, it doesn’t feel as irritating as raising and lowering the OoT water level.

Anyway, I face down Gyorg (I hate that fish). I head out to the Great Fairy’s fountain. I get the upgrade. I whip out my ocarina. I start playing the Song of Time, and…


For three seconds, all the power in the house flicks off. Three measly seconds. And once again, I lose all my water temple progress.

It’s a curse. It has to be. I’ve only played this game twice, and both times I’ve had the power shut off right after completing the water temple, forcing me to replay the whole goddamn level.

Fuck me.

…Does anyone know a good voodoo priestess or shaman who could lift this thing?

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