In this first weekly column where our Deputy Editor Daryl finds some good retro content, it's all about a recently discovered Zelda 64 prototype.
Game preservation is a topic that's only become more prominent as we try out streaming services and Netflix-style services on our consoles and gaming PC's.
However, there was a time where games in prototype form were only shown at certain events, such as Spaceworld 1997. Nintendo would show off demoes of their upcoming games, and at the time, everyone was wating to see how Zelda would transfer to the 3D environments.
Over the years, many screenshots have been seen of what came to be with a build that was called 'Zelda 64', featuring missing items and different uses for others.
However, on the 19th Jan, a build in a half-baked state was discovered, uncovering many assets that are lining up with what was shown back at Spaceworld 1997.
How was it found?
At first it was an interesting find; a development cartridge had F-Zero stored, and while a few were examining it, they discovered code that related to Zelda.
Eventually, it was found that the data lined up with what was shown back in 1997.
Unfortunately, due to the size of the F-Zero game, it had overwritten half of the 'Zelda 64' data, rendering it a showcase of what was once a full-prototype that was playable.
However, it didn't mean that all was not lost; with so much data that has already solved mysteries that have lasted almost twenty-four years.
What's in the Zelda 64 Prototype?
It's not even been a day, and yet there's far too many discoveries to mention.
One to highlight are the medallions. While in the final game they are a picture in the inventory screen and a narrative to the story, they could have been used for certain abilities. From being invisible to enemies, to being Navi herself.
There are also areas that show off their earlier states, that also showed up in magazines. One example is Epona's Range.
This is another holy grail of prototypes that seem to keep coming. From 2019's release of the Sonic 3 prototype, to last year's Nintendo 'Gigaleak', and then the Sonic 1 Prototype on New Years Day.
It was once settled that we would never see any of these prototypes. The passage of time would cause these to be lost forever, surviving only through screenshots. However, it's now a question of 'when', not 'if' we will be able to find other Zelda 64 prototypes and even others.
Discoveries are being found almost every hour, but 'The Cutting Room Floor' has a fantastic site where they're slowly adding discovered content to a dedicated page.