On this edition of Parallax Views, at the summer 2022 Game Done Quick, a video game speed-running marathon charity, fans of the classic Nintendo 64 title The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time were treated to an experience that they’d never expected. For 23-years players imagined the possibility of obtaining the game’s most legendary, mystical item: the Triforce. Throughout the latter part of the 90s and the early 2000s urban legends proliferated claiming that players could, in fact, get the Triforce in game. But it wasn’t until the “Beta Showcase”, later revealed to be the Triforce% run showcase, that the dream of many of these fans would materialize into a reality. Using Arbitrary Code Execution (ACE), a human speed-runner, and cute, trusty robot known as TASBot (short for tool-assisted robot) a team led by the gaming community’s Sauraen and DwangoAC were able to create a wildly new, fresh experience of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time on an original, unmodified N64 cartridge. Said experience created a new story within the game that even included, believe it or not, a finale featuring a scene with graphics from the Nintendo Switch’s The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and a fan-inclusive moment that tugged on the heartstrings of many gamers. And, as previously stated, this was all accomplished on an unmodified N64 cartridge.
It was monumental event, in part, because it completely goes against previous conceptions of what Arbitrary Code Execution can do in video games. Ultimately, most people perceive ACE exploits as merely “breaking” a game. In other words, ACE, which involves pressing controller buttons in a quick and process way, is most commonly used glitch games in ways that allow for game completion in ways not intended by the developers. With the Triforce% run, however, ACE was used in quite a different way: to create rather than to destroy.
Sauraen, the Triforce%’s director, and DwangoAC, the keeper of TASBot, join us on this edition of the show to talk about the whole project, how it came together, what the reactions to it have been, common misconceptions about Triforce% and what was done at the showcase of it at Games Done Quick, and much, much more including:
– Explanations of TAS the tool-assisted robot, ACE (Arbitrary Code Execution, and SRM (Stale Reference Manipulation) and how they were used to make the Triforce% speedrun possible
– The emotional elements of Triforce%’s story and ending
– The Triforce% showcase as transformative art and “RAM Hacking”
– How the speedrun could’ve gone wrong
– Using ACE to create rather than to destroy; ACE being commonly understood as “breaking” the game and how the showcase shows a different side of what ACE can do
– How was the ending with graphics in the style the Nintendo Switch title The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild done?
– Misconceptions people have about the Triforce% showcase
– TASBot’s ability to press buttons faser than any human and how this figured into the speedrun
– Does this open up new doors of possibility for future transformative art and the use of ACE in games like The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask and Super Mario games?
– Legal concerns and Nintendo
– How the showcase was used to raise money for the Doctors Without Borders charity