I’ll always remember two key moments from when I was around 12 years old: The first time I beat Ocarina of Time, and the moment afterwards when I desperately wanted another game just like it.
This eventually led to me playing my favorite Zelda game of all time, Majora’s Mask, and I want to share the story of how I got it. Father’s Day this past weekend got me thinking about the kindness of my dad, who I love and miss every day, and it was thanks to him that I got my 12-year-old hands on my N64 copy of it.
Soon after beating Ocarina of Time, I remember turning to the internet, probably eBay, to search for other Zelda games I could play. We only had an N64 at the time, so that meant I couldn’t access any of the classics. Lucky for me though, there was a (literal) golden opportunity waiting around the corner when I came across a listing of a very alluring N64 cartridge: The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask.
In that moment, just seeing the cartridge, I wanted it more than anything in the world. I remember watching a video of the game, with Link doing somersaults while chasing the butler in that mini-game, and wanting to play it so much. “Look how cool Link is now,” I thought, “doing all those fancy flips!” And seeing him transform into a Deku Scrub — it blew my mind. I think this was the first time I’d actively found a game for myself too, which only made me all the more eager to get hold of it. Up until then, I’d just played whatever my siblings had, or whatever edutainment games my parents gave to me.
Now, this listing of the game was for collection only. Perhaps there were ones that could be shipped, but for whatever reason I had my mind set on this one. It was in a town about an hour’s drive there and back — not that long thinking back, but it seemed like a world away to me at the time, as I didn’t get to go far very often. When I asked my dad if he could take me to get it, he was a little hesitant at first. He didn’t understand why we had to go all that way just for this game. I don’t recall exactly what I said, but I think he caught onto the fact that it was important to me, because he agreed shortly after.
During the whole journey there, I was so excited. I kept replaying the video I’d seen over and over in my head, feeling thrilled that I’d soon get to play Link again in a new adventure. We arrived at a little independent UK game shop in Halifax, paid the guy behind the counter, and I finally got the cartridge. It must have been preowned, as it came with no box, but I didn’t care. I finally had it, and was so happy.
I kept replaying the video I’d seen over and over in my head, feeling thrilled that I’d soon get to play Link again in a new adventure.
I remember being so grateful to my dad for driving me all the way there. He could have easily said no, but I think it was a gesture of just how much he cared about making me happy.
It’s a good thing he taught me about patience, too. Once I got home and put the cartridge in the N64, I realized I couldn’t play it because I didn’t have an Expansion Pak. After all that, I had to wait even longer! All I could do was watch the opening credits, with Skull kid staring at a very ominous-looking moon, which made me even more desperate to play it. My dad helped me find an Expansion Pak on eBay, and once it arrived, I was so hooked on the game that an earthquake couldn’t have separated me from the controller.
I know this is such a silly thing, as anyone’s parent would probably do the same. But it meant so much to me at the time, and it still does. In fact, without him doing what he did, I probably wouldn’t have gotten around to playing Majora’s Mask until I got a GameCube and that Zelda Collector’s Edition disc years later. By that point, I would have likely loved it all the same, but I wouldn’t have gained the nostalgic connection to it that I’ll always cherish. It was everything I wanted after Ocarina of Time and more, and I’m so glad my dad helped bring it to me.