Lost in Code

The secrets that you never knew you never knew.

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 05/22/2014 13:00 1 Comment     ShareThis

Looking at Nintendojo’s various creepypasta and urban legends articles this week, one thing is for sure: the stuff people make up about video games is as interesting as the games themselves. I think it speaks to just how engaging the games we love are that fans world build around them so frequently and effortlessly. There’s another aspect of video games that I find equally interesting, however, and it’s the content and gameplay that almost was. The things that, for whatever reason, never made it beyond testing or a rough build. There are entire websites devoted to this very topic, most notable of which being The Cutting Room Floor, where hackers and coders peek behind the curtain into a game’s code and find all sorts of interesting things that players were never meant to see. Let’s look at some of the more oddball content squirreled away in the shadows of Nintendo discs and cartridges!

Young Link’s Workout

Game: The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask

What makes these discoveries so weird is that the data, though unused and often incomplete, is embedded in the games themselves. This isn’t stuff that someone found on a computer in Nintendo’s offices somewhere, or found on a flash drive floating down the river, but within the actual game coding. In this case, hackers discovered a video of Young Link doing a workout routine for one of the Great Fairies! The little guy struts his stuff, pulling off a variety of moves for reasons unknown. Whether it was part of a minigame or sidequest will probably remain a mystery forever, but it sure is funny to watch. There’s also a ton of leftover, unused items from Ocarina of Time, including music. Most likely because of it running off the same game engine, there are also some unused enemies, too, including Red Tektites.

The Hidden Book

Game: Super Mario Sunshine

This mystery is actually visible to anyone without having to do any code-sneaking, and very likely something that many people reading this have always wondered about. The book lying behind a door in Noki Bay sits just out of reach and oh-so tantalizing. One would think that some great purpose must have been tied to the seemingly-innocuous object, but the reality is… there is none. Apparently, the book isn’t even a separate item, but rather an actual molded piece of the environment. While it surely held some importance during development, its ultimate use has long since been lost to history, and isn’t even present in Sunshine‘s code. Biggest letdown, ever. There also some unused audio clips, textures, and rooms to be found, most notably a train system left out of the final game.

Wario Meets Samus

Metroid Fusion screen

Game: Metroid Fusion

Well, sort of. Assets from Wario Land 4 can actually be seen in Metroid Fusion‘s code, most notably some stone textures and crystals. What’s weirdest about this is thinking that the two titles had a common game engine! Fusion has other hidden goodies, though, including a chest exploding animation for a research scientist and an unused “Zombie Hangar Room.” There’s even an entire, unused Geega enemy, with his movement animation still intact.

Mario & Luigi & Star Fox & Wario &…

It’s a small image, but here’s a glimpse of what could have been.

Game: Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga

It’s not uncommon for Nintendo characters to make cameo appearances in one another’s games; Super Mario RPG actually set the precedent in Mario role-playing games right away with bit parts for Link and Samus. Mario & Luigi, however, was going to take things a step further with a whole plethora of character cameos! The interactions were set to revolve around the Starbeans coffee house, and were going to feature Wario, Fox McCloud, Slippy, Captain Olimar, Samus, an Excitebike racer, and Link! That’s a ton of characters, and the game’s code even houses animations of some of them along with entire chunks of dialogue. Talk about heartbreaking; this would have been great to see.

The Koopalings

Game: Super Princess Peach

Bowser’s children unrelated henchmen were going to be included in a big way in Super Princess Peach. The title features all seven of them rendered in the game’s style, who were apparently set to be bosses in the game. The sprites are very complete, and there’s even animation, but Nintendo pulled the plug on the kids’ return for unknown reasons. How they would have altered Super Princess Peach‘s story and gameplay is unclear, but it would have been one heck of a surprise!

Playable Giga Bowser

Game: Super Smash Bros. Melee

It’s old news now that Master Hand is playable via an exploit in Melee, but at one point, Giga Bowser was also selectable in the game. It’s likely that it was just for testing purposes, but his moveset is present in the game’s code. Also worth mentioning are three unlockable trophies (including Samus Unmasked!), which also feature some odd descriptions of Yoshis as “asexual” and Mario being around 26 years old. Too much information, Nintendo! Just to keep things extra scary, Daisy’s trophy has a third eye hidden under her hair! Brrr…

James Bond Reunion

Game: GoldenEye 007

Maybe one of the most jam-packed games featured here, GoldenEye is a treasure trove of unused content. The game was intended to have all James Bonds (up to that point in time) as playable characters in multiplayer and still houses their character models and textures. An entire ZX Spectrum emulator is present (a personal computer popular in Europe, years ago) with several games. Unused multiplayer levels, characters (including females), music, and much more can all be seen and heard. It’s like an entire extra game’s worth of content!

That was just a small sampling of what can be found in the deep, dark depths of our favorite Nintendo games. There’s a ton more out there, and worth investigating for the insatiable video game historian. What are your favorite obscure video game tidbits? Let us know in the comments!

One Response to “Lost in Code”

  • 111 points
    roykoopa64 says...

    I knew about some of this stuff, but not about Young Link’s workout, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga characters, or the Koopalings in Super Princess Peach. That workout video… wow, just wow. Crazy stuff.

    It’s cool that people dig through the games to find all this.

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