@randyf: Unfortunately I am not surprised. Square Enix seems to be particularly good at pulling the nostalgia strings and then completely shit the bed on execution. I absolutely LOST MY SHIT when I was first introduced to Serendipity in FF13-2... only the realize it was a totally empty mess with a couple of complete crap games. Bummer :'/
It was always weird to me that people never find out about the reversed Song of Time, when it supposed to be one of the first things you learn. You get to the observatory, talk to the scarecrow there because... well... It's a damn TALKING DANCING SCARECROW ! And he tells you how to use the Song of Time. But I guess they probably should have put it right in your face in an unskippable dialogue or something, to make sure you don't miss it because it is so important. The weirdest part is that they didn't change that in the 3DS version. Where they give you the Bombers' Notebook as soon as you go back in time instead of when you find the kids a second time in human form, or the Song of Soaring the moment you enter the swamp instead of just before you enter the first dungeon, they still make the scarecrow conversation missable. Bummer.
Anyway, I always loved Majora's Mask, and like you I really enjoy the fact that the 3 days cycle is more of a indicator of what is going on right now and the subquests you can do more than an actual time limit. Replaying the game recently on the 3DS though, I realized the cycle gets in the way of the game way too much. I mean, while there are events that DO use the 3 days cycle and do something interesting with it (like the Anju-Kafei quest, or the Romani Ranch) there are a lot of subquests that don't really change depending on the day. It's more of a "show up at this specific time" or "show up these specific days". Worse, a lot of the game doesn't even use that system AT ALL. I mean, the entire part where you figure out the area and then get the song to open the dungeon and explore said dungeon, the main quest basically, does nothing with the 3 day cycle. On one hand, it's understandable, because you should always be able to do the main quest, but on the other, it make the entire 3 days look like a time limit and nothing else. Not that I have a problem with running out of time (I can do the first 3 dungeons in around 1,5 slowed days each) but it makes me wonder why the cycle is omnipresent in the first place from a gameplay perspective. Why have me go though 3 days when the dungeon doesn't change depending on the day ? Why not have a "the place exist outside of time" or something and remove that entire component during the exploration of the dungeon ? Why not make the quests leading to the dunegons be active only at specific times, forcing the player to use the Song of Time, basically teaching them it's OK to go back in time before doing subquests, because it's the way the game was designed : use the Song of Time whenever you need !
I still absolutely adore Majora's Mask, but recently I realized that as soon as you get out of Clock Town, the entire 3 day cycle system becomes way more of a hindrance and an arbitrary time limit, than an interesting game mechanic.
And you thought the US was getting a raw deal compared to Japan. Europe still has the same crap we had for several years at this point, and I wouldn't be surprised if it didn't change until the service dies.
@devoureroftime: Oh man, Earthbound... I should probably get to that as well. Where are you currently at in the game ? Because I'm like 5 hours in and I'm really curious to know if this game gets any better, because for now I just want to eat my eyeballs out of frustration :'( Any tips ?
Nice idea ! And my favourite part is that I can see people here mentioning amazing games, so that always warms my heart :'D Like Rayman Legends, Captain Toad, FF9, 999 and Opin Sphere. The issue I have personally is that I'm really into J-RPGs and those tend to get super lengthy... but what the heck ! Let's try this out !
Xenoblade Chronicles - I'm maybe a quarter of the way through, loving it !
FFX-2 HD - This is really silly but I'll see it to the end !
Bleed - Probably going to get the last couple achievements... or give up trying.
Gabriel Knight 2 - Replaying this game for the 20th time or something. It is the best.
Europe's selection was shit as well. I don't know if I missed anything but we never got any VC games for this. But on the other hand, at least I got SOMETHING. I mean, I got a DS/3DS cartridge case and a Pikmin keyring. Not great but hey, free stuff !