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A Link to the Past, Super Metroid can merge into one game — and even share items

Mashup randomizer demonstration winds down Summer Games Done Quick

Super Metroid/A Link to the Past Randomizer on SNES at Summer Games Done Quick 2019.
Andy and Ivan playing Super Metroid/A Link to the Past Randomizer on SNES (really) at Summer Games Done Quick 2019.
Screenshot via Twitch
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Summer Games Done Quick closed out yesterday afternoon with quite an unusual mashup: Super Metroid and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past on Super Nintendo. Randomizers are mods in which all of the items in a game are redistributed to different locations, effectively creating a new puzzle for players to solve. This one does that, but for two games, that then play as one game. Cooperatively, even.

If all that puzzles you, well, you’re not the only one. Just watch and try to follow along the commentary from Andy and Ivan. But yes, that’s Samus and Link carrying around objects from one game in the other’s world. These two are playing the same game cooperatively, with the goal of killing both Ganon and Mother Brain before finishing the story of either original game.

And if you still can’t understand what’s going on, try playing it for yourself, assuming you have ROMs for both games. This is courtesy of the crossover item randomizer, The game is generated when players take ROMs for both titles and plug them into the web application, which spits out a new ROM for play.

This randomizer builds off work done by the communities behind the A Link to the Past Randomizer and the Tournament Super Metroid Randomizer.

Heavy caveat here, as I am not a modder, much less a programmer. But in lay speak, four predetermined doors in both games will transport players from one world to the next. How this is possible, well, I’ll leave it to Harris Foster, the community manager for Finji (the studio started in 2014 by Rebekah Saltsman and her husband Adam, the creator of Canabalt).

Because the ROM layout of the original games does not overlap, the randomizer app is able to merge them together smoothly and share items across worlds. Using items from one world in the other requires new logic tricks to be modded in to accommodate them, as the patch notes mention. At the 17:04:00 mark, Ivan begins a more detailed explanation of how all this is possible, particularly playing the game cooperatively. Bottom line, this can be played on hardware and not just emulation, as they are doing here.

As a viewer notes, this isn’t really a speed run, as the game changes every time and so there’s nothing to benchmark a time to. But it is a fascinating watch for fans of both games, and one you can jump into and play for yourself with a little bit of work.