One thing I miss with older games is that not all the secrets were found within days of release date. Well, the lack of Internet helped a lot, but nowadays even the achievement lists are leaked to the Internet before games have been released, effectively giving out secrets and unlockables. Gaming magazines were the only proper source of information and even then word-to-mouth information was the best thing ever. Nowadays the customers are far more technologically capable than in the olden days of gaming, and information on how to get into the game code is readily available. It’s a different era of information flow, and the unseen has become almost completely transparent.
Whenever I have some time to kill, I visit the Cutting Room Floor to see what the developers had either put in their games beneath the surface or what things were left there lying around as junk data. It’s interesting to see how some developers toyed with the text strings to leave messages while others just lazily coded their games, making some sounds or graphics out from the actual gameplay. It’s an interesting sneak peek behind the scenes and inside the developers’ mind.
What prompted me to talk about this was news about F-Zero AX mode found in F-Zero GX. While F-Zero as a series has dropped from the face of the Earth due to GX itself bombing, I do have good memories about the game and the amount I spent with it alongside friends. We played the game to the extent that we learned most of the harder stages to the point we actually had to put our best all the time. I miss those more innocent times, when I didn’t care about video game politics.
I’m sure game devs do not really like that their games are prodded like this, not in the modern era. Seeing how few easter eggs exist these days within the code nowadays tells that almost all the interesting stuff is just sitting there. Sadly, it seems Internet memes are taking their place in games’ easter eggs like in the latest Deus Ex. As mentioned, modern games are ripped apart pretty fast simply because there’s more information on how the game has been coded. DmC on PC can be modded to an extent by anyone with a logical mind by just checking a config file’s properties, which I personally find extremely hilarious. All secrets there are bare without much mystery surrounding them. Then you have games like Super Metroid that is still being scavenged through. It wasn’t until 2010 when somebody noticed that you could access a debug cheat, which was then named Golden Torizo Debug cheat. It’s not even difficult to do, it just eluded everybody until that point.
But let’s get back to the F-Zero A/GX mode. What makes it so interesting to me is that the disc itself has a functional version of the arcade game. I’ve yet to test the mode itself, but basically it’s similar to all other arcade races with a timer and checkpoints. Think Daytona USA as a good point of reference for this. The arcade controls were also slightly different, and I’ve heard some reports on the physics being, and the overall feeling of the game, being a bit different. However, I wouldn’t put much trust in these records, as I was unable to trace the place where I originally found the info.
The comparison is poor, but it’s like the one day my brother kicked the table our NES was on while I was playing Battletoads, and the game skipped few stages ahead. Perhaps it’s somewhat about getting your hands on something that’s forbidden, or kept away from you. Granted, a later level isn’t a same thing as a different game mode lying on the disc. A better comparison would’ve been with Super Mario’s Minus World or Glitch World in Metroid II, or to an extent, in Metroid Prime.
Nevertheless, you never really know what you’re ultimately getting with an older game. There might be characters locked away, musics or something similar. Modern games may have leftovers from previous instalments in a series, but that’s pretty much that. That secrecy is gone, and all the things found in Fallout 3 are pretty dull on the long run. No jokes, nothing left for the hackers, just resources nobody cared to remove.
Now excuse me, I need to get my GameCube from the closet, or check if I can run the code on my Wii.