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Thank youu mARIO, bUTOUR &pRINC$ES$ &# aNO@**ER &?=)!&&&33377G
October 11, 2010 12:53 PM   Subscribe


 
I'm not sure why I enjoy these so much, but I do. I think I'm scanning them to watch for warning signs in case God ever decides to jiggle the switch himself.
posted by JHarris at 12:55 PM on October 11, 2010 [5 favorites]


This is awesome. Very much reminiscent of Street Fighter II Rainbow Edition.
posted by griphus at 12:57 PM on October 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Isn't this essentially what the Game Genie did? After I'd used up all the codes from the book, I spent a lot of time just putting in random codes, or codes for the wrong game. The results often looked quite a bit like this, though sometimes the differences were much more subtle.
posted by roll truck roll at 12:58 PM on October 11, 2010


Very cool! Reminds me of a weird hack version I saw of Street Fighter Alpha 3 for Atari. The characters are represented by HUGE blocks of color, but you still have the jump kick and sweep, so really, it feels just like playing SF!
posted by keithburgun at 1:00 PM on October 11, 2010


ha. Last time I played SMB was about two years ago, when I came home still very much under the influence of certain substances. Started with the intention of playing for 10 or 20 minutes and next thing I knew it was dawn. Anyways, good to see it hasn't changed much since that night.
posted by mannequito at 1:02 PM on October 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


Maybe Mario shouldn't have eaten so many mushrooms.
posted by Asparagirl at 1:14 PM on October 11, 2010


That's awesome! I guess this sort of trick probably wouldn't work on modern games, would it?
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 1:20 PM on October 11, 2010


I remember a Commodore game called The Last V8. I loved that game. Near the beginning of the game, there was a sort of wall that you weren't supposed to be able to drive through, but for some reason you could.

If you drove through that wall, you were in some kind of weird buffer overrun area filled with random bits of memory interpreted as game tiles. Usually it would kill you pretty quickly, since a lot of the tiles in the game did damage. But sometimes you could get a pretty long, insane run.
posted by gurple at 1:23 PM on October 11, 2010


Rad! Reminds me of the Paperboy finish line bug.
posted by porn in the woods at 1:28 PM on October 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Modern systems have typed languages and error handling. They'd just crash with an error message if subjected to this kind of stress.
posted by keratacon at 1:28 PM on October 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


keratacon: Modern systems have typed languages and error handling. They'd just crash with an error message if subjected to this kind of stress.

If they were programmed in assembly, however, they'd still exhibit this kind of weirdness unless they were implemented with lots of extra redundancy checking. And even then they might not; you're thinking about if the code were randomly permuted, but what would actually get scrambled would be the object code, which would be either straight machine code or bytecode analogue.

Graphics data usually permutes pretty well without actually causing crashes. Program data permutes badly, but when it works you get really weird results like the later links in the post. Midway between them is stuff like shallowly-compressed data, which games like Super Mario Bros. and Metroid used frequently to make the most of limited ROM space. If, say, a cloud is depicted internally as a code and a pair of coordinates pointing to a tilemap, it'll corrupt a lot better than if it were a tilemap: it could potentially produce interesting results if the garbage data hits either the code, the coordinates, or the tilemap itself.

A good thing to start with if you want to understand the kinds of behaviors that code corruption can produce is the classic hackersport Corewar, which has to do with two competing computer programs trying to overwrite each other in a cyclical memory arena.
posted by JHarris at 1:36 PM on October 11, 2010 [9 favorites]




gurple: I wanted to throw my joystick at the wall so many times trying to play that game. It was near impossible for me and I was never able to beat it!
posted by bayani at 1:41 PM on October 11, 2010


Also, the title of this post is brilliant, JHarris.
posted by bayani at 1:42 PM on October 11, 2010


when brought into being over an ocean immediately before a fatal heart attack

Oh no, not again.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:56 PM on October 11, 2010 [11 favorites]


This was touched on in a previous post, but I'm glad to have a dedicated followup.

The reason that frying works so well on NES games is the simple 8-bit code and small state space, like its even simpler cousin, the Atari 2600. If you turn the console on and off very quickly (best results are obtained when you make the switch hover in-between) interesting effects are obtained, similar to corrupting code in an emulator. Check out Pitfall or Centipede.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 2:01 PM on October 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


After I'd used up all the codes from the book, I spent a lot of time just putting in random codes, or codes for the wrong game. The results often looked quite a bit like this,

... God DAMN I wish I'd thought of that when I was 12.
posted by penduluum at 2:16 PM on October 11, 2010


THANK YOUâ–ˆMARIO!
BVT OUR PRINCESS JS IN
ANOTHER DASTLE!
posted by NMcCoy at 2:18 PM on October 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


That is one hardcore beat in the first video.
posted by kzin602 at 2:20 PM on October 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


I just read the actual text of the post and I am an idiot.
posted by roll truck roll at 2:26 PM on October 11, 2010


These are like the dreams I used to have after playing Mario all day.

Imagine if the developers of Mario had run a simple checksum over the data files to check for corruption, all of this fun would be lost!
posted by Joe Chip at 2:27 PM on October 11, 2010


This one is awesome.
posted by PercussivePaul at 2:28 PM on October 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


And there goes any chance I have of being productive today. Damn you.

Anything relating to Mario makes me a very happy boy.
posted by theichibun at 2:39 PM on October 11, 2010


Ah yes, there were many summer afternoons as an 8 year old at my friend's house intentionally mistyping game genie codes to elicit these crazy results. We naturally got bored pretty quick because the results were so random and often often didn't get anything special.

These videos brought much joy to my day. Thanks for this.
posted by triceryclops at 2:55 PM on October 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Related: Let's Break Pokemon Blue.
posted by ShawnStruck at 3:18 PM on October 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Man, I spent probably over a hundred hours screwing with Final Fantasy 2 (4j) on an SNES with a Game Genie - you could make the game do some extremely strange things by using a simple wall-walk code to get into locations which triggered scripts to fire at the wrong times. And that was just the beginning. Relatedly, there's a very substantial following for Smash Brothers Brawl hacking via Wii homebrew, of course the goal there is to improve the game, not screw it up.

But nothing will ever beat hex-editing Bungie's classic Myth to screw up the physics. There were some serious goodies to be had in there, and the game was very kindly structured by the developers for ease-of-hacking.
posted by mek at 3:31 PM on October 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


I have so many fond memories of Super Mario Bros.

When I was younger, my sister and I played the game so much that it became too easy for us. So, we turned the computer monitor we were playing it on upside down. Voila! A whole new game. Running right to left at the top of the screen. Much fun! Also, for some reason, it made the sky pinkish-purple.

My little brother and I used to play SMB all the way through start to finish, no warp zones, every Christmas Eve. It helped us get kill time waiting for Christmas morning to open our presents. We tried that with Wizards and Warriors, too short and Metroid, way too long. SMB was the perfect game for such time wasting.

When we got our Wii, I played the original Super Mario Bros and my husband could not believe all the tricks I knew...I was impressed I remembered them 20 years later. However, I am terrible at the additional Japanese SMB levels you can download.
posted by fyrebelley at 3:35 PM on October 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


Sadly the NES game genie had no way of going back so you could see the codes you put in, or I'd have been able to repeat the code I tapped in once that made Mario in SMB3 into a red-coloured frog-suit mario while walking, but back into regular Mario when you hit jump. Made the game a far sight more challenging.
posted by Space Coyote at 4:01 PM on October 11, 2010


THERE IS NO SPOON MARIO
posted by fungible at 4:04 PM on October 11, 2010


The music at 5:37 is an absolute masterpiece.

Holy crap it's like Koji Kondo and Anton Webern and Aphex Twin and Iannis Xenakis and Autechre all got together and threw a party and everyone was invited

TO DIE
posted by speicus at 4:59 PM on October 11, 2010 [6 favorites]


This happened completely accidentally to me as a kid (no game genie) and I still vividly remember it. I felt like I was Kyle MacLachlan in Blue Velvet, the world as I knew it was only barely concealing another much stranger reality just below the surface. I believe all of the Koopas had Mario heads instead of shells. Kind of disturbing.
posted by ryaninoakland at 5:20 PM on October 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ryaninoakland--

That's what happens in Super Mario World when you beat the last level in Special World. It was, in fact, pretty disturbing.
posted by thecaddy at 5:49 PM on October 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thanks for this post; I enjoyed it all the way through.

For some reason I can't quite put my finger on, the ones I like the most are the ones that ever-so-slightly subvert our expectations for Mario. Like the one where Mario goes into the 1-1 bonus room, and it looks completely normal until suddenly it starts scrolling like the overworld. It challenges your assumptions: why don't the bonus rooms scroll? Of course, there are often good technical and design answers to those questions, but it really reveals how our concretely we understand the rules of the game world without them being explicitly stated.

Also, on a less serious note, the one where the world turned gray, had a flag pole right at the beginning, and Mario slid down it only to walk off to his death made me lol.
posted by brett at 5:55 PM on October 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


If, say, a cloud is depicted internally as a code and a pair of coordinates pointing to a tilemap, it'll corrupt a lot better than if it were a tilemap

Argh, better than if it were just a tilemap.
posted by JHarris at 6:10 PM on October 11, 2010


This is how the world ends.
posted by Eideteker at 6:58 PM on October 11, 2010


This one reminds me of the dream where my face melts.
posted by Eideteker at 7:00 PM on October 11, 2010


My only encounter with this was when I'd jump over the flag pole, and continue into a repeating landscape until I ran out of time. Otherwise, any such distortion would lead to a rapid blow into the cartridge before reinsertion (did that really work?).
posted by ddaavviidd at 8:27 PM on October 11, 2010


That really hurt my eyes but it was fun watching.
posted by yeloson at 8:55 PM on October 11, 2010


@ddaavviidd blowing in theory would remove dust on the pin connectors. It probably also damaged the pins. That's why they sold overpriced alcohol pads an cotton swabs to clean out a cartridge.
posted by beardlace at 9:30 PM on October 11, 2010


I had this spontaneously happen to me with Final Fantasy III (6 in Japan). I used to tap my hands and feet along with the music. One day, I was just idly tapping L and R while battling. Apparently, if you do that while Relm is using her Sketch power, the game just FLIPS THE FUCK OUT. I ended up in some sort of weird alternate universe full of mysterious holes and gaps. Also, Terra was always in Esper form and was rainbow colored and Edgar was a stone golem of some kind. That's just the weirdness that I remember. It was nearly unplayable, but I've always kept the save on my cartridge out of sort of nostalgia for the time I Fucked Shit Up But Good.
posted by Scattercat at 9:37 PM on October 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


I think I'm scanning them to watch for warning signs in case God ever decides to jiggle the switch himself.

Hacking Centipede...good times, good times....
posted by retronic at 10:09 PM on October 11, 2010


You can get similar results by opening the ROM in Notepad and making small changes manually. As long as you keep the file length the same, there's a good chance the game will run.

My favourite 'hack' was the time that jumping on a goomba produced no effect but a little heart appearing above their head in place of the usual 100 points.
posted by seikleja at 10:28 PM on October 11, 2010


I had a Mario/Duckhunt cartridge way back when. It got dusty and made everything transparent. Everything was just an outline. You could see the pirahna plants chilling out in the pipes before you got there. All the flying koopas though? Duckhunt ducks. If you shot them with a fireball you got a 1-up. It was possibly the greatest thing. Then my babysitter says "Oh you just have to blow on it." *everything goes back to normal* I never really played Mario again.
posted by Peztopiary at 3:04 AM on October 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


bayani, I hear you. I hated that death music SO MUCH.
posted by No-sword at 3:56 AM on October 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ah, the days of intentionally half-inserting cartridges to see what crazy ass "games" result. Good times.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 5:55 AM on October 12, 2010


When Skynet takes over, these videos are going to be evidence in humanity's collective trial for crimes against machinery.
posted by Riki tiki at 9:26 AM on October 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is how the world ends

Well those Question Marks are there for a reason, right? This box: contains a coin. That box: FREEZES THE UNIVERSE.

Choose wisely!
posted by JHarris at 11:10 AM on October 12, 2010


Another project for the list: trying this with zcode.

Another project for Evil Zed's list: setting up an ifarchive mirror, and then trying this with zcode.
posted by Zed at 12:47 PM on October 12, 2010


The music at 5:37 is an absolute masterpiece.

Whenever a level is finished, that music plays. FOREVER: the game has to be reset right after. Mario hits the flagpole; the music becomes strange and dischordant; he walks on his own accord into the castle; the time runs down; and then, the music plays eternally, insanely, its piping horribly suggestive of Mario's unknown fate within the utter blackness of the archway.

Obviously, the castle door is a portal to Azathoth's court.
posted by JHarris at 6:39 AM on October 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ah, one I missed. I wanted to include this one in the FPP but couldn't find it.
posted by JHarris at 7:09 AM on October 13, 2010


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