How hackers changed the ending of Zelda Ocarine of Time on Nintendo 64

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Legendary game of his time, Zelda Ocarina in Time to 24 this year. And despite all this time, the famous Nintendo 64 cartridge has not revealed all its secrets …

The original Ocarina of Time cartouche

© Credit: Bryan Ochalla – Flickr (CC BY -SA 2.0)

If you were born in the 90s, you’ve probably played at least once Ocarina in Season. Released in 1998 in Europe, this installment of the series Zelda remarkably successful in his successful transition of the Hyrule kingdom from 2D to 3D. The title is so unique that it is entitled to a reissue of the 3DS in 2011. But did you know that it is possible to discover an alternative ending to the original 64 game, or rather to create another ending from the left? ?

To do this, there is no need to check the cartridge, solder accessories on your Nintendo 64 or tamper with the heart of the game through an emulator. All you need is four 64 controllers, an original game cartridge, and several years of programming experience. Easy!

One console, four controllers, one robot

In a video posted on the occasion of SGDQ 2022 (a charity festival hosted by video game personalities), a group of hackers showed how they changed pieces of code in the game quickly to recreate the missing sequences of the original title. By taking advantage of a bug in the game and using four controllers connected to a machine specially configured for speedrun (the practice of finishing a game as quickly as possible), it is possible to change the numerical value of certain items in the game to return them. to something else entirely. We can explore some regions of the game early on, change the dialogues and even insert characters that are usually not in the game.A cutscene with Zelda and Link in the version Breath of the Wild even included in the game.

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Illustration of Ocarina of Time feat

Link and Zelda 2017 version on a 1997 console

© dwangoAC, TASBot keeper

Technically, the method used is interesting. By performing a specific series of actions, in a specific sequence, it is possible to “break” the game and inject custom code into the console’s memory. Once the programming interface can be accessed, controllers 2, 3 and 4 controlled by TasBOT (the speedrun machine) will send commands to be interpreted by the console as game code changes. TasBOT will load the console’s RAM memory with code that doesn’t need to be in the cartridge. This makes it possible to create new game sequences, or dig into resources that are in the cartridge, but are hidden during “normal” game use.

Technically endless possibilities

From there, everything can be almost possible, because by changing the numeric values ​​assigned to an object or a character, we can change them if we want (within the capabilities of the N64) . Because this is exactly what this hack does: everything happens on the console. The code must be a machine that can generate code very quickly, but the information is passed through the controller ports and translated to the console. Point to hack the source code or modding here: everything happens in real time. Thus one can imagine 1001 adventures made by the fly in the worldOcarina in Season.

This is an original unaltered copy of the Ocarina of Time and a truly original N64. We didn’t change anything about the game in the first place. All we did was press the buttons on the four controllers quickly and very accurately with the help of TasBOT. This is Ocarina of Time in its original version, but there are a lot of bugs and a lot of exploits for bugs.“, explained one of the team members during the presentation.

Of course, maneuvering has its limitations. Leaving the scenario coded by TasBOT can cause the program to crash without being repaired. But the possibilities offered by this bug, and the fact that it technically requires nothing more than a console and four controllers, leave you speechless.

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