10 Myths and Legends in Videogames

6. Pa-Pa-Paper, Please! 

paper please

When I was younger, I watched the movie The Ghoulies. I think I was 10 or 11 and had a pretty intense fever. In this movie, there is a scene where someone is trying to go to the bathroom. Unbeknownst to them, there is a monster in there. Well, I think you can imagine what happens next.

So, in the Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of the Ages, and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, there is a very strange monster. In the first two games, it is a hand that is desperately trying to find a roll of paper. Obviously, this hand is searching for toilet paper and is desperately trying to avoid an embarrassing scene. In Majora’s Mask, this hand comes out of a toilet on the first floor of the Stock Pot Inn in East Clock Town. When it is clicked on, it moans before asking for the paper near its hand, “Pa-Pa-Paper, Please!” The player can then give any of the pieces of paper that they have collected at that moment and receive a piece of heart that was dropped in the toilet. Interestingly, giving some pieces of paper will ultimately force link to have to do certain parts of the game. 

In Oracle of Ages, the hand is searching for paper in Lynna Village in the past. In reward for Pa-Pa-Paper, Link receives a Stink Bag that will clear the sinuses of an NPC. The player can also drop items down into the hole and antagonize the poor hand. Hot seeds or Ember Seeds will make the hand say, “Ooo…hot!” whereas if the player pushes the chamber pot into the hole, the hand will shout, “Noooooo!”

In Skyward Sword, the hand was replaced with an actual interaction that was sort of unique. At the Bazaar, some NPCs mention that they hear strange sounds coming from the bathroom at night. If Link goes there, he meets a character named Phoeni (phoney?) who needs paper. The next morning after this encounter, Link is given a letter for a character named Karane. Link can choose to give the letter to Karane or Phoeni. If Link gives the letter to Phoeni, the ghost leaves the bathroom and can be seen caressing the sleeping writer of the letter. The ghost then produces 5 gratitude crystals (out of the 80 possible). 

These strange moments in the Zelda games were explained in an Entertainment Weekly interview with Miyamoto in February of 2012. Miyamoto expalained, 

“In the original Legend of Zelda game, a gigantic hand appears and grabs you at the entrance to a dungeon. Actually, that has nothing to do with Skyward Sword. [Laughs] It’s actually something from a Japanese ghost story. Not a specific ghost story. There are some ghost stories in Japan where — when you are sitting in the bathroom in the traditional style of the Japanese toilet — a hand is actually starting to grab you from beneath. It’s a very scary story.” (SOURCE). 

While most times a game generates a story, Miyamoto was putting urban legends from Japan into a game that non-Japanese gamers would play and creeping us all out. I always wondered what that hand was.