A scrapped Luigi, unused Pokemon sprites & more dug up in retro Nintendo leak

Code, assets, and other files for a number of famous Nintendo games like Mario Kart, Star Fox, and The Legend of Zelda has leaked online in what’s being called the ‘Gigaleak.’

The sizable hoard of assets was first made available over the weekend and has since picked up traction on social media as more and more interesting development tidbits are uncovered from within fan-favorite classics. 

From the game dev side of things, it’s a bit of a mixed discovery. On one hand, the data made available in the leak offers an excellent chance to learn what made those early Nintendo classics tick and gives preservationists a meaty few additions for their libraries. 

On the other, many elements of the leak were very obviously never meant to be seen by the public, not to mention that the legality of how these files made it to the web is questionable at best.

The leak itself includes source code for several Nintendo games like Star Fox, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, Super Mario All-Stars, Yoshi’s Island, F-Zero and tons of others. There’s also a bevy of unused assets like sprites for Pokemon Diamond and Pearl, and a handful of prototypes for games both familiar and entirely unheard of. 

Some elements of those leaks point to features that were once planned to be included in a game, but were scrapped along the way for one reason or another, like textures for Luigi discovered within the Super Mario 64 dev materials that point to the game’s canceled multiplayer feature, or entire unused minigames for Yoshi’s Island. Others, like high quality audio files for Starfox 64 or a prototype for Pilotwings, offer a look at (or listen to) assets that we’ve seen before when they were compressed to fit on Nintendo 64-era game cartridges or used in promotional materials.

There’s likely more that will come up relating to this leak in the near future, both because folks online are still working on picking through the leaked code and because Nintendo itself has yet to publicly comment on the materials now making the rounds online.