Mario Land [Virtual Boy – Cancelled]

VB Mario Land is a cancelled game /  prototype of the Mario Virtual Boy game that actually became Mario Clash. Nintendo was originally developing this as a full mario platform game, as show at E3 1995. The original project was cut and Mario Clash became just a remake of the classic Super Mario Bros, with featured small 3-d elements to show what the Virtual Boy was graphically capable of. For example, some parts exchanged the original idea of warp pipes with 3-d doorways that players enter by pressing up on the D-pad.

You can find more infos at Planet Virtual Boy


Project Zelda 3D: The Development of Zelda 64

Project Zelda 3D: The Development of Zelda 64


We know, Zelda: Ocarina of Time was a great game and one of the most popular titles in the Zelda series. But was it really as good as it could have been? Unfortunately when Nintendo started to work on their first 3D Zelda game, they planned many interesting concepts that were never implemented in the final game. Why? What happened to Zelda 64 and why Ocarina of Time is just a tiny part of their original project? Take some time and be prepared for one of the most epic legends ever: birth, development, death and rebirth of the Zelda 3D project for Nintendo 64, a game that was so ambitious that it was never really completed.

[Original article written in Italian in 2002 by monokoma, english translation by Yota in 2008, updated, fixed and expanded by monokoma in 2014.]

The Legend Of Zelda: 64DD

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The first version of Zelda 64 was originally conceived as a title developed specifically to make full use of the innovative features of the 64DD, like the internal clock, rewritable disks with more space than a normal N64 cartridge, internet connection and 3D editing. Zelda 64DD was planned to be a revolutionary game, that would have not be possible to be made on a normal Nintendo 64Miyamoto and his team wanted to make Hyrule a persistent world: any changes that Link would perform on it would be saved on the disk: any cut tree, any broken container and any other changes made to the environment would have been saved in the game for the entire adventure (a feature that was later used in Dōbutsu no Mori / Animal Crossing for the N64).

This would have been possible thanks to the 64 Disk Drive features, but when the add-on was released in Japan it sold very poorly, as other failed console add-ons. The market was not interested. The 64DD was postponed for so long that even Nintendo lost faith on their ambitious project. As the sales of the N64 were not great, Nintendo had to make a choice and they announced that Zelda 64 would be released on a traditional N64 cartridge. Without the 64DD hardware, Nintendo had to remove many of the interesting features that were planned for Zelda 64DD and the port from 64DD to N64 had a huge impact on many sections of the game, that had to be changed or removed.

Some interesting info on the early development of Zelda 64 can be found on Ocarina of Time Iwata Asks:

Koizumi: All kinds of things, like battles using a sword and battling lots of enemies. The Super Mario 64 project had passed by incredibly quickly, so a lot that I wanted had gone undone and I wanted to pour all those leftover ideas into The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

Iwata: In the end, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time eventually became a massive project that mobilized nearly everyone who belonged to EAD at that time, but how many people did you start with?

Koizumi: Three.

Osawa: Before Koizumi-san joined, (Jin) Ikeda-san6 and I started it just the two of us!

Iwata: When people talk about The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, they mention various things like an epic story, solving puzzles, trotting across a broad field on a horse and how cool Link is, but it began with the single theme of making a Zelda game that included chanbara-style swashbuckling!

Some more info can be found in various articles and interviews:

Ocarina of Time was originally designed with the N64 Disk Drive in mind, and in the future, we’d like to make use of some of those unrealized ideas intended for the N64 DD. – Nintendo Power Shigeru Miyamoto Interview

The game Zelda designer Shigeru Miyamoto and his team wanted to create would be set in a persistent world. Every change Link would make to his surroundings would stick. If you smashed a box, it would stay broken. If you dug a hole, it would remain there until you covered it. If you left footsteps in the sand, they would stay. All this was supposed to be made possible by the enhanced storage space of the 64DD. IGN: Hyrule Times Volume 4

Some magazines scans that covered Zelda 64 with 64DD features:

A great video documentary about the initial development of Zelda 64DD was created by Adam Hendrickson and you can see it below:

The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time

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Ocarina of Time, the first 3D Zelda game, managed to preserve the feeling of the series and it was an huge success. Released in winter 1998 on the Nintendo 64, Ocarina of time was however a mere shadow of his former self, the revolutionary Zelda 64DD. Hidden in the game’s code it’s still possible to find many unused leftovers from the original concept and some of the unused features that would have been used while connecting Zelda: Ocarina of Time to the 64DD. With a Gameshark it’s even possible to play some weird beta events. Ocarina of Time is a great game, but because of all the cuts and changes made to the project, we may never know how the game was really meant to be.

There were actually also some ideas I wanted to incorporate, but because of the time shortage, I couldn’t — and if I may add this, I am not completely satisfied with the 3D system in Zelda, so if we could have had more time maybe it could have been somewhat different. But because at some point we have to finish our games, the new ideas we have may be incorporated in some sort of other game in the future. – Shigeru Miyamoto with IGN, January 1999

The Legend Of Zelda: URA

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Zelda URA (“Another Zelda” in japanese) is one of the most popular and interesting tales in the Zelda history. After Ocarina was downgraded to be played on a plain N64 cartridge, Nintendo planned to create a 64 disk expansion with some of the features that had to be cut from the original game. As the released (only in Japan) F-zero 64DD expansion, Ura was meant to add more content to Ocarina Of time, with new mini-games, new sub-quest, redesigned and new dungeons. In an interview, Miyamoto tells us that when the player would have completed Ocarina of Time, with Zelda Ura he could revisit the same world, but with new features, new characters and more places to explore. Many questions and mysteries from Ocarina of Time would be aswered in Ura, like the invincible runner from Hirule Field, the Unicorn Fountain, the Ocarina Pedestal and many others.

This game was designed so it can be applied to the disk drive system, and by hooking up the N64 DD, you can play another version of Zelda. By that method, all the dungeons will be replaced by new ones. I think that will be the next Zelda we will make. – Nintendo Power Shigeru Miyamoto Interview

Zelda URA features planned for the 64DD:

  • Ura Zelda supposedly unlocked new mini-games, new sidequests, characters and shuffled around items to give Zelda players some new stuff to do in the familiar world of Hyrule.
  • Shigeru Miyamoto told us shortly before the launch of Ocarina of Time, that “you first play the initial disk version of Zelda — after finishing everything, you can enter into the world, into the basic design of the same.
  • It’s very much a parody game based on Ocarina of time, but with new dungeons to explore. It even features the same storyline. (from IGN64)
  • The title might support the GB Camera to create masks for Link. Miyamoto hinted of this possibility in a 64 Dream interview. If this does turn out to be true, gamers will be able to create their own masks in Talent Studio and implement them into Ura-Zelda. IGN:  The Legend of Zelda DD / 22 Sep 1999 (this was working and was shown for Mother 3)
  • Ocarina Of Time was design with the introduction of the DD in mind, and if you load the game with the drive connected to your system, you will see a screen option, which says “Ura Zelda” another version of Zelda.
  • There were several ideas I could not incorporate into Zelda because of the lack of time and various other factors. For example, I wanted to creat some extra dungeons for those who had completed the quest. – Next-Generation magazine Feb 1999 (?)
  • The 64DD adventure is said to enable gamers to revisit areas and dungeons of Ocarina of Time and experience new adventures in familiar surroundings.
  • Miyamoto: “Whether or not we release it or not, we are still working on the game.”
  • Ura-Zelda isn’t so much a new game as it is an expansion to an existing one: Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (it is not compatible with Majora’s Mask).
  • One of the few features that Nintendo told us about was the addition of new mask quests. Apart from the existing masks, Ura Zelda was to include many more — some of which were no doubt included in Majora’s Mask.
  • August 25/2000: Speaking to the press in an open forum held yesterday in Tokyo, Japan, Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto casually commented that “Ura-Zelda” (aka: Legend of Zelda DD) has been completed for some time now.
  • Ura Zelda could not be played without owning Ocarina of Time.

Some magazines scans that covered the Zelda 64DD expansion:

The Legend Of Zelda: Beta Quests

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The Ocarina of Time Beta Quests are weird events and scenarios not seen in the normal game, but that can be reached thanks to some Action replay/Game Shark codes. There is an incredible number of variants in the beta quests, and most likely no one has really seen them all: some of these are connected with the new features planned for Zelda URA, while in others it’s still possible to see some of the items unused when Zelda 64 was ported from 64DD to cartridge, or just strange places and glitched areas. Certainly a precious source of information to dream about the beta of Zelda 64.

The Legend Of Zelda: Master Quest

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Released as a preorder bonus for Wind Waker, Master Quest was essentially an edited version of Ocarina of time with redesigned dungeons. The order of the rooms was changed, as many of the puzzles. The Outside world is still  the same as Ocarina of Time, and it was a great bonus for gamers that already completed the main game, just like the original NES Zelda’s Second Quest. Master Quest is probably only a small part of the original Zelda Ura for 64DD.

Some magazines scans that covered Zelda Master Quest:

Zelda: Master Quest features on GameCube:

  • In the Deku Tree there’s this one chest I can’t open… it looks like a big blue box with a fancy design on it… and there’s a track next to it, as if it could be pushed or pulled… except it can’t.
  • The dungeon maps are all (supposedly) the same. It’s just the insides that are different.
  • Music seems to be exactly the same as the N64 version. The game select screen at the very beginning has a nice rendition of the classic Zelda theme.
  • The general map layout of the first dungeon is the same, but the puzzles, enemies, enemy locations and item locations are different. For example, many of the torches, chests, crates, floating platforms and the like have been mixed up and moved around, and some rooms have different requirements for you to fulfill in order to be able to proceed.
  • Also, remember those little mini-gohmas that Gohma dropped from the ceiling during the boss fight? Well, they’re all over the dungeon now… in eggs. When you get close to one, it pops out of its egg and starts attacking.
  • One room in the Deku Tree is full of tombstones with little Triforce designs on them. If you hit them with your sword, items pop out (rupees, hearts, etc.). I don’t remember anything like this in the original Ocarina.
  • Enemies are tougher. Some that required one hit in Ocarina require two in Ura. I’m not sure if they do more damage or not, though.
  • Also noted, some of the enemies, like the Deku Babas (Venus Flytrap head things) will some times be larger, which take more hits to kill. Enemy placement is different. Places where there would be a Deku Scrub, there may be a Deku Babas, or something.
  • Dodongo’s Cavern and Jabu-Jabu were both remixed nicely. In the case of Jabu-Jabu, there are cows lodged in the walls all throughout the dungeon now. :) You have to hit them with the slingshot or boomerang to make them drop chests or open doors and whatnot. It’s pretty cool.
  • I’m probably about 50% to 60% of the way through Ura Zelda, and to this point, the -only- changes are inside the dungeons. The overworld stuff is all exactly the same as in Ocarina of Time.
  • They added in more of those blue boxes that you can make appear/disappear with the ocarina, and they shuffled around some platforms and whatnot, but otherwise the layouts have been mostly the same.
  • The Ice Cave has areas that were featured in earlier shots, remember the two ice horses looking down? Well this is actually a new puzzle which is hella cool.
  • There is also a new mini boss which is a mutated version of a white Wolfos.
  • There are three new rooms in Ice Cavern with different puzzles.
  • The game is IDENTICAL to OoT, except for the dungeons.
  • There are NO extra items.
  • The fire temple plays almost completely backwards.
  • Lizard guy. Half-way bosses in the fire dungeon. They appear all over the place now, but also ones with white trimmings that seem to fight better.
  • A bigger blue floating jellyfish, that appear in Lord Jabu Jabu.
  • I also encountered a “mother” sand dweller. You know those plants that surface in the desert and come at you. This one was bigger and black.
  • The Thieves Cave (where you win the Ice Arrows) is a pain and a half. A lot of rooms with time limits. Especially one where you have to defeat an axe armour guy in sand, which makes your movement difficult, with a strict time limit.
  • There seem to be more “kill every enemy to open a door” rooms with more, strong enemies.

The Legend Of Zelda: Debug ROM

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This debug version of Ocarina of Time was leaked online many years after the original release of the game. It’s a version of the game that developers used for testing specific section of Ocarina of Time, and it is possible to go anywere inside the ROM code with a debug menu.  The most interesting part of the Zelda Ocarina of Time debug rom is, of course, that you can still find many leftovers from the beta, like some removed locations and models seen in the early screenshots and videos. Another interesting fact about the debug rom is that it should be based on Master Quest, as it was probably used to test and develope this GameCube bonus.

The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time 3DS

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Released in June 2011, this game is a full remake of Ocarina of Time and many gamers hoped that Nintendo could have added some of the removed Zelda 64 features as a bonus content. Sadly Zelda 3DS doesn’t have many differences apart from the graphic upgrade and the unbeatable runner in the Hirule Field is still unbeatable. The 3DS remake contains modified Master Quest dungeons and mirrored overworld in addition to the original game. Maybe the mirrored overworld was planned for URA Zelda too? It was not included in the GameCube Master Quest so it’s something that was not fully developed yet.

In this video you can see all the differences between Zelda 3DS and Zelda N64:

The Legend Of Zelda: Gaiden

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When Nintendo decided that the first Zelda for the Nintendo 64DD was being ported to cartridge, they began to develop a new Zelda game for the 64DD. The title, formerly known under the codename Zelda Gaiden, would have fully used all the 64DD features, especially the internal clock. In Gaiden gamers would have played as Link trapped for a week (yes, 7 days!) into a strange world on the verge of destruction. At the end of the seventh day, a natural disaster would have occured and to sruvive Link would have to travel back in time, trying to find a way to save the Termina. It was also possible to buy “more time” with rupies.

Later identified as Legend of Zelda: Gaiden (when it once again moved to cartridge), this title again starred young Link who was supposed to spend a week in a doomed world. After seven days, a disaster would destroy everything and Link would have to travel back in time to avoid it. IGN: Hyrule Time Volume 4

Environmental and time changes were going to be saved in the rewritable section of the special 64DD disks, thus influencing the events of the seven days. Another interesting feature would have been a new version of the great fishing mini-game already seen on Ocarina of Time, this time called Jabu Jabu fishing. Miyamoto even said that to stop the moon (or to stop time?) you would have needed to fish Jabu Jabu, the fish-god, but it could have been a joke.

With the 64DD failure, Gaiden was cut and quickly redeveloped for a release on the standard Nintendo 64, which was then already being forgotten because of the “next-gen” consoles (Dreamcast, PS2, Xbox and GameCube).

There will be no version of Gaiden for the 64DD. “We have made various changes to the engine, so it is only going to work on cartridge,” said Miyamoto – IGN:  The Legend of Zelda DD / 22 Sep 1999

Since the game was originally designed to run on 64DD, a unit that required the 4MB RAM expansion, it’s no surprise that Gaiden (now on cart) will support the RAM Pak.

As we can read on IGN64, Zelda Gaiden was meant to be a different game than Zelda URA:

In an interview with Japanese game magazine Famitsu Weekly, Shigeru Miyamoto confirmed once and for all that the cartridge-based Zelda Gaiden and the long talked-about 64DD Ura Zelda are two separate projects.

Thanks to Glitterberri’s translations we can read more about the development of Majora’s Mask.

Koizumi: That’s what he told us! I remember thinking to myself “That’s not helpful at all!” [Laughs] I’d originally been designing a board game, based around the theme of cops and robbers. I wanted to make it so that you technically had to catch the criminal within a week, but, in reality, you could finish the game in an hour. I figured I’d just throw what I already had into Majora’s Mask.

From Iwata Asks interview for the release of Majora’s Mask 3DS we can read more info on the these differences:

Aonuma: Right. But at first, it was one week.
Iwata: Three days was originally one week?
Aonuma: That’s right. But when you returned to the first day it was like “Do I have to go through an entire week again…”, so we thought three days would be just right.
Iwata: Wait, it got decided just like that? (laughs)
Aonuma: (laughs) In this game the townspeople do different things each day and many different things happen, but when the timespan becomes a week, that’s just too much to remember. You can’t simply remember who’s where doing what on which day.
Iwata: moreover, you probably wouldn’t have been able to make it in a year if you were aiming to make a game filled with so much content for seven days.
Aonuma: right, we never would have been able to do it. We felt it would be best to make it a three-step process, and we compressed all sorts of things we had planned for over a week into three days.
Aonuma: The development of Ocarina of Time was so long, we were able to put in a whole lot of different elements into that game. Out of those, there were ideas that weren’t fully utilized, and ones that weren’t used to their full potential. One of those was the mask salesman8.

The Legend Of Zelda: Majora’s Mask

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Released for Nintendo 64, the “sequel” of Ocarinaof Time lacked many of the features of the original 64dd version. Four days out of the original seven were removed, some dungeons were never completed, and many subquests never seen the light (or who knows.. maybe they were reused in Wind Waker). Yet, even so heavily redesigned, Majora’s Mask is certainly one of the best and most interesting games of the Zelda series.

Thanks to Glitterberri’s translations we can read more about the development of Majora’s Mask. The team planned to finish the game in 1 year and in that short time they surely had to cut some things from the project:

However, it really only takes a year to make the game itself. For Majora’s Mask, we had 30 to 50 staff members working on the game right from the get-go. With amount of resources required for a Zelda game, we had everyone working overtime. Striving for a unique experience with every game makes for hard work. And we did manage to do that with Majora’s Mask. So, all in all, I can say that it made for one strenuous year.

A Link To The Past


But what of the original Zelda 64 project has been left hidden inside the final games?  Thanks to countless hours of exploration spent in the two games, hackers kills and Gameshark codes, it’s possible to find some interesting unused content in all the N64 Zeldas.

Zelda 64DD / URA > Ocarina Of Time


In the Japanese version of Ocarina of Time, when a 64DD is connected, a screen is displayed that warns the player to insert the Zelda URA disk.

The Hyrule Field Runner, found in Gerudo Valley, is famous for his unbeatability. In fact, even stopping the time with a Gameshark and finishing the course with a 0:00 timer, the runner will always say that he has already beated you by 1 second. Nintendo admitted that is not possible to beat him in Ocarina of Time, and it was probably going to be a new quest for Zelda Ura, using a new item to beat him.

When checking the text inside the Ocarina Of Time rom code, it’s possible to find some sentences that don’t appears in the final game, like “Hi! I’m a talking door!”- “The Entrance to the Past” – “The Entrance to the Present” – “The Entrance to the Future” – WHAAAT!? Look at all those flags! Can you figure out which ones are real? –  This door is currently being refurbished [Thanks to Triforce of the Gods for the contribution!]


Thanks to some Gameshark codes, it’s possible to find this unused ice structure in one of the Beta Quests, a model that was later used in Master Quest.


In a Beta Quest you can see a strange pedestal with an Ocarina icon, never used in the final game but maybe connected in some way or another with Zelda Ura or with the beta game. The pedestal is located at Zora Domain, at the entry of the Jabu Jabu’s mouth.

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These two icons left inside the rom of Ocarina can be translated as Wind Medallion and Ice Medallion, and they are most likely the leftovers of two temples removed from the final game and probably scheduled for Zelda Ura.


It’s also possible to find two unused tunics which perhaps were going to be used in the removed dungeons: The golden one (Light Temple?) and the white one (Ice Temple ?).

In the secret cave across the entrance of Gerudo Valley, it’s possible to find one of the gossip stones. The message that the stone says is: “They say that there is a switch you can only activate by using the spin attack“, but in the game there isn’t a button which it is activated only with the spin attack, and then it is likely that it refers to a puzzle of URA. UPDATE:  Thanks to Ultraman82 we found out that in Ocarina of Time there is really a switch that should be activated only with a Spin Attack. Is this one in the Water Temple:

In reality, the 3D engine collisions in the game is not perfect, so you can activate it with the Biggoron Sword too (because is longer than the normal sword), but otherwise only a spin attack can activate it!

One of the first NPCs that were shown was a girl named “Aria” that could have had a central role in Zelda 64DD. This character and her 3D model were never used in the final game, but hidden in the game’s code the data for Aria’s 3D model were found and restored in all their glory, as you can see in the image below. As far as we know, there are no official info about who Aria was and what her role could have been.

Aria in Zelda 64DD

Aria in Zelda 64DD

Aria restored model in Ocarina of Time

aria restored model in ocarina of time

Another strange message of one of the gossip stones at Zora’s River is: “They say that there is a man who can always be found running around Hyrule Field”, but this statement is pointless because in order to read the advice you need the Mask of Truth, available only when you have already met the Hyrule Field runner.


A code for the Game Shark can instead make appear in the Kokiri village an Air Wing , a spaceship (for those who don’t know) used in another Nintendo game, Star Fox. The polygonal model is perfectly animated, with a laser gun that attacks Link, and when hit it even falls down and explodes..therefore it seems much more than a simple model left inside the game. Maybe it was originally used for an easter-egg quest, available only with URA.


Inside the Debug Rom of Ocarina of Time: Master Quest it is possible to find a room not available in the final game, but showed many years from the release of Zelda 64 in many beta screenshots. This beta room was left inside the rom all these years..Nintendo forgot it because it didn’t notice it or for another reason ? We are still researching the secrets of this new Debug Rom.. and maybe some day it will be possible to find even the fabled Unicorn Fountain.


Here is another beta room from the Debug version of Ocarina of time, which was first showed in many old screenshots of the game, and that is was also left inside Ocarina of Time all these years..


Another beta room not available in the final version of Ocarina of Time, but explorable in the Debug Rom.

As Ocarina of Time was released to be ready with the 64DD Expansion, in the final game is still possible to find the icons for the Zelda URA saves:


 Nintendo 64DD extension of Ocarina of Time is the existence of N64DD Save Files. They can be created on a real N64 by slowly pulling out the left side of the cartridge while copying a file. Files created this way have a “Disk” tag attached to it and cannot be opened, as they’re grayed out. Trying to copy or delete such files crashes the game.  Version 1.2 clears this flag before displaying the menu, so the tag can’t be seen.

Do you know some more beta connections? Leave a comment below!

Ocarina Of Time / URA > Gaiden / Majora’s Mask


Even if not normally found in the game, the Blue Fire of Ocarina of Time was left inside the final version of Majora Mask. Unfortunately, it is possible to see it only with a code for Gameshark.


Another two items from Ocarina of Time not used in the final version of Majora Mask: The Fairy Ocarina and The Fairy Slingshot.


The photo on the left show the beta design of the treasure boxes in one of the old versions of Ocarina of Time. In the final game they were replaced with another kind, but, as you can seen from the screen on the right, they were later reused in Majora.

It seems like that some of the Skulltula House of Majora Mask were originally beta dungeons of Ocarina of Time which were never completed but later rearranged for the sequel.

The Bunny Hood is one of the mask of Majora, used to go faster. In Ocarina of Time. the runner says that with this mask you could run faster and became unbeatable. So it is likely that it was one of the new skills of the masks in Zelda Ura, and with one this mask it was finally possible to beat the runner. When Zeldan Gaiden was began, some of the ideas for the new masks were taken from the same characteristics of the masks featured in URA.

Do you know some more beta connections? Leave a comment below!

Zelda URA / Ocarina Of Time > Zelda 3DS

As we can read from TCRF, some unused items and file names are hidden in Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3DS and those have some interesting relations with Zelda URA and the development of the original game:

The texture file used for choosing the Master Quest option from the menu screen is called ura.ctxb.

The mirrored maps used in the Master Quest have “DD” in the filename, a reference to the Disk Drive.

As the Forest Temple was once a Wind Temple in Ocarina of Time, some file are still named with their “wind” name: NA_BGM_OCA_WIND, kazenomenuetto.csab (Minuet of Wind), zelda_gi_melody_wind.cmb, mjin_flash_model_wind,

Also, the Water Temple was once referred as an Ice Temple: zelda_gi_melody_ice.cmb, mjin_flash_model_ice

Zelda Gaiden > Majora’s Mask


Thanks to the Gameshark it is possible to make appear this unused item in Majora Mask’s inventory. It’s probably just a fish or a bait in a bottle. The japanese text tells us that the item is called “Hyrulian Dojo”, and it is most likely a leftover from the already quoted fish mini-game that was going to be available in Zelda Gaiden.


Another text not used in the final version of Majora, The “Grandma’s Drink“, probably a potion like the one from Wind Waker.

As we can read on TCRF, in Majora’s Mask there’s an hidden Link Mask, that is unused in the final game. It seems that Skull Kid could have used this mask in Zelda Gaiden for some reasons, maybe a removed cutscene or a different ending? In early Zelda Gaiden screenshots we can see that there was an Adult Link Mask, but we don’t know if these 2 are related somehow.

Zelda Gaiden Link Mask


Do you know some more beta connections? Leave a comment below!

Once Upon a Time


The original story of Zelda 64 was different

Link is preparing for his coming-of-age ceremony, in which he will receive his guardian spirit. In the tradition of his people, children receive a fairy from the Fairy Tree when they reach adulthood. This fairy becomes a person’s lifelong familiar. The fairy accompanies the youthful adventurer seeking his or her fortune in the maze-like forest or in the lands beyond. Link’s ceremony, however, is not destined to be a happy one. The Fairy Tree, source of guardian spirits, is captured by a strange creature from the depths of the forest. Link is able to locate his guardian spirit, Navie, and with her help, slay the creature. However, in the process, the Fairy Tree is grievously damaged. As its life force ebbs, the Fairy Tree speaks the words that will shape Link’s destiny.

“Do not allow the thief, Gannondorf, to claim the Triforce … ” the Tree mystically communicates. “Oh brave one, you must take this sacred stone to a wise man….”

Gannondorf was infamous throughout the land for his evil practices as the king of thieves. He lusted for the power of the Triforce and searched throughout Hyrule for its resting place, most recently plunging into the forest of Link’s people. Link knew he was in grave danger should Gannondorf find him. He took the sacred stone from the Fairy Tree and set out for Hyrule Castle, the capital of the Hyrulian people. Upon entering the castle, Link is welcomed by the young Princess Zelda, a woman of the Hyrulian royal family about the same age as he. She is well aware of the crisis facing the land of Hyrule. Zelda relates further details about the Triforce’s hiding place, telling Link that he needs to find the three sacred stones that fit into a magical Ocarina, which serves as the key to hidden realm. Link’s race with the evil Gannondorf to find the sacred stones and the hiding place of the Triforce is on!

The End.

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Zelda: The Wind Waker [Beta – Gamecube]

The Legend of Zelda – 2000

At Nintendo’s Space World event in 2000, various videos were shown promoting Nintendo’s upcoming console, the Gamecube. One of the videos Nintendo presented was a short clip of a swordfight between Link and Ganondorf.

This clip led many fans to believe there would be a darker, more realistic Zelda on the horizon. Many other clips shown later became announced as full games (such as Metroid Prime), so it was fair to assume that this was the direction Nintendo was taking for their next Zelda project.

However, at E3 2001, Nintendo’s formal debut of the next Zelda surprised many players. Shown for the first time was a trailer that showcased a cel-shaded Link and much more cartoon-inspired art direction.

At this point, it’s likely the game had little content beyond essential gameplay mechanics and graphics. There was most likely little to no story in place at this time. The bulk of development would have occurred after this point.

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker Beta

The development process of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker was heavily influenced by the last two console Zelda projects: Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask. In a sense, Wind Waker widely acted in part as a tech demo for everything the Zelda team could not accomplish on the Nintendo 64. Things such as weather and a lack of loading screens in the overworld were all planned from the beginning.

Much of Wind Waker remained unchanged from initial concept to final release, largely due to the game being so concretely planned beforehand and not facing any major developmental issues, unlike its predecessors. What the game essentially started as was a technical showcase of everything the development team wanted in their last two titles. If anything, the largest changes pertained to the game’s storyline.

Zelda Wind Waker beta plot coming of age

Wind Waker’s original story was much more related to the original story of Ocarina of Time (seen above), which initially followed Link undergoing his coming-of-age ceremony. While Wind Waker’s final story was quite different, many thematic elements of the game’s story relate to the concept of coming-of-age.

zelda wind waker adult link growing-up

This method of storytelling was originally going to be something visually apparent in the game, where Link would visibly grow older as the game progressed. Many pieces of unused game elements have been recovered from the Wind Waker game data. While many of them are merely alternate versions of things that made it into the final game, there are still many oddities worth examining.

Unused Wind Waker Assets

Development Screenshot

Perhaps the game’s most discussed element is its cel-shaded art style. The Zelda team explained that they believed this approach allowed for much more emotion to be communicated by the game’s characters, as a realistic art style makes it much harder to convince a player of emotion. Resulting from this was a large amount of highly detailed and expressive characters throughout the game, as well as a very emotionally-driven story.

On this page you can see images taken from the various beta builds of  Zelda: the Wind Waker, as well as old art of the characters that would later populate the world. As you can see, the differences are clear: in the first video from Space World 2001, which aroused so much buzz because of its original style, the Link design was even more minimalist than the final version’s design.

Another interesting detail is the color of Link’s shirt; it changed from brown, the color he wore in the first game of the series, to light green. The HUD and button layout were changed over time for many times. The old character concept art clearly shows a different Link design from the released version of the game. It’s interesting that Nintendo originally planned to use an “older” Link design for the story, even if he was always in cartoon-style.

Thanks to Jay and 8PM for the english corrections! Thanks to Bryan for the updated description!

You can find more info about The Legend Of Zelda: The Wind Waker in the Zelda Wiki!




Zelda: Twilight Princess [Beta / Unused Stuff]


Twilight Princess is the second Zelda released for GameCube (and the first for Wii), it had a long development cycle of nearly four years and the final game turned out to be a lot different from what was first revealed in 2004. Some areas and dungeons were removed, while the surviving sections were heavily modified.

The game was developed by the same team that created the cel-shaded Wind Waker, and as a result some things were re-used, such as the games battle and movement systems. It’s possible to find some unused items in the game-code, like the original Wind Waker baton and the Spoils Bag from WW.

As we can read from an interview with Aonuma on GameInformer:

I should point out that this is something we actually considered during the development of Twilight Princess. We had an early iteration of the wolf transformation where you couldn’t transform when in front of other characters that could see you. We thought this would be an interesting way to address exactly the thing you’re bringing up here, but what we found in practice was that it was simply too troublesome. So for purely practical game reasons we decided to avoid that.

Gabrielwoj discovered that probably all the WindWaker items were to be used in the game, but only the models have been found. (see them below).

For more infos, check the Zelda: Twilight Princess Beta Analysis

Thanks to Jay for the english corrections! Thanks to KEK8, Jamie, Z3LER, gabrielwoj and Shadowdorothy for the contributions!

You can find more info about The Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess in the Zelda Wiki!


Update Images: Wind Waker Items (click on them to open on a new tab)
(there actually some 4 copies of the same bottles)

It’s possible to see some of them on the videos on below, example? The Bomb Plants, it uses the same model…

The unused items:

The Hookshot (The only 3D Zelda that don’t have Hookshot [there is only a Clawshot, similar to Hookshot, but not the same)]

Elixer Soup from the Wind Waker

The Mirror Shield (the Only 3D Zelda that doesn’t have Mirror Shield)

Probably, Navi on a Bottle

Poe on a Bottle (Just like Zelda Ocarina of Time)



Super Mario World [Beta / Unused – SNES]

The formula setup by Super Mario Bros. 3 established the foundations for the SNES successor Super Mario World. Thanks to these uncovered beta photographs, the evolutionary connections from Super Mario Bros. 3 to Super Mario World are a bit more apparent. Interesting enough is that “World” once started out as simply Super Mario Bros. 4. Its “World” subtitle did not come development had actually progressed into planning and pre-production stages.

The images in this article represent a starting point as Nintendo journeyed from Super Mario Bros. 3 on the NES to what would eventually become World. The structure of the geography, different icons, alternative floor on the castle entrance and castle texture, the flying fortresses and even mushroom houses show some serious evolutionary ties to its Mario Bros. 3 roots.

[Original description in italian by Sig. Bakke, english translation by MajorTom]

Would you like to play the Super Mario World beta? Check our Super Mario World Beta Remake Project!


Test map e Unused Characters from:

Thereʼs very little to say regarding the over world map. The beta version seems to have accommodated a much smaller adventure than what was produced in the final version. In this article, there are two opening screens. One of which shows “Super Mario World” against a “beta” world map. This opening showed a very muted color scheme and a 1989 copyright date. This opening screen could have been one of the earliest known builds Nintendo made during its transition from the NES to SNES hardware. The second title screen does not show any copyright date but what is notably different from the final version is that Nintendo excluded “Super Mario Bros” from the title in the final build.

On screen elements during game play have changed. Notably, there used to be Yoshi sign that disallowed the usage of a Yoshi (or specific colored Yoshi) after the player walked past that sign. Signs similar to these would reappear in the semi-sequel Yoshiʼs Island (with signs limiting Yoshiʼs power-up as it walks past them). In the Donkey Kong Country 2 & 3 games (which share various similarities with SMW), silimar signs appear for animal buddies – a possible influence for Rare.

Other small differences to note are beta sprites. Mario and the Koopas look slightly different from how they turned out in the final release. Mario tends to look more like his “Mario All-Stars” Super Mario Bros. 3 counterpart. The Koopa shells have a more rounded look to them. Some coins also had a look slightly larger and more oval (maybe they were a beta version of the Yoshi’s coin).

Raccoon Mario, who debuted in Super Mario Bros. 3, was either a place holder for the eventual cape/feather power-up or the concept of Cape Mario never came to fruition until much later in development. For a time, the leaf and resulting Raccoon Mario may have been the “de-facto” flying power-up for Mario in “World”. There are many screenshots that show Raccoon Mario in various parts of the game. For readers that frequent Unseen 64, you might want to check out the “SNES Hardware Test” in the SNES section. One specific image from that section has a Mario sprite that appears to be from “World” but with what appears to be ears on top of his head that look VERY similar to the raccoon ears similar to those in Super Mario Bros. 3 and beta shots of “World”.

As Sammy has noticed, there was a Sears commercial that showed 3 Super Nintendo games; they were Super Mario World, F-Zero, and Pilotwings. On that commercial, it showed the title for SMW but with a little difference. Right next to the little beta “Super Mario Bros.” text of the beta title, there was a blue “4″ on the right of the text. You can check the video below thanks to Youssef!

Thanks to Jamie and Assjerk for the contributions!