What is it about The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask that makes it so emotionally impactful? Often described as the “weirdest” and “darkest" game in the Zelda series, Majora’s Mask seems to stir something within everyone who has devoted their time into exploring its mysteries and saving the doomed town of Termina.
The game feels… alive. Alive in a way that almost no other contemporary, past or present, can match. But why? If we had to guess what the special ingredient is, we’d happily put our rupees on the sheer amount of details poured into every moment of the experience.
From the intricately designed schedules and plotlines of the townsfolk to the ever-growing moon in the sky, Termina seems like a far "real-er" place than Ocarina’s artificial Hyrule ever did. Of course, we’d be remiss if we failed to mention the stellar storytelling and writing that went along with the aforementioned details, but those alone simply don’t do the trick. While there are plenty of intricacies within the game for players to notice on their own, we wanted to turn everyone’s attention to some details that likely escaped most people's attention, from the meaningful to the playfully bizarre.
Within our list of The Legend of Zelda: 25 Hidden Details In Majora’s Mask Fans Completely Missed, we’ll be discussing some of the most subtle and wonderfully hidden details that were painstakingly placed in the game by devoted developers.
Termina feels so rich and alive, and it’s thanks, in part, to each and every entry on this list.
25 It Always Rains On The Second Day
It’s no secret that repeating the same three days over and through time travel is the main feature of the game. Still, it’s amazing that the developers really went out of their way to make it feel like you were really living amongst a real town in a real world and not some carefully constructed code.
This might not be that exciting at first glance, but it always rains on the second day.
That detail really hits home that these are the same three days over and over, and it's just a great human touch due to its excellent attention to detail.
24 The "Tatl" And "Tael" Puns
The fairies Tatl and Tael both play an integral role in the story. Tatl replaces Navi as your companion (and she’s much sassier) while Tael remains with the villainous Skull Kid (whether he wants to or not.)
Tatl obviously refers to “tattling,” but the two names together make “tattle tale.”
It may have been obvious to some, but it’s still a clever inclusion… and both of them are far more appealing companions than nagging Navi. Well, for the most part, at least.
23 The "Brave" Swordsman
There are many denizens of Clock Town, and just about all of them have unique and wonderful personalities that not only make them memorable, but also make them seem real. The Swordsman is one of these characters, and he makes a bold statement: he’ll cut the falling moon into pieces.
That incredibly brave statement gives way to the very human fear you’ll find if you visit him during the final hours of the last day:
He sits in his corner, spooked by his impending demise.
This secret encounter is immensely harrowing, and truly sells the “realness” of the people.
22 The Skull Kid's Musical Scribblings
The game’s main antagonist (aside from the enigmatic Majora) is a lonely Skull Kid who, before acquiring the titular mask, was something of a nuisance. In fact, you can find some messy graffiti he is responsible for in northern Termina Field.
On the wall, there are a series of notes along with Skull Kid’s likeness.
Playing these notes correctly will not only treat you to some classic Ocarina of Time tunes, but also yield some rupees. It’s fascinating that someone had the idea to incorporate this secret through such unassuming means, but that’s the kind of game Majora’s Mask is.
21 The Zora Band Plays Classic Zelda Tunes
Speaking of hidden music, one of the main quests in the game involves working with the famous Zora band, the Indigo-Gos. After acquiring the Zora Mask, Link can transform into his Zora form and join the band for a sweet jam session.
The songs they play are classic tunes like “The Ballad Of The Wind Fish” and Zelda 1’s dungeon theme.
It’s great to see the developers pay homage to the rest of the series in this very weird game, not unlike how the almost equally-as-weird Link’s Awakening did the same with Nintendo references.
20 The Skull Kid's Giant Outline
We’ve already mentioned the Skull Kid’s penchant for graffiti, but that was small compared to his grandest feat of all.
While the little scribble of his self-portrait is one thing, there’s a giant version of it emblazoned on the field.
In order to see this, you’ll need to use an emulator and levitation code, but it’s worth it, considering how “hidden in plain sight” it is. It’s also kind of eerie, too, almost as if the Skull Kid is watching your every move…
19 A Hidden Dolphin
When Majora’s Mask was being developed, Nintendo was already hard at work on their next system, the GameCube. During the new system’s development, it was given the code name “Dolphin,” and it seems that the folks behind Majora’s Mask wanted to put in a small reference to the upcoming hardware.
In the Astral Observatory, you can find a drawing of a dolphin underneath a pot.
While it’s not confirmed that this is an intentional reference, we don’t know what else it would be.
18 Algae That (Vaguely) Looks Like The N64 Controller
The world of Majora’s Mask is filled with odd imagery and an eternally brooding atmosphere, but it’s also home to a few visual Easter Eggs, such as the aforementioned Skull Kid portrait on the grass. Likewise, turning into a Zora in Clock Town and diving into the water inside the Clock Tower will yield an equally weird result:
Just below the surface is algae vaguely shaped like the N64 controller.
That’s…. rather curious, to say the very least, but still pretty darn cool.
17 The Alternate Opening Video
If there’s one area of Majora’s Mask that unequivocally beats Ocarina of Time (there are several, actually), it’s the fantastic cinematography during its cutscenes. There’s actually a way to view an alternate version of one of these well-composed scenes in the game, and here’s how:
When the game begins, immediately press up after “Start,” followed by “A” on the options box, and then “B.”
After the game saves, press “B” again and you’ll be treated to an alternate title screen.
16 The Real-Life Alien Encounter Reference
One of the more startling moments in Majora’s Mask involves an alien invasion (that no one seems to be concerned about in the slightest… (but maybe that’s because Termina is populated with all kinds of monsters). Regardless, the look and overall design of “THEM” are based on the supposed real-life encounter with a creature dubbed “The Flatwoods Monster.”
On a related note, we know that concept art of Hyrule being invaded by aliens exists, so we’d be interested in a future Zelda game having “THEM” return in force… but maybe that’s just us.
15 Ganondorf's Horse Makes A Guest Appearance
Ganondorf’s dark, sinister-looking horse was impressively intimidating in Ocarina of Time, but neither it, nor its master, are depicted in the world of Termina.
Actually, that’s not entirely true: Ganondorf’s horse does make an appearance, just not in the flesh.
Instead, it’s a stuffed toy found in Romani Ranch, specifically in Romani and Cremia’s bedroom, but only in the game’s 3DS remake. Curiously, Ganondorf’s model was found in the data, supposedly meant for the fishing spot, but that’s about all we get to see of either of these villains.
14 The Happy Mask Salesman Is Shigeru Miyamoto
Shigeru Miyamoto is often described as the Walt Disney of video games, and it’s obvious why. Much like Walt Disney, Miyamoto is responsible for revolutionizing the industry multiple times and has a seemingly never-ending supply of wonderful and timeless game concepts.
It’s strange, then, that the arguably sinister Happy Mask Salesman bears a striking resemblance to the creative guru.
Although it’s never been confirmed if this is an intentional homage, it’s certainly something worth considering, though we’re not sure that Miyamoto would enjoy being portrayed as a mysterious, vitriolic character.
13 The Mario Cameo
Speaking of the Happy Mask Salesman, he has a collection of unobtainable masks attached to his backpack. Interestingly, a few of these unobtainable masks are especially curious, particularly when you pay close attention to them.
Amongst the collection, you’ll find a mask that is unquestionably Mario.
Along with the plumber’s cameo, there’s a mask that looks almost identical to the screaming face on the Mirror Shield specific to Majora’s Mask. These kinds of cameos are always a treat, but they are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to other Nintendo franchises being referenced…
12 Enter Star Fox
For those who don’t know, there is a fully-functional Arwing from Star Fox programmed into Ocarina of Time. It was apparently meant to test the AI for flying enemies, but it’s still a weird inclusion.
The Star Fox cameos and crossovers continue in Majora’s Mask, with the entire Star Fox team and even the infamous Pigma.
The Keaton Mask, Bremen Mask, Bunny Hood, Don Gero’s Mask, and Mask of Scents represent Fox, Falco, Peppy, Slippy, and Pigma, and they are all next to each other in the second row of the mask screen.
11 R.O.B. In The Curiosity Shop
In yet another example of a bizarre, out-of-universe cameo, eagle-eyed players will be able to catch a glimpse of the robotic operating buddy, R.O.B., by spying through the Iron Knuckle peephole in Kafei’s Hideout.
What R.O.B. is doing in a Zelda game is beyond our understanding, and, yet, there he is.
If you’re having trouble spotting the little guy, look behind the Curiosity Shop’s counter, towards the boxes in the corner. With Mario, R.O.B. and the Star Fox team, it’s almost like Majora’s Mask was the birthplace of future Smash Bros. titles.
10 Repairing Signs With "The Song Of Healing"
We’ve all been there: we’ve occasionally swung our swords around errantly, inadvertently (or intentionally) slicing up signs and causing them to fall apart, which is quite the conundrum. Maybe you wanted to read that sign or maybe, just maybe, you want to be an upstanding citizen and repair the damages that you’ve done.
Thankfully, this is more than possible. Just like the ability to repair signs with Zelda’s Lullaby in Ocarina of Time, you can do the same with The Song of Healing.
Before you know it, you’ll be able to read (or destroy) the sign again!
9 Using The Captain's Hat Against Igos
After doing battle with Igos’ Servants, you’ll face off against the ghoulish Igos himself. While both of these battles are some of the best in all of Majora’s Mask, it’s what you can do with the Captain’s Hat against Igos that makes it stand out.
Putting on the hat will result in Igos thinking that Link was Captain Keeta, even if only briefly.
Alas, Keeta simply isn’t as small as Link, which is what apparently gives away the ruse… but not the flesh and blood, for some reason.
8 You Can Violently Eliminate An NPC
Zelda games are always populated with NPCs. Some are funny, some are kind, and some are annoying, but usually the most interaction you can do with them, aside from chatting, is an item exchange. Not so in Majora’s Mask.
In fact, Majora’s Mask is the only Zelda game which lets you terminate an NPC.
During the burglary sequence, you can cause the bomb bag to explode, and it takes the criminal with it. Truly, though, in a game as dark as this, it’s really no surprise that Link can send a townsperson to the grave by his own doing.
7 The Milk Bar Owner's Favorite Customer
The small character arcs and personalities of Clock Town's residents are what help sell them as living, breathing people, and far more three-dimensional than many of their Zelda contemporaries.
We already mentioned the cowering swordsman, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t include this emotional exchange with the bar owner.
If you visit him during the final hours of the last day, he’ll let you in on a secret.
“… I continue standing at the counter hoping one of my favorite customers will appear… and I wasn’t wrong. See? You stopped in.”
Don’t mind us while we grab a tissue.
6 The Bobble-Heads Shake During The Final Day
You may have noticed a curious little bobble-head in the Stock Pot Inn. It’s in the shape of the kind of cow you’d find at Romani Ranch, and, as its name suggests, its head bobbles. While that’s a pretty cool cultural inclusion for the Terminans, what’s even greater is the thought put into the prop by the developers.
During the Final Day, as the world is wracked with earthquakes, the cow’s heads will bobble in response.
It’s just a little touch, but it’s an incredibly impressive one that sells the game’s world as authentic.
5 The Fate Of The Deku Butler's Son
We know that the Goron Mask is from Darmani III and the Zora Mask is from Mikau, but where did the Deku Mask come from and, while we’re at it, why was Link a Deku in the first place?
The answer is heart-breaking: the Deku Butler’s missing son.
That gnarled, sad tree at the start of the game appears to be the remains of the Deku Butler’s lost child (and we see him weeping there in the credits.) On a happier note, using the Deku Mask has allowed Link to grant the boy’s soul peace.
4 A Hidden Paper Airplane
Perfect Dark, spiritual sequel to GoldenEye on the N64, is infamous for having cheese hidden in the strangest of locations. While that kind of humor is right up Rare’s alley, it’s odd to see something similar happen in a first-party Nintendo game, especially one as bleak as Majora’s Mask.
Though not as humorous, a paper airplane can be inexplicably found on a pillar in Ikana Castle’s courtyard.
… we have no idea why it’s there, but it’s there and you can see it. Have fun?
3 The Skull Kid Is The Same One From Ocarina Of Time
The Skull Kids were incredibly mysterious beings in Ocarina of Time. They would act extremely aggressively against any adults, but were happy to interact with any kids that wandered through the Lost Woods, specifically young Link.
In Ocarina, you can teach a Skull Kid “Saria’s Song,” and it seems that it’s that Skull Kid in Majora’s Mask, who remarks that Link has the “same smell” as the one who taught him a certain song.
For further evidence, Link also gives the Skull Kid a mask in Ocarina, implying that he has a fondness for masks.
2 The Lunar Children Are All The Happy Mask Salesman
The final moments of Majora’s Mask are eerie, unapologetically surreal, and filled with uncomfortable questions. When you make it to the Moon, the interior is an idyllic glade populated by mask-wearing children who want you to play with them.
Weirdly, they all have similar features to the Happy Mask Salesman, and one even asks if Link will become a mask salesman himself.
The implications of this sequence are bone-chilling, and there are no real answers… but we’re not sure we want them in the first place.
1 You Can't Save Everyone
“If you do the right thing… does it really make… everybody… happy?”
This bone-chilling quote is uttered by one of the Lunar Children in the game’s final minutes.
While it’s an eerie question all around, it hits hardest because the answer is “no.”
You can only “save” Termina by breaking the loop, and it’s not possible to complete every last task in a single cycle to make everyone happy, meaning that no matter when you choose to defeat Majora, a good chunk of the townsfolk will be living devastated, unfulfilled lives.