Line By Line: A Documentary on the Localization of Majora’s Mask – The Hyrule Journals

LINE BY LINE (Majora’s Mask True Story) by Javed Sterritt for The Hyrule Journals on YouTube

Nearly four years after his first Zelda essay1, Javed Sterritt has published his video about The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. I remember being stirred by Javed’s Ocarina of Time video back in 2019. I wrote about it back at DualShockers just a few days after the video was published.

There’s no better way to kick off the new year than by watching this documentary.

Now, me being me, not only am I watching for the story, but I’m studying the editing, pacing, and style. Javed seems to use some widescreen, HD texture pack modified version of the two N64 classics.2 I am often a purist when it comes to representing game footage, but the use of these enhanced versions enhances the presentation of the video.3 The story is enriched as you are immersed in the footage.

I love the desk Javed uses in some shots. The lighting and texture is warm. I particularly loved his shot of the Game Boy Color. Slick cut on the placement of the console as well.

Now, continuing the theme of me being me, I immediately noticed the Macintosh Powerbook G3 used at the 10:09 mark. I also noticed the version of Excel on its display was the Microsoft Office 98 for Windows, not the Macintosh Edition. 😅

The theme of isolation that is prominent throughout Majora’s Mask (so I’m told) is represented in the game’s development. Not just from the top creative brass or the programmers, but even down to the translation and localization. I know what it feels like to stare at tens of thousands of lines in Excel and wondering if you’ll ever reach the end. I do not know what working on one of the most important sequels ever feels like. Jason Leung’s story is spot on and told in a thoughtful and wonderful way.


Update (1/5/23): Javed has taken down the original upload of Line By Line citing translation issues. I’ve got the quote below and will update the link when a new one is provided. Props on taking the video down, swallowing the hit to view count and the algorithm all for the sack of accuracy. Maybe he’ll change the Excel footage too?

I’ve had some wonderful people from the Zelda and localising community point out some incorrect translations in the doco. After some consideration, I’ve decided to go and fix these issues and reupload. Will post the new link soon. Thank you everyone and sorry for the inconvenience.

Update (1/11/23): Javed has uploaded the new version of Line By Line. The links above have been updated. I think he swapped the PowerBook…


1. Perhaps I should call it a journal entry instead.

2. The Ocarina of Time version could be the PC port, while Majora’s Mask version might be modified with texture packs. Writing up this tiny paragraph sent me down the mod path for these games. Now I have the reverse-engineered PC port of OoT on my iMac. The community has done some buck wild stuff.

3. Can I even be called a purist when I capture and stream old games off FPGA systems or pass old consoles through an upscaler? Wouldn’t purity require showing off these games through an RF cable? Javed’s own use of CRT filters and effects could be argued as more "pure" than my own typical representation. But I digress from this philosophical tangent.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Preview

On Tuesday, June 14, 2016 at E3, Nintendo revealed to the world just what exactly they had been cooking up for the brand new Legend of Zelda game. After the initial 45 second reveal wet the appetites of fans during E3 2014, Nintendo has remained strangely quiet on the latest iteration for one of their tentpole franchises. Only leaving the fortress known as the Treehouse to announce unfortunate delays and a dual platform launch (like Twilight Princess on the Gamecube and Wii) many were left to speculate what the future of Zelda would be.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the 17 game for the series, based off the timeline Nintendo made by throwing all the games in a blender and serving it up to thirsty fans. With a 30 year legacy, Nintendo has tried lately to mix up the formula, while staying in touch with its roots. It is an odd and difficult balance to achieve.

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The Legend of Zelda Resolution- Week 1

Let me tell you, the OG Legend of Zelda is HARD!

It also is so SATISFYING!

From starting the game last week, I have died more times than in any Zelda game I have ever played before. All before the first dungeon. It’s direction in subtle: totally open for you to explore. I wandered and fought my way to the fifth dungeon in the game, before finding anything else. I couldn’t solve the puzzle or beat the enemies so I had to leave, swearing I would return to conquer it. Then I died.

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The Legend of Zelda– New Year Resolution

A couple of weeks ago, I had an idea for a video game resolution for 2015. The idea may have been late for the start of the new year, but better late than never.

Over the course of the winter break from school, I watched some of AGDQ 2015. Specifically, the Legend of Zelda speed runs. It is safe to say that the skill and knowledge those players possess about their game of choice is bonkers and masterful.
Last year, I started learning to speed run the latest Zelda game, A Link Between Worlds. It is challenging and exciting to learn how to break a game to a point of mastery. I am nowhere close to mastery, but I have fun every time I pick up my 3DS to run it.
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