News Article

Ultra Rare Ocarina of Time Prototype Reportedly Surfaces on eBay, Costs £100,000

Posted by Alex Phillimore

Worth breaking the rupee bank with this one-of-a-kind cart?

A rare prototype cart for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has apparently surfaced on eBay – and with a 'Buy it now' price of £100,000 it costs a pretty penny, too.

The game is a debug version and therefore includes a debug menu that can be navigated at will upon loading a file. Apparently, the game only works with an expansion pak attached and seems to be connected to the GameCube bonus disc, as the title contains the dates 1998/2003, after the release of the Nintendo GameCube. A video of the cart in action can be seen below:

According to the eBay seller, there is allegedly only one of these carts known in existence, although this seems difficult to quantify.

Would you ever spend 100 grand on a rare game and do you think anyone will be willing to pay this price?

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User Comments (57)

Discipledoctor

#1

Discipledoctor said:

I'm no huge Zelda fan and definitely am not a collector, but this is a pretty cool thing...assuming it's legitimate. I wonder if anyone will actually buy it.

ledreppe

#2

ledreppe said:

You don't know what your buying, there's no labelling that would give me confidence in spending that kind of money (not that I have the money anyway).

It would make a nice little investment earner for a rich game fan, if it was indeed genuine.

GuSolarFlare

#9

GuSolarFlare said:

fake or not I'd say it's not worth for that that price unless you're really rich, enough to buy it without worrying about the lost money in the case it's fake...

mikeyman64

#11

mikeyman64 said:

Why would the ROM on the cart be copyrighted for 2003? If it was "connected" to the promo disc release, why not keep it in GCN format. Wouldn't that be easier than transferring it to a cartridge?

element187

#12

element187 said:

@mikeyman64 I don't think its legit.... Someone did their own modding job and is hoping to find a sucker somewhere in the world with too much money.

mikeyman64

#13

mikeyman64 said:

@element187 That's my thought. This thing has fishy written all over it.

If I were to even consider dropping a dime on something of this nature, it would have to work it's way through some kind of authentication company.

2Sang

#14

2Sang said:

Something I will never have. I envy the winner of the auction unless it's proven fake, then I will lol at them.

Gridatttack

#16

Gridatttack said:

There is not only one of existence. The debug ROM of OoT has been dumped since a while now, and im sure it wasn't by the seller, so it loses credibility :P

PS4

#19

PS4 said:

@Superstick So how do you access the debug menus in those versions? :p

Gannon destroyed the article's Link, thus the article has none. :p

pics on ebay.co.uk shows the insides of the cart though...

BakaKnight

#20

BakaKnight said:

Well... I'm no collector, can't even tell if this is ridicoulous or normal business (but I can't avoid to shiver at the idea of someone paying all those money for a copy of OOT, even if it's ultra rare >.>;;; ).
Personally I would just love to know if that cartdridge is legite. If so it's a really interesting fact that the GCN version of the game was refined on the N64 before starting the porting O.O

ZenTurtle

#21

ZenTurtle said:

It's probably a scam, and someone is going to waste their money... If it isn't, then it's still a waste of money too.

ungibbed

#22

ungibbed said:

@mikeyman64 I imagine due to the 2003 GCN update which ran in 480p. Testing the updated code for higher resolution on the original hardware makes sense as it's less expensive to rewrite a Mask ROM cart than waste optical media for testing of the N64 emulation on the GameCube that would have to include the emulator which is less accurate in debugging than actual hardware.

I imagine most N64 games went through this process before Wii Virtual Console release with resolution updates or texture changes such as the Kawasaki badging on the Wii release.

This rather ordinary Rewritable Mask ROM cart does have some value alone for N64 collectors but if the same guy has the hardware to produce or copy the .NUS or .N64 rom image is anyone's guess.

I used to work with these carts daily along with the hardware to erase and write the cartridges which required an old SCSI II board in the host PC and the command prompt driven software to address the cartridge writer. This was all done in during my time on a 200 Pentium host PC with Windows 95 but the N64 hardware only worked after rebooting to real MS DOS. Command prompt windows normally resulted in failed results.

This is a legit prototype cart, and most likely requiring the N64 hardware to have the expansion Pak to support hi resolution or 480i/p on the GameCube hardware and N64 emulation software to run the game properly.

When it comes to Majora's Mask though that required the expansion Pak there was some funky voodoo to make it work in higher resolution while keeping the larger amount of textures. The classic Wii has to refill the emulators frame buffer each time when coming back from the home menu or upon initial start with a crude spinning N64 logo but then the game starts just fine. The odd part is that on the GameCube LoZ collectors disc, I've never seen it do that.

Williaint

#23

Williaint said:

I've already got a few versions of OoT....So, although I am interested in playing it, I'm not interested in Buying it.

Mitsuko_Chan

#24

Mitsuko_Chan said:

Hmm, looks interesting. I heard there's a beta of Superman 64 with the exact same cartridge design. And it's way better than the final version.

FragRed

#25

FragRed said:

@Neko_Chan You mean there was an actually GOOD version of Superman 64? What the hell happened between the prototype and final version!? Did they loose the prototype version and quickly have to make something new lol? Oh well, it is also said the PlayStation version was to be totally different and actually much better.

Yosher

#26

Yosher said:

I find it hard to believe this is a legit debug copy since he might as well just have started up a Gamecube disc with Debug Menu AR codes to get these results. Not really worth the money even IF it's legit though since debug ROMs linger around the web for easier and cheaper debugging if you'd really want to. ( I don't really refer to ROMs usually but since this copy probably shouldn't even have leaked out anyway (if it's legit).. yeah. )

cookiex

#28

cookiex said:

@FragRed

Apparently there were a lot of executive meddling behind the scenes (DC comics setting tough restrictions on how the developers portray Superman being one of the major culprits). The lead producer behind the game claims that a huge chunk of the game was scrapped/re-done to meet the demands being put on them.

FragRed

#29

FragRed said:

@cookiex Why am I not surprised? Of course this kind of thing is what eventually bought down the company Titus to bankruptcy along with Virgin Interactive (though since renamed) and Interplay.

MrWu

#30

MrWu said:

Why is the GC version running on the N64? Or more importantly why would Nintendo go to the trouble of putting OOT into a N64 dev cart in 2003 when presumably they were porting the content for the GameCube.

It's possible a former N64 Dev has an old 512 MB N64 development flash cartridge and managed to hack the GameCube Rom into it? It sounds fishy.

Vanya

#31

Vanya said:

Even if it's legit it's hardly anything special. Not worth the price tag at all.

Nintendo_Ninja

#32

Nintendo_Ninja said:

I would never pay for an old game for this much. Regardless of it's rarity, if it's that old, it will be fragile or already broken. Besides, I could go on a gaming shopping spree for that price.

JaxonH

#33

JaxonH said:

I enjoy collecting (to an extent), but I'm sorry, even if I was rich and could afford it, no way I would drop 100k on this cartridge. Well, at least I THINK I wouldn't. It's easy to say, but if we all had tens of millions of dollars I think we'd be surprised how vain we can be when given the opportunity...

JaxonH

#34

JaxonH said:

@Nintendo_Ninja
Right.

100k could pretty much buy every good video game from the NES to the Wii U, across all platforms. Weight that against one broke-*** cartridge that wasn't even from the original Ocarina but rather one of the many re-releases... Um, I know which one I'd choose!

R_Champ

#36

R_Champ said:

@Lobster
Same, I'm even somewhat of a classic game collector but this has no real value: you can't authenticate it with a serial number, it's effects could EASILY be duplicated by a hacker, and there is zero aesthetic quality to it (no gold case, no stupid see-through cartridge, not even stick art). And all this for 100 g's? You'd be stupid to buy it IMO.

Iggly

#37

Iggly said:

I realize that beta cartridges are difficult to get your hands on, but for an asking price like that is too much. I highly doubt people would buy it regardless if they have the money or not.

NoUsernameHere

#38

NoUsernameHere said:

Eh, I don't have the money, but like most others are saying, this is probably a scam. Plus, for that price, all you get is Oot with some beta features and a debug menu? Just go out and buy an N64 Gameshark and there, you just get the code off the internet and boom, Debug menu. So really, it's not really worth the money.

Gioku

#39

Gioku said:

whaaaaaaa....?

That's... a lot of money for a little grey cartridge...

bahooney

#42

bahooney said:

You guys really don't get it. Like, I understand that 100 g's is a huuuge asking price for this, but if it's legit and there's seriously only one in the world, you can totally bet that there is going to be a hardcore prototype collector that would have a field day with this item.

It's not about being able to get the debug ROM off the internet. It's not about how many NES games you could buy instead of buying this. It's not about the actual game itself. It's the fact that it's a prototype that, allegedly, is the only one in existence.

I mean, your guys' logic is like, "Oh, why would I want the only copy of the handwritten lyrics to 'I Want to Hold Your Hand' by the Beatles when I could just print it off lyricmonkey.com?"

Sigh... hope this goes to a worthy home.

TeeJay

#44

TeeJay said:

@bahooney Okay but the thing is (I'm really trying hard not to come off as mean here) so what if it's the only one in existance? I can pick up a curiously shaped rock off the ground and that would be the only one in existance too, should I sell it for 100 grand too? Of course not.

LKJHGFDSA

#45

LKJHGFDSA said:

it's fake.
there's no evidence whatsoever to suggest it's real. I couldn't even find the eBay listing.
we can already access the debug menu. and the copyright shows that he used a modified ROM. (I've seen people mod the masterquest files from the gamecube game to the N64 ROM)

Not only is it a cheap fake, but he didn't do anything new technical wise to make this. Anyone can make a similar fake by following easily available guides. (and spending money on certain readily available devices)

Blue-Thunder

#46

Blue-Thunder said:

I don't care if Sigs Miyamoto carried the cartridge round in his back pocket it's not worth 100 grand. I like collecting things like brand new consoles and new game controllers but this is silly.

ZenTurtle

#47

ZenTurtle said:

We know it's fake, the seller knows it's fake and the bidders probably do too, and just want to bid as high as possible. It's just like that NES cartridge - people bid just for the sake of it (although it wasn't fake in that case...).

Starwolf_UK

#48

Starwolf_UK said:

@ungibbed Reverse engineering of the emulator/ROM packages disproves these. The 2003 emulator does not use the RAM pak (loading roms that need it fail, curiously there is a working list of first party games, makes me wonder if the N64 player NOE once mentioned in survey was going to be emulation rather than hardware). Texture changes are done via external files that substitute the originals.

But, I think the debug ROMs were made to specifically test the emulators (its easier to jump to problem areas) so having an original running on hardware means you compare side-by-side and get them both to the same scene with ease (but if this approach was taken it makes you wonder why it went so wrong in places, especially lighting in the VC release of MM).

RoboDuck

#49

RoboDuck said:

Coming from someone who creates and sells fake Earthbound cartridges on eBay, I can guarantee you that this is fake.

ungibbed

#50

ungibbed said:

@Starwolf_UK the majority of my experience with the N64 software process was during the actual production of one game that was ultimately canned indifinetly (40 Winks).

The Mask Rom cart is real but for regression testing of this pitclular release for the GameCube (the Wii Virtual console uses original N64 versions of LoZ with the water temple modified and MM)

The file written to the cartridge of a N64 cart can't be patched with small file updates as the cart is written with a .nus file, nothing else can unless it is erased and the original code patched to show the buttons of the GCN controller and so forth.

The memory challenged GameCube had to stuff all this data into memory and with the changes made to the source and regression and accuracy timing is critical and having the original hardware to test against is great. The two systems render 3D objects differently as well as handle textures. The hardware advancement for MM on the original N64 vs the emulator code on the GameCube had its obvious issues with having to work with both the larger texture cache (handled easily by the original N64) but a bit too much for the old 'cube I loved.

Curiously, there was a workaround on the VC emulator but shown every single time going back to the game from the home menu. It had to refil the frame buffer which this hack would also have some undesired results. It still looked much better in 480p regardless.

Tetris911

#51

Tetris911 said:

I seriously hope no one bids on this since this auction has already been called out by thousands of hardcore zelda fans since the seller put false/incorrect information about the prototype. I find it funny that the seller thinks that no one would notice his false auction but clearly the seller has no idea how HUGE and amazing the zelda fan base is in this world.

xj0462

#52

xj0462 said:

id buy it, but something in my mimd is saying ''its a trap!!!'' if someone does pick it up, please document its differences to the final version on tcrf.net( a site for prototypes and unused game content)

Mitsuko_Chan

#55

Mitsuko_Chan said:

@FragRed Apparently no rings are present and the controls are way better and more explained. It's actually the licenser's fault that the game is so awful.

Viper9_QC

#57

Viper9_QC said:

I don't think the Dolphin (Gamecube) dev kit was cartridges based. So I think this is fake.

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