After 25 years, a modder has finally unlocked the N64 secret Nintendo would never allow

A modder has managed to complete Banjo-Kazooie’s Stop ‘n’ Swop secret on the original N64 hardware, finally closing the loop on an N64 trick Nintendo never wanted to allow.

The 1998 N64 classic Banjo-Kazooie features a number of secret items that were originally intended to unlock further secrets in other games by developer Rare. The devs found that when you pulled a cartridge out of the system, the game would remain in memory for a few seconds – just long enough for you to plug a different cartridge in to read the data from the previous game.

Billed as Stop ‘n’ Swop, this feature was brought to an end by Nintendo itself, as the company feared the sudden cartridge swap could damage the system, and that future N64 revisions might prevent the feature from working at all. The hints at these secrets tantalized Rare fans for years, until a combination of datamining and interviews with the original devs revealed how it was supposed to work. (You can read the full details over on The Cutting Room Floor.)

While players eventually found codes to unlock the Stop ‘n’ Swop items and managed to get the original cartridge swap feature working in emulators, nobody had actually done the work to get it done on original hardware. That is until a modder going by the name Skawo made the video below (via VGC.)

Skawo created a custom version of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time that runs on a flash drive and sends out the code Banjo-Kazooie has been looking for all these years to unlock its secrets. Finally, we have proof that it would’ve worked – at least on early N64 models.

Rare still made good on Stop ‘n’ Swop in various ways after Banjo-Kazooie’s release, first by making some of the items collectable in the sequel, Banjo-Tooie. When both games were ported to Xbox 360 a decade later, the collectables were tied together in a way more closely resembling the original intent, though in this case you just needed to make a normal save transfer rather than a cartridge swap. They also unlocked bonus items in Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts.

We’re still making new discoveries about the best N64 games of all time.


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