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Thanks to the efforts of the Video Game History Foundation, another bit of Nintendo history has been preserved and released online. Yesterday, Frank Cifaldi (founder and director of VGHF) uploaded the ROM data for a prototype cartridge of the original Legend of Zelda on NES. Twitter user MrTalida then dug through the ROM data to spot any differences and a bunch of lines of code do seem to have changed before the final release.

The prototype cartridge, itself, is different from the retail version in that it is encased in a yellow housing. It looks rather ugly, but that was merely a shell for testing. The code, itself, is something I can’t quite attest to as I’m not sure how to read what MrTalida has shared. It’s fascinating that the entirety of The Legend of Zelda’s code can be reproduced in a single image, though. The only difference MrTalida has spotted is that a bug renders Link under the ground when he exits doors for a single frame. Strange.

In the coming weeks, fans will be combing through this prototype to see if Nintendo made any serious changes. I would imagine this earlier build is fairly close to a release state from the screenshot MrTalida has shared, but there could be something lurking within the data.

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Written by Peter Glagowski

Peter has been a freelance gaming and film critic for over seven years. His passion for Nintendo is only matched by the size of his collection.