“You’ve encountered a particularly unfortunate destiny, haven’t you?”
Of all the Legend of Zelda games, Majora’s Mask has to be the darkest and creepiest of them all.
Featuring an ill-fated Termina facing impending doom during a typical time of celebration and rejoice, complete with many stark character plots along the way, Link is tasked with saving the otherwise-doomed land in a mere 3 days. There is also the theory that the 5 regions which Link travels to are actually meant to represent the 5 stages of grief, which in itself, is pretty dark for a childhood classic.
Naturally, this makes it the perfect breeding ground for what would become a very popular creepypasta, ‘Ben Drowned’.
In short, the tale tells of a college student who acquired a peculiar copy of Majora’s Mask. When the student tried to play it, he discovered the previous owner’s save file, and decided to leave it on the game, which inadvertently led to the premise that the game was broken and glitchy. Ben is the name of the original owner of the game, and died as a young child by drowning in a well, thus haunting the game.
As the story’s events transpire, the author – Jadusable – learns of Ben, who is essentially a ghost/entity that exists inside the game, taking form as a dummy Link statue (which is normally spawned when Link plays the Eledgy of Sadness). It’s a highly elaborate and detailed story, though admittedly a fabrication by Jadusable himself.
But… is it really just a made-up story?
I suspect that Jadusable is withholding some kind of information. To put as much detail into the story as he did, only to come out later and admit the whole thing is a fake – it just seems too coincidental to write off as a silly Internet campfire ghost story.
I’ve got an alternate theory: Ben is the driving force behind this decision to play the whole thing off as a clever hoax, in order to conceal his identity.
Late in the story, Jadusable speaks of how Ben had made his way into his computer, and had the capability to manipulate various aspects of the computer, such as closing windows, moving the mouse, and turning off the monitor. With such powers, a malevolent being such as Ben could theoretically manipulate Jadusable’s online persona as he sees fit.
He also knows of Jadusable’s posting of the stories to the Internet, and as such, may detect the cry for help the author is covertly trying to convey, to someone… anyone.
Humored – and perhaps flattered by his growing infamy – Ben quietly kept track of Jadusable’s posting, until the finality of the story we were told was drawing near. Finally, he intervened, and gave Jadusable the ultimatum: “play off the story as a simple creepypasta, titled ‘Ben Drowned’, or you will meet a terrible fate”.
So, what does this have to do with Ben, or his supposed watery fate?
While the whole story may sound fishy to some of the more well-endowed readers, what particularly strikes me as odd is that Ben exists inside a computer.
As you may know, electronics and wet don’t mix very well. There is one exception, of course, which is the Nintendo 64 and all of its glorious games.
I remember taking baths as a child with my N64, running through the courtyard of the Peach’s Castle and splashing around in the tub, while the N64 bobbed furiously in my wake. In fact, I almost lost my N64 in the tub, after I accidentally unplugged it (the tub, that is)… if it weren’t for the plumbing skills I acquired from years of playing Mario games, my poor N64 would’ve been sleeping with the fishes.
But, I digress…
This explains perfectly how Ben would be able to exist inside an N64 game cartridge. His disposition to water limits him, but with the N64, he can live on forever. However, transferring Ben to a computer would’ve caused a short in the motherboard or CPU.
Upon realizing this, I quickly figured out what’s going on here.
Essentially, Ben was trying to throw off anyone who might be on to him, fabricating a story about a boy who drowned in a well, and serves as the perfect homage to his actual cause of death. As anyone with half a brain knows, a water ghost such as Ben could only exist within the nearly-indestructible confines of the N64. Transferring himself to the author’s computer would’ve started – you guessed it, a fire.
Perhaps it was the spirit of Majora himself that caused such a strange occurrence, but when Ben died in a house fire at the ripe age of 12, his spirit fled into the only remaining item that was left from his house: a stray, oddly unscathed copy of Majora’s Mask, thus explaining how the elderly man acquired such a strange copy of the game.
As for why Ben insisted that he drowned, all tributes aside – well, that’s simple: ‘Ben Died in a House Fire’ doesn’t nearly have the same ring to it as ‘Ben Drowned’, now does it?