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Game Boy Zelda Comes With Source, Sort Of 200

Jamie found a fun story about a 90s Zelda Game Boy ROM that shipped with the source code- not so much on purpose, but more because the linker padded out the last meg of ROM with random memory contents, which happened to include game source code.
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Game Boy Zelda Comes With Source, Sort Of

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  • Re:Not true (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 25, 2007 @04:01PM (#21473143)
    Hang out on digg more often, where blogs (powered by wordpress) are linked all the time. A site running wordpress dies after 5 hits, from cpu usage not network usage, and hence the site is "wordpressed". It's backwards because the site is doing it to itself really, not because of slashdot traffic.
  • Not too uncommon (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 0123456 ( 636235 ) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @04:03PM (#21473163)
    One of the 'Elite' sequels was shipped with a swap file on the CD-ROM. Opening that swap file with a text editor showed it included much of the C code for the game, which presumably must have been swapped out while they were compiling at some point and then copied to the CD by mistake.

    From what I remember the installer copied the swap file to the hard disk, but the first patch either deleted it or zeroed it :).
  • There's more (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kayamon ( 926543 ) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @04:16PM (#21473251) Homepage
    Golden Axe 2 (the arcade ROM) has a good chunk of it's source code contained in there too, including the source for it's security routine (oh the hilarity...)

    And the PAL version of ICO (PS2) had an objdump of the entire ELF on the disc, which is basically a disassembly with full symbol information.

  • by localroger ( 258128 ) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @04:44PM (#21473403) Homepage
    As a kid I had a surplussed computer called the "Interact Model R." All of the game tapes were 8K even, and at the end of many of them I found commented 8080A assembly code for other games and the BASIC interpreter that was supplied with the system (yes, it was on tape for this machine). Starting with 200 lines of source I would eventually reverse assemble the entirety of what I later learned was Tiny BASIC.
  • Re:Not too uncommon (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 25, 2007 @04:47PM (#21473417)
    I purchased the game "Pirates of the Caribbean" a few years back. My original Sid Meier's Pirates was corrupted and the new one was not yet out. The game was not very good at all. However, when I looked at what was on the disk, there were several files with a .c and .h extension. Sure enough the disc had a lot of source code on it. I am not sure if it was the entire game and I do not know which box I packed it in the last time I moved, so I cannot find it at the moment. However, I remember seeing the C code for that game on the disc I purchased at a retail store.
  • Re:It happens (Score:2, Interesting)

    by KDR_11k ( 778916 ) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @05:28PM (#21473645)
    That's nothing, I bought a pack of supposedly empty 5.25" disks for my C64 in a store, when I looked at them without formatting it turned out they were all filled with warez. Different warez, even, not the same for all disks.
  • Re:Not too uncommon (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vranash ( 594439 ) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @05:28PM (#21473647)
    Having that game (Which was actually Bethesda's Sea Dogs 2 rebadged before release.) It had a *TON* of files with it, although I think they were lua-scripts or something, not actual c-code. Regardless they had a lot of options available in them for modifying core components of the game. You could change your characters starting stats, name, ship type, etc. Given the somewhat frustrating land-side swordplay, I ended up having more fun tweaking the game than playing it.

    Having reminded me, I may have to dig it out sometime soon and see what else it's got going.
  • FoxPro (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 25, 2007 @06:52PM (#21474031)
    Posted anonymously to hide my shame of working with visual FoxPro.

    FoxPro, I discovered after shipping our product for 2 years, didn't really compile anything when you made an .exe It just included a runtime and the source code in the .exe file. If you looked at it ina hex editor, there was the full source code, complete with comments. Apparently there was an option to scramble the source code. The guy responsible for building the installation didn't do that.
  • Re:Not true (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bert64 ( 520050 ) < ... NBSDom minus bsd> on Sunday November 25, 2007 @06:54PM (#21474041) Homepage
    Yes, wordpress is rather inefficient...
    How do php accelerators such as eaccelerator affect it, and what level of hardware would you need to handle a significant load of wordpress hits?
  • by PhoenixFlare ( 319467 ) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @07:11PM (#21474117) Journal
    Same here, I used to run all sorts of SNES games in ZSNES on a 200 MHz Pentium, at normal speed. Heck, I even managed to get a NES emulator running on a 20 MHz 386 with 2 megs of RAM....Only at about 30% speed, but still.
  • Beatmania Best Hits (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Myria ( 562655 ) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @07:12PM (#21474127)
    As for the source code in the ROM, check out some of the comments on our site. The slashdotters above commented on it above. This post is from months ago, too - why on Slashdot now?

    Anyway, A Japanese PlayStation game named "Beatmania Best Hits" came with the complete source code to "Beatmania 5th Mix", another PlayStation game in the same series. Supposedly, it was complete enough to actually compile and run.

    PlayStation games of the era had to have a ~30 meg file of zeros on them at the outer edge due to a problem with the drive. These were known as "DUMMY" files. Some unknown sneaky programmer at Konami put an LZH archive containing 5th Mix's source code as the DUMMY file. (The contents of the file didn't technically matter, it just had to be at the outer edge.)
  • Re:It happens (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Deadstick ( 535032 ) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @07:14PM (#21474141)
    Ashton-Tate wasn't above having somebody ELSE's code in their products either. When they wrote the "laser burn" copy protection routine for dBase III, they needed to put a hook in the BIOS -- which wasn't so easy in those days of expensive memory, because the BIOS used to run directly from ROM instead of being shadowed out into RAM. So they wrote their own BIOS -- by which I mean, they copied some 700 bytes of the IBM Fixed Disk BIOS (which was published in the PC-XT user manual), added the hook, and then hid the dirty deed under an encryption routine that was absurdly simple (although very tedious on a floppy machine) to penetrate.

    It was obvious they knew they were writing a pirate product, because they went through the code and swapped arithmetic and logical shift instructions wherever they were certain to produce identical results, presumably in order to get the fraction of identical bytes down.

  • Re:FoxPro (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Shados ( 741919 ) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @08:16PM (#21474447)
    Java and .NET are almost like that. I mean, you need a decompiler, but the compiled bytecode is so close to the source, you can replicate the original fairly well from the bytecode, thus why many many commercial softwares ship with obfuscated binaries.
  • Reminds me of Weitek (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ungrounded Lightning ( 62228 ) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @09:49PM (#21474809) Journal
    This reminds me of one of the several oopsies that led to the demise of Weitek. (This one wasn't the last straw. But it was a pretty big bale.)

    An administrator decided that, to save money, those darned resource-wasting engineers would be limited to one new floppy disk per week.

    So floppies got reused a lot. And of course eventually somebody got sloppy.

    The master for one of their graphics driver distributions was built on a recycled floppy disk. Of course the old files were deleted, rather than the disk being reformatted with a surface-analysis (and data wiping) pass. And of course this master was sector-cloned for production.

    Turns out the entire source code for the drivers had previously lived on that disk - and many of the algorithms that made the product cutting-edge were either in the driver or had enough info in the driver source about what the chip was up to that it made reverse-engineering a snap.

    So just apply any of several "undelete the lost files" tools to any copy of the distribution disks and you could recover pretty much the whole source code, comments and all.

    Shortly after this, the best of Weitek's cutting-edge algorithms became industry standards.

    That's one of the characteristics of Trade Secrets. Once it's no longer a secret (especially if the owner managed to leak it himself), it's public domain.
  • Re:It happens (Score:3, Interesting)

    by marcansoft ( 727665 ) <{moc.tfosnacram} {ta} {rotceh}> on Monday November 26, 2007 @03:54AM (#21476135) Homepage
    It still happens. Nowadays it tends to be random files leftover in a game's directory structure. I seem to remember that Halo 2 came with a script file in one of the directories (I may be wrong on this one), and the Gamecube version of Twilight Princess comes with the Wiimote sounds still in there, plus a different file with some Mario sounds (maybe there's and embedded mario minigame in the Wii version? Or perhaps it's just a demo file). The GC TP also has a whole bunch of linker map files if I remember correctly.
  • Re:Not true (Score:3, Interesting)

    by David Gerard ( 12369 ) <(ku.oc.draregdivad) (ta) (todhsals)> on Monday November 26, 2007 @06:32AM (#21476867) Homepage
    WP-Cache [] is just the thing to avoid massive PHP and MySQL overload.

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