It is a scenario ARG players are all too familiar with. Just when things start to get interesting, the grassroots puppetmaster comes forward with an apology to the players. The game can no longer go on because of lack of funds or time. Some players are disappointed. Others are angry. Most move on looking for another game to invest their time in. Things ended a bit differently with The Haunted Majora’s Mask Cartridge ARG. Instead of giving up, the players of this grassroots game reached deep into their pockets and donated money to the creator so the game could continue. With nearly a half million views on some of the ARG’s Youtube videos, it’s not surprising that the fans are dedicated. What sort of story would touch players so deeply? There was no hot brunette, nor was there a kidnapping. The story is about a college kid and his haunted Nintendo 64 game.
The college kid, known as Jadusable on his blog, thought he had struck gold when he walked away from a neighborhood garage sale with a free copy of the N64 game, The Legend of Zelda – Majora’s Mask. A creepy old man at the sale gave the game to him, saying it once belonged to a young neighbor boy. The boy, Ben, died years ago under mysterious circumstances.
When the game first started acting strangely, Jadusable shrugged it off, thinking it was just a buggy version. Before long, he discovered that his copy of Majora’s Mask was haunted – by someone or something named Ben. Jadusable started recording the strange happenings in the game and by doing so, inadvertently allowed Ben to escape onto the internet. Anyone who downloaded the videos also downloaded Ben onto their computer and into their life. Jadusable eventually disappeared and presumably got himself trapped in the haunted game cartridge, while Ben used his new found freedom to seek out more victims in the real world.
Even though Ben is free from the game cartridge, he and other characters are still somehow affected by items used in the video game. For example, if the players play The Song of Healing from the Legend of Zelda, a character in the ARG gets healed. If they play a time travel song, they travel back in time several days, getting a chance to manipulate the characters in different ways. It is still unclear exactly what Ben’s connection to the game cartridge is, but players discovered he was previously a member of an apocalyptic cult. According to other cult members, Ben “ascended” and his body was never found. Exactly what the connection is between the Majora’s Mask video game and the cult is still a mystery.
The game’s latest chapter has come to a close, so there is plenty of time to catch up on what has happened so far before the next installment.