Having favorite things is important for children, they provide identity, differentiation or belonging. They get life and oneself sorted, because they go far beyond a judgment of quality or taste. And if truth be told, having favorite things has less to do with the things than with oneself. They are a means of self-expression. Although to this day I am passionate about rankings and can say which game I liked best last year, I no longer have favorite things in that sense.
What remains is the sweet aftertaste of former favorites. I still feel strangely connected to penguins and squirrels, and the thought of lasagna feels like a comforting texture that engulfs me and tells me that all is well. When I think of Majora’s Mask, the memory of that comforting feeling – of having found something about myself – floods through me. It’s no contradiction that it manifests most powerfully in a bone-chilling scream from hell.
Certainly, it was also the touching stories and the fact that the game opened windows into worlds of thought that had been closed to me until then. But first and foremost, it was the screams that Link made whenever his body underwent a full-body transformation into another being by putting on a mask.
That it was myself who sent Link through such agony by using an item was astonishing to say the least. That pain-distorted face of the previously stiff mask, just because I wanted Link to swim faster or crush rocks. I never really shook off I was doing to the already severely traumatized boy, simply because it was so convenient.
Instead of psychologically analyzing in depth why well-protected suburban boys like to feast on agony and the end of the world, and why I of all people let this game and these aspects of the game become part of my identity, I’d rather direct my attention to my own artistic-musical work. Together with the second “Illuminated Brother” Tim, I have recorded more than 500 peculiar tracks in the last nearly twenty years. The very first of them is called “Doomte Maske” (a clunky und false translation of “doomed mask” and neither explainable in English nor in German). Because when you play around with the distortion options of a rudimentary audio program from the early 2000s at the age of eighteen without any goal or sense, things emerge that are reminiscent of this expression of utmost torment.
And then you think it’s a fine piece of work and a funny homage to your favorite game, and you save it, ID3 tag included. And then you don’t leave it be, but put it on the Internet years later. And then you think it’s appropriate to link this track even when you’re in your late 30s.
When I hear “Doomte Maske”, I remember favorite things. What a wondrous time in life with a rock-solid identity and an unshakable self-assurance.
The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask was released in 2000 at the end of the N64’s lifespan. I was just young enough to absorb new favorite things and already receptive to the gritty emo adventure of Link, who had apparently hit puberty along with me.
This post is also available in: German