Subscribers to Nintendo's paid Switch Online service received an unexpected surprise today. Together with the expected release of three new downloadable emulated Nintendo Entertainment System titles – NES Open Tournament Golf Solomon's Key and Super Dodge Ball -Nintendo also offered a version of the original Legend of Zelda that allows players to start with a host of powerful items.
The new version marked with a "Special" code in the user interface and called "Live the Life of Luxury!" in the description – does not seem to change core ROM in any way (despite reports referring to it as a "hack"). Instead, the game only uses a storage file that gives Link instant access to the white sword, Magical Shield, Blue Ring and Power Bracelet, along with a red potion, extra heartbeats, some secondary items (food, letter) and a complete complement of 255 rupees , eight bombs and nine keys.
This list specifically lacks special items that are earned by hitting game dungeons, so you can not only "sequel" you to areas requiring navigation equipment hidden behind boss strokes. Having said that, the complete complement to the game makes a bit more close to complete beginners, while taking away a lot of sense of growth and coping that comes from building Link's original arsenal one piece at a time.
In a press release, Nintendo said we could expect that "special save data for other NES titles will be available in the future, offering fun new entry points to fan favorite games." Nintendo did not specify what future titles would receive this treatment, but "Nintendo Hard" games like Metroid and Ninja Gaiden both of which come to service before the end of the year,
It is Nice to see that Nintendo opens its traditional, classic-emulation classic bone-processing to include more experimental game options like this (on top of the already good multiplayer options for NES titles, that is,). Obviously, the obvious next step is that Nintendo should allow some form of official support for the creation and distribution of ROM hacks, as Sega did with its 2016 Steam collection of emulated Genesis games.
We can already hear many readers reasonable arguments that the highly patient Nintendo would never officially support this kind of lack of its classic features. However, it is important to remember that Nintendo has previously created and distributed a modded "Original Edition" version of NES Donkey Kong which adds to the missing Cement Factory level and some other improvements. If support for fan-created ROM hack is a step too far, we'd like to accept more of these Nintendo-created, modernized hacks as a sort of compromise.