Try Blowing on the Contacts
May 23, 2013 10:36 AM   Subscribe

ROM corruptions are games played in emulators where the files have been run through a program (for example: Corrupster, and The Vinesauce Corrupter) which makes changes to the game data while still allowing it to remain playable. This results in strange graphical and audial glitches, like character models exploding in to chaotic swirls, garbled sprite assignments, and music distorted in to fascinating new compositions. Some other still image examples from Max Capacity (previously). This forum thread has a guide on how to corrupt ROMs yourself. Some Youtube links NWS due to swearing.
posted by codacorolla (18 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is both truly boring and utterly pointless.

And I am a huge gamer!
posted by cbecker333 at 10:41 AM on May 23, 2013


That Sesame Street vid is both terrifying and fascinating at the same time.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:46 AM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


I like the idea that for a corruption to be interesting, it often needs to be limited--You can't just select random numbers for the coordinates of the vertices of a 3D model of Big Bird, because it would distribute his body across the entire (game) universe.
posted by jjwiseman at 10:47 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why not just play ROM CHECK FAIL
posted by to sir with millipedes at 10:47 AM on May 23, 2013 [10 favorites]


Previously: Cartridge Tilting (nothing to do with cows)

Also, Frying with the Atari 2600
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 10:50 AM on May 23, 2013


The Sesame Street one reminds me of the most bizarre youtube series I've found to date: eth snospis
posted by cmfletcher at 11:01 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


That Sesame Street was beautiful! Come and play, .... with fearful unknown dimensions.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:18 AM on May 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


Hu̸h?̀ ͝I do͢n͝'t͘ get ̸it. ̶Th̨e S̨es̸a̴mé Str͠ȩe̢t̵ ̀ga͝m͏e lo̧óks̢ ̕to͟ta̵ll҉y ̛no͞rmal to m͞e͏.
posted by oulipian at 11:37 AM on May 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


Several times now I've found myself wishing I hadn't made that Super Mario Bros. ROM corruption post three years ago, so that I could make it now. Maybe it's time to go round up new examples....
posted by JHarris at 11:43 AM on May 23, 2013


Ah here we go. WELCOME TO MADNESS.

I like the idea that for a corruption to be interesting, it often needs to be limited--You can't just select random numbers for the coordinates of the vertices of a 3D model of Big Bird, because it would distribute his body across the entire (game) universe.

It's not just that. The ROM contains the entirety of the game program (excepting what's in the BIOS or in the processor itself), and program code tends to be extremely fragile when corrupted. All you have to do is change one random instruction into a JMP and the program will almost certainly die when it hits that point.
posted by JHarris at 12:02 PM on May 23, 2013


cmfletcher, that reminds me of wendy vainity ("The Henry Darger of YouTube"), e.g. meow meow i am a cat, my crappy life, in crappy 3d animation, meow! sad toy cats.
posted by jjwiseman at 12:05 PM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oh, my good Lord.

Welcome to 8/16 bit games AS DIRECTED BY DAVID LYNCH.

Nightmarish in such a compelling way.
posted by Faintdreams at 12:31 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


@cmfletcher, nice! Reminds me of the sublime Bart the General series by Famicon.
posted by sixohsix at 1:00 PM on May 23, 2013


Holy crap! I thought the sesame street one was kind of meh, but the Link's Awakening one was some seriously trippy nostalgia for me. In the days before internet spoilers, I literally spent years trying to beat that game, so I recognized a lot of the scrambled places. When he jumped from the beach to the mountain I was like "whoa, that's on the other side of the map!"
posted by Joe Chip at 11:16 PM on May 23, 2013


The thing is, these games are so small that not only do mild changes not crash them, but they remain vaguely semantically valid.

The Legend of Zelda literally reuses program code, as sound effects, to save space. Some random routine sounds like a sword swipe when played through the synth, so boom, there ya go.
posted by effugas at 11:20 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


effugas, there's more than just that.

The original Legend of Zelda's overworld is split up into screens, each of which is composed of predefined vertical stripes of tiles. Play around with a Zelda map editor a bit and it soon becomes evident that the code must be extremely hacked-up, with all kinds of special cases for, say, being able to use the Ladder in the overworld, or whether it has a Whistle secret in the second quest.

It's worth noting that Zelda was originally a Famicom disk system game that had some markedly different sound effects and extra channels for the music.

Also, Super Mario Bros' "power up" noise is the same tune as the end-of-level flagpole victory fanfare, just sped up and played on a different channel. Also (although this has been oft-repeated by now) the background bushes are just recolors of the tops of clouds.
posted by JHarris at 1:02 PM on May 24, 2013


(And arcade Pac-Man reads arbitrary data in its processor address space to obtain random-enough numbers for vulnerable monster movement.)
posted by JHarris at 1:04 PM on May 24, 2013


JHarris--

COOL!
posted by effugas at 4:59 PM on May 26, 2013


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