How the Introduction of Masks Changed the Need for Tools and Accessories in Zelda Games

By Angelo Allen
July 28, 2018

Everyone knows Majora’s Mask for the long list of masks and their varying abilities you receive in the game. Ranging from masks that transform your appearance to masks that allow you to steal single rupees from mailboxes, every mask in Majora’s Mask has its own special use. This feature definitely made an impact on Zelda games to come after it. It’s no secret that games before it had their own spread of useful and “completely necessary” items such as the canes and medallions in A Link to the Past and the seeds and flutes in the Oracle of Ages/Seasons games, but once Majora’s Mask introduced masks that let you parade around dungeons safely with an empty bomb bag and conversate with your local Gibdos without the eerie shriek that I call a “language barrier” (no seriously, all they want to do is be your friend!) the need for a variety of tools and items drastically increased.

If you look at Ocarina of Time, any item you receive in game can be used universally (save of course for the trading quest items) such as using the Megaton Hammer in the Spirit Temple and the Hookshot being used everywhere for everything. Fast forward through using a mask obtained through a three-day time-sensitive quest only to be able to catch a rare fish, now we have items in Zelda games that are so specific you could toss them with no regret once you complete their respective temples. Take for instance the Coral Earring in Twilight Princess. I’m sure just saying the item’s name you really have no clue what I’m talking about, but if you just so happen to know, it’s an item you get and use to catch a fish, a fish that you don’t even keep. You only need to smell it (in my opinion, Wolf Link should just use his “amazing” tracking abilities to hunt the fish down and work from there but I digress), and don’t get me started with the Spinner (Don’t attack me. I love the item too!) Another hot point of interest are the fireshield earrings from Skyward Sword. A fine piece of jewelry used to protect you from heat…and that’s it. Why not just bring back the Goron Tunic for us or something of that nature. At least it can be used to help sport that nice red color that looks so good on our hero, but my point here isn’t to bash the many, MANY different items in the different Zelda games.

There are many useful and even really cool items in the Zelda universe (shameless plug: my personal favorite is the Double Clawshot) but we can’t deny that Majora’s Mask played a huge part in introducing these one-hit wonder items. If you need any further proof I leave you with this: Kafei’s Mask is a mask solely used to inquire about Kafei in the Kafei and Anju sidequest…once. Bremen Mask is a mask that plays a nice chirpy tune that makes animals follow you but is only used to get the Bunny Hood, Kamaro’s Mask is a mask that you use to teach a dance for a heart piece one time, and the Troupe Leader’s Mask literally has no use except to obtain the Fierce Deity’s Mask at the end of the game and also to stop the Gorman Brothers from attacking you IF you decide to replay that mission. Once again, no item is useless, only highly specific in its usage, and we can all thank Majora’s Mask for playing a huge part in making that so.

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