Huge apparent leak unearths Nintendo’s prototype history
A massive leak of apparent Nintendo source code is giving gamers a rare, unauthorized look at Nintendo’s development process dating back to the Super NES era.
The massive trove of files, first posted to 4chan Friday and quickly dubbed the “Gigaleak” by the community, includes compilable code and assets for Super NES, Game Boy, and N64 games in the Mario, Mario Kart, Zelda, F-Zero, and Pokemon series. Hidden among that code is a bevy of pre-release art and sound files that have never seen the light of day, as well as fully playable prototype versions of some games.
Nintendo has not responded to a request for comment, but the sheer size and complexity of the leak points to its authenticity—faking this much data in a believable (and workable) way would just be an incredible amount of work. Star Fox Developer Dylan Cuthbert has also publicly confirmed the authenticity of an early Star Fox 2 CAD tool included in the leak. And many of the assets in the leak also match images previously seen in magazine previews, suggesting either authenticity or an incredible level of attention to detail among the leakers.
Modders and homebrew developers have been digging through the trove of data over the weekend and taking to Twitter and YouTube with their discoveries. Among the most interesting findings:
This new leak comes months after a separate dump of internal Nintendo data that included source code for various Nintendo console operating systems, as well as internal Powerpoint presentations discussing various features of those consoles.
While many are reveling in a treasure trove of previously unknown historical information contained in the leaks, some are worried over the privacy implications of some internal emails included in the leak, complete with personally identifiable information in some cases. Others are worried about how the revelations will ripple through the industry.
“This Nintendo leak is bad on so many levels,” Digital Eclipse Developer Mike Mika tweeted. “It hurts them, it hurts fans, and it turns the topic of preservation into a topic of security and tightening the grip on intellectual property regardless of its historical or educational value to history.”
Listing image by Andy Robinson / Twitter