Screenshot by Flickr User: Kurtis C.

Resonance: Final Hours

There is one song that has always stuck with me, even though the first time I heard it was 15 years ago.  This is the music that plays during the final hours in The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, during the night of the third and final day, when the moon is lowest in the heavens.  It looms overhead like the visible personification of the apocalypse.  The ground trembles, and people prepare for the end.  Some seek shelter at the ranch outside of town, clinging to the last desperate shreds of hope and the belief that survival might still be possible, while others simply stand there in Clock Town’s main square, staring up at the moon and awaiting an end that seems too inevitable to resist.

I feel this song perfectly captures the surrealism of one’s final moments, beautiful and haunting, when one looks death in the face and either runs from it or stands firm.  It is truly a chilling song, and I must admit that I was unable to listen to it for very long before I could stand it no longer.  Music, I believe, is the link between a game feeling like a real experience or an artificial one.  Not realistic graphics or fancy controls, just music, for this song fills me with dread, it leaves me feeling helpless and unable to breathe.

I know this is just a game.  I know that if I let the moon fall, nothing will happen to me.  It’s fake, just an image on a screen that can be removed with the press of a button.  But, that ethereal music is what gets to me and nearly makes me cry with the sad, sorrowful beauty of the end of the world.  This song shakes me to my very core, and that is why it resonates with me like no other.

Video from Youtube User: BrawlBRSTMs3

The Duck of Indeed

8 thoughts on “Resonance: Final Hours”

  1. There are too many dark games out there that go completely overboard and abandon all subtlety. The result is me getting bored or impatient. What makes Majora’s Mask great is that it’s dark, but the narrative lets the dark elements speak for themselves. It’s a game whose creator definitely knows how to show, not tell.

    1. That’s quite true. Majora’s Mask was very well done, the way the dark elements largely come from your interaction with other people rather than the scenery or enemies and the like. It makes the game feel a lot deeper, too. It’s like how horror games are better when they are subtle, not over the top and in your face.

      1. Yeah, the best horror games are the ones that demonstrate how far one can go with a little context. It’s always disappointing when they resort to jump scares and the like. To me, that’s just an admission of creative bankruptcy.

      2. I like a horror game when the main “horror” comes from the simple apprehension of wondering what’s going to happen to you, or when something’s going to happen. Like in Slender: The 9 Pages, I think I’m more scared wondering when Slender Man will appear again than actually get caught by him. It’s the unknown that is the scariest of all.

  2. It really is incredible how this piece captures so many complex emotions. Dread, despair, defeat, inevitability…they’re all there, perhaps even along with a few more.

    For me, this was the part of the game that made it all feel real. That moon was right in your face, the timer was racing, the characters all reacted to their imminent demise, and then there was this music. It bridged the gap between merely seeing those emotions expressed in the game and feeling them myself. Of all the music in Majora’s Mask, I think this is the most haunting. It actually make you feel the full weight of the situation!

    I hope the composer was recognized for this somehow…

    1. This is my favorite song in the game because it is so emotional. And it’s true, this really is the part of the game that feels the most dire. The moon was always scary, but you can kind of ignore it when it’s higher in the sky. But, once it’s right there…shudder… This is why Majora’s Mask is my favorite game of all time.

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