[Gaming Preservation Effort] : Does Nintendo have a library of ALL the games manufactured (or even considered for manufacture) on their systems?

mael

Avenger
Nov 3, 2017
6,389
So to begin with let's start with the great video from
Krvavi Abadas about Nintendo's emulation effort.
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Thanks to Krvavi Abadas's research, we know that Nintendo ROM effort is rather extensive and as far as SMB1 goes, we go as far back as Animal Crossing.

SquareEnix is currently remaking Trials of Mana (better known as Seiken Densetsu 3) for new platforms.
We got some insight on what they are doing and also on how the Collection of Mana compilation was done.
At the end of the article we get to this point :
11. While the Secret of Mana remake was not on Switch, Trials of Mana is thanks to fan feedback over the lack of Mana on the console. Oyamada said that Collection of Mana was Switch-exclusive because they had to actually get the code for the games from Nintendo, meaning the Switch made sense.
That means that Square Enix does not have the code for their old games (which would make sense as we know they kind of lost the code for Final Fantasy 3 when they were working on remaking the game for DS for exaxmple).

But more importantly it means that Nintendo HAS the code for the 3 Mana games.
But the catch is that while Seiken Densetsu 1-> 3 are japanese releases,
The collection also features in the Western releases the code for Mystic Quest on Gameboy, Final Fantasy Adventure, Secret of Mana.
All of these versions are basically direct ROMs of the French, UK, German and US releases of both games.
We also know that M2 who did the Collection basically used ROMs that work on official systems in their custom emulator for the Collection.
We also know from all these years since Nintendo revealed its Virtual Console initiative that the major hurdle for rereleasing the games were getting the distribution rights.
If any of you had a Wii and used the Virtual Console service, you know that the version of the games you would get through the service were the exact same versions that were released in the market of the shop you were buying the game (French version for the French market and so on).

So all of this points to Nintendo having a library of all the games they have released or manufactured and while the conservation effort that is publicly available may be hindered by Nintendo's own legal team.
They have a conservation effort that they are keeping and release some part of it whenever it is strategic for them to do so (see Earthbound Zero and Starfox2).

Bonus point :
Krvavi Abadas also did a fantastic video about Sony's emulation effort that you should all watch
 

Nanashrew

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,705
I never would have expected for Nintendo to have the source code for any of Mana games. And yeah, Square was terrible at preserving any of their old games from the 90's to early 2000's. They lost the source code for Kingdom Hearts too and had to rebuild it for the recent collections.
 

bionic77

Member
Oct 25, 2017
9,334
Weird they have the source code of a 3rd party game but wouldn’t surprise me if they have a decent to good archival of their older games. They clearly care about their games and the history of them in a way few other companies seem to.
 
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mael

mael

Avenger
Nov 3, 2017
6,389
It kinds of makes sense for them to have an archive of all the games they manufactured.
For legal reason for example if something happens and they're somehow liable because they manufactured a game "wrong".
Or even for certification, since they're doing cert for all the games released on their system, it could prove good for them to have proof that they did certification on a game that way.
That would certainly be on their contract if that was done during cert I guess (otherwise a 3rd party could sue them because they hold onto a product they don't own for example).
 
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Krvavi Abadas

Member
Oct 26, 2017
950
Videoland
So all of this points to Nintendo having a library of all the games they have released or manufactured and while the conservation effort that is publicly available may be hindered by Nintendo's own legal team.
Yep! I managed to acquire some of the spreadsheets they use for it, as i've talked about before.
To give you an idea of how through it is, there's a Mean Girls game on the Nintendo DS that was briefly listed on retail stores, and the publisher claims was never released. Guess what's in the DS spreadsheet? (In multiple regions, at that!)

I'm not going to share them publicly for now, mainly because it's clearly not all of them (There's no Wii Spreadsheet, for example. Though there is a few sheets listing a couple of 3DS games.) but it exists.
I don't think it actually contains the source code for the games, though. Just the final ROM files.

There's plenty of examples of devs emulating games from Nintendo platforms, and releasing them on non-Nintendo platforms. But it's possible that by "acquiring the code", they mean that they ended up contacting Nintendo to get the final rom files instead of just ripping them off a released cartridge. It should also be noted that the games in the collection do keep the text mentioning they're "Licensed by Nintendo"

Something which (naturally) is removed in other compilations on Non-Nintendo platforms.

(Ducktales, as running on the Disney Afternoon Collection. Text mentioning NoA is removed.)

(The Original NES version, for comparison.)
 

Glio

Member
Oct 27, 2017
6,755
Spain
Very interesting. It must be funny to negotiate when although the game is yours the one with the code is the other party.
 
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mael

mael

Avenger
Nov 3, 2017
6,389
Yep! I managed to acquire some of the spreadsheets they use for it, as i've talked about before.

I don't think it actually contains the source code for the games, though. Just the final ROM files.

There's plenty of examples of devs emulating games from Nintendo platforms, and releasing them on non-Nintendo platforms. But it's possible that by "acquiring the code", they mean that they ended up contacting Nintendo to get the final rom files instead of just ripping them off a released cartridge. It should also be noted that the games in the collection do keep the text mentioning they're "Licensed by Nintendo"

Something which (naturally) is removed in other compilations on Non-Nintendo platforms.

(Ducktales, as running on the Disney Afternoon Collection. Text mentioning NoA is removed.)

(The Original NES version, for comparison.)
That is a fantastic find.
Yes I meant that Nintendo provided the final ROM files or the source files and SquareEnix only just put the binaries in the collection, otherwise the people who ripped the ROM from the collection wouldn't be able to run the ROM directly in a standard console.
If they only store the master data before the ROM goes gold, it means that they can provide the simple ROM before it even reach a cart.
For the Duck Tales, I think it means that they probably have the ASM source as well (although if you can actually make a NES emulator you're probably competent enough to comment out the lines mentioning NoA in the final binary) and provided the source.

It's even consistent with what have for Collection of Mana.
Mystic quest PAL


You'll note the copyright information that is exactly the one you'll find in a normal cart from the PAL release as well.

I threadmarked your post because of the information inside.

Sidenote:

You'll notice the "Licensed By Square".
And the copyright information : "Licensed from Square CO.LTD to Nintendo CO.LTD on the bottom left.
It paints a picture that the actual source code of this version of the game is not actually Square's but Nintendo's.
Nintendo would basically perform the localization and modification of the source code so that the game would display in 50Hz (tv standard of the time) with French text (for this exact example).
The game code is licensed by Square to Nintendo to perform the localization, the IP and everything is owned by Square still.
In software term, it means that the royalties go to Square but Nintendo is getting the revenue on a split determined by contract.
A normal publishing contract basically.
Managed to find an image of the backcover of International Super Star soccer by Konami and that information is not present there.
which would point to Konami having a dedicated team to handle the localization process instead of relying on Nintendo.
Because at the end of the day it's still Nintendo making the cartridge I still think Nintendo got the source code and binary in their coffer somewhere.