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The Growing Love for Zelda: Majora's Mask vs The Growing Love for Final Fantasy IX
Posted: Posted December 11th, 2019
Edited December 11th, 2019 by Laxan
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I've made it no secret around here that I feel FF9 is the best Final Fantasy. I have also been very vocal that Majora's Mask ranks no where near the top of greatest Zelda games despite still enjoying the game. One of these titles is among my favorite games ever made. The other had become increasingly over-intellectualized and over-philosophized in the past half decade or so in my opinion.

But here's the kicker. While I'm happy people are more recently acknowledging FF9 as the greatest Final Fantasy, I cannot help but wonder if people are merely parroting popular Youtubers' sentiments or if it truly is because folks have taken the time to replay many Final Fantasy classics and realizing for their selves that FF9 is truly that great (and deservedly so, might I add). Sadly, I do think it is the former that is more likely the culprit. Which is why I bring up Majora's Mask...

I believe two primary YouTube videos are responsible for the sudden adoration phenomenon in regards to Majora's Mask. I will share the videos below.
https://youtu.be/VIET2DPZrOY https://youtu.be/7S1SVkysIRw
With the culmination of these videos, other Youtubers as well as their fans and fans of Zelda seemed to echo their sentiments by larger and larger increments as the years went by. I sincerely believe the number of fans claiming MM is their favorite Zelda title is mostly because many of their favorite Youtube channels started saying this instead of coming to that conclusion on their own. My reasoning isn't based on science, but simply observing the trend as it suddenly spiked on one of the internet's biggest platforms in popularity.

Which brings me to Final Fantasy IX...

I've been seeing the same echoes for my favorite FF starting to catch pace more and more. And, once again, I feel like Youtubers sharing this sentiment is the primary cause of the growing love for FF9 and less so because people actually have that original thought on their own. The video that got me thinking about this is below.
https://youtu.be/lvBwfPtpVGY
I'm not trying to state something like "I was a fan of FF9 before it was cool to be!" I am very happy to see people coming around to showing love for the best Final Fantasy. The love of both MM and FF9 just reminds me of each other insofar as how the growing love came about--not because fans thought of it on their own but because e-celebrities started claiming as much and capitalizing on the newfound popularity.

At least FF9 deserves it.

There are 8 Replies

Interesting perspective.

I think you're right to identify how Game Theory and other youtubers has changed the conversation on Majora's Mark, though it's ascendant popularity was something that had been brewing for years even before that. Hylian Dan published The Message of Majora's Mask on the Zelda Universe forums back in 2011, and at least within the Zelda fan community it was a pretty big deal. If you're worried about "over-intellectualizing" Majora's Mask, then beware: a rather compelling argument is made that various structures in the Stone Temple are phalluses intended as a show of defiance against the goddesses of Hyrule.
https://zeldauniverse.net/2011/09/13/the-message-of-majoras-mask/
I don't think that Hylian Dan gets everything right, but I would lying if I said that his perspective didn't change in some way how I interacted with the game. Suddenly, it seemed like there was more going on than a casual observer like myself would immediately pick up on, and it has helped me appreciate it more in the years since. There is a danger in allowing the pretensions of others to influence how I engage with various media, but then again I think it is all but undeniable at this point that Majora's Mask is attempting to do something subversive with its world.

My own group of friends offer a good cross section of the Zelda fandom. One is a Majora skeptic, and another one has been holding his ground that it is the secret "best in series" going all the way back to when it came out nineteen (!) years ago. The rest of us fall between the extremes, and my own preference is for the top down perspective, particularly Link to the Past, Link Between Worlds, and Zelda 1. But if I could only take one 3D Zelda into exile on a desert island I would have to reluctantly walk away from the likes of Ocarina and give the edge to Majora's Mask after all. The intimate Clock Town setting really was ahead of its time. The sidequests, which constituted about half of the content, required being mindful of schedules and of your own time limit. It did the only good things Shenmue did better than Shenmue ever did them. The famous Anju/Kafei quest required dedicating an entire three day cycle to complete, and left the player with mere moments to rewind the clock. That scene is one of the most affecting I've ever encountered in this medium... not to overstate the case. Everyone should play it.

Most of Majora's detractors don't much like the time limit, but I think that it's an essential component. It's how the characters react to their own impending doom, and how they strive for normalcy in spite of it all, that gives the game its soul. This is the theme that people relate to so strongly, and it is why it gets to join the ranks of Nier: Automata, Far Cry 2, and Dark Souls in being serious youtube bait. Ocarina of Time is also an intelligently written, designed, and forward thinking bit of N64 software, but Majora's Mask really does have something more going on underneath the surface. This will probably only continue to buoy its reputation in the years to come.

I can't comment intelligently on FF9, although somehow I did end up with a copy. I'm sure to give it a shot at some point.

Edited December 11th, 2019 by Famov
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My post isnt a jab at Majora's Mask so much as an observation of how two different games have become increasingly popular under similar circumstances.

That said, I would personally take Breath of the Wild with me to a desert island. It lasts much longer than any other Zelda game and has more engaging things to do overall, thus keeping me occupied longer.

And I would take Final Fantasy IX with me over that. Definitely play it someday if you can. The amount of relatable and well-written characters in that game is not only astounding, but the story and themes and world resonate on a an existential level that most anyone can find something of value in. And it is timeless for just that.

Posted December 11th, 2019 by Laxan
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Laxan
 

Deathguise ruined FFIX for me. Also Excalibur II should be easier to obtain. Summons are useless, trance never happens when you need it to. Zidane’s womanizing got old fast. Doesn’t make sense how’s Brahms’s body is intact after that battle.

Posted December 11th, 2019 by Eiffel 65
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I agree trance is a bit iffy. I think they were fearful how overpowered it could be. Instead of fixing the issue, they chose to do something that makes trance feel a lot less like player choice. But trance never bothered me that much. I still think combat is one of the best on the series.

I'll have to disagree about Zidane's womanizing. It's part of his character arc and gives him one of the most interesting personality traits of any FF protagonist. He also grows out of it and even gets reprimanded for it by Dagger for confusing her for another date he promised a different woman, showing that he would have to take a relationship with the person he's meant to be with more seriously and give up the womanizing lifestyle.

It's funny, AVGN posted this video the very same day I made this post.



Posted December 12th, 2019 by Laxan
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Laxan
 

Final Fantasy IX is my favorite game. I always recommend it for people who never play Final Fantasy if they have to just play one play this one. Rose of May is one of my favorite songs and Beatrix is one of my favorite characters in any movie/ videotape

Edited December 14th, 2019 by Brandy
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I'm not very clued in with the world of Zelda, but I think with Final Fantasy IX, I have literally never heard anyone say the game was anything less than pretty good. And I think part of its "resurgence" if you will is that kinda slowly over time, everyone has sort of realized that everyone they talk to about it who has played it feels similarly. So word of mouth has an impact.

But, I do think that YouTube can be a popular way to re-contextualize things. I don't think it's so much that people are following what YouTubers say in their videos because it's a fad or they're just going along with it to seem cool. Especially for older games in which younger folks weren't around when they came out. It kinda just makes sense that they see a YouTuber they like make a video about how great FFIX is, they'll be like, "Huh, ok, let me see how that is!" And then, because it's genuinely a good game, they jump on board, too. I imagine it's similar to Majora's Mask, though I've never played it. (I never had an N-64 until about ten years ago, and I've only played, like, four Zelda games in my life, with Ocarina being the only one I finished.)

Posted December 14th, 2019 by Jet Presto
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Huh...I'm gonna try to post this here but...I can't see any replies. Did mine actually post?

Posted December 14th, 2019 by Jet Presto
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Yes

Posted December 14th, 2019 by Brandy
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