In this post, I take a first pass at articulating the rationale behind my approach to "Majora's Mask," and what I am ultimately after with this tack of video game analysis.
Aaron Suduiko is the Founder and Chief Video Game Analyst of With a Terrible Fate. He specializes in the relationship between player and avatar, and the myriad ways in which that relationship centrally influences the stories of video games.
The heart of Suduiko's philosophy of video-game fiction is his theory of "the fictional player": according to this view, the player's role in a video game is not that of identification with the game's avatar; instead, the player plays a separate, more metaphysically foundational fictional role that makes possible events within a video game's story actual, similar to Leibniz's conception of god. Suduiko's application of this view in his analyses on With a Terrible Fate have led to novel interpretations of games such as Bloodborne, Dark Souls, Dishonored, NieR, Returnal, Xenoblade Chronicles, BioShock Infinite, Code Vein, Final Fantasy VII Remake, Ni No Kuni, and Silent Hill. The foundations of the fictional player theory may be found in the Journal of the Philosophy of Games: https://journals.uio.no/JPG/article/view/4799/5504
Suduiko graduated Harvard College in 2017 with high honors in his major, philosophy. Part of his degree included three independent studies on the storytelling of video games, advised by philosophy professors. In his senior year, he wrote an honors thesis on the ontology of video games as a storytelling object, earning high honors for the written work and highest honors for his oral defense of it.
Suduiko has shared his work on the philosophy of video-game storytelling at a variety of venues, including: Harvard’s philosophy department; PAX West, PAX East, PAX South, and PAX Aus; Harvard’s annual ARTS FIRST festival; the British Society of Aesthetics’ postgraduate conference; and SUNY Oneonta’s undergraduate philosophy conference. An article adapted from a chapter of his thesis on the ontology of video-game storytelling was published in the peer-reviewed Journal of the Philosophy of Games. His work on the aesthetics of quantum mechanics in BioShock Infinite was published in Cornell’s undergraduate philosophy journal, Logos. He’s spoken with the lead librarians at Harvard about the literary value of video games and the need to make them available as library resources.
Suduiko started analyzing video games in his senior year of high school, when he compared and contrasted the role-playing dynamics of video games and stage plays. After he started his degree in philosophy in 2014 and heard about the 3D remake of Majora’s Mask, he created With a Terrible Fate as a personal blog analyzing the philosophical and artistic value of Majora’s Mask. Since then, he’s grown With a Terrible Fate into a publication of video game analysts striving to understand the stories of video games in new, rigorous, illuminating ways.
If you don’t see a new article by Suduiko on any given day, he’s probably busy gaming.
Given the analysis I have offered of the Song of Healing, how can we account for the fact that Link cannot use the song to heal Skull Kid / Majora?
A first pass at what Darmani and Mikau can teach us about heroism in Termina.
What can Deku Link teach us about the nature of gaming? Part I of III examining the Song of Healing.
In the first of three posts about the Song of Healing, I argue that Deku Link offers us unique insight into video games as an aesthetic object.
I model Termina and Link through Buddhist philosophy, and move towards explanations of masks and their Salesman.
With the background of Kaepora Gaebora, I take a first pass at sketching a Majoran thesis of free will / determinism.
"Majora's Mask" contains a thesis on how groups are marginalized by society. Here, I argue that the ease with which one can miss this game element is precisely what makes its content so impactful.
Many people view video games much more as toys than as serious works of art. In light of this, without dwelling on it too long, I would like to dedicate one post to an attempt to convince the cynic that video games deserve to be taken seriously as aesthetic works.
In this post, I explore what about "Majora's Mask" and the world of Termina makes death more imminent and haunting than any other "Zelda" title could.
In the game entitled "Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask," Zelda does not exist. It is this anomaly and its effects that I chart in this post.