One of the most memorable pieces of pre-release hype in Zelda history was Ocarina of Time’s presence at Nintendo Spaceworld 1997. Appearing as both a playable demo and as the lead in Nintendo’s promotional sizzle reel of upcoming Nintendo 64 games, many fans got their first glimpse of the iconic game at this event. As we all know, these demos are often dramatically different from final releases, usually containing unused assets and content, or presenting familiar content in bizarre ways. Thanks to a group of dedicated preservationists, headed by main programmer zel., we can now see a restored version of the demo used in this promotional material and all of the oddities contained within. It’s even playable in a limited capacity! This is Ocarina of Time – Spaceworld ‘97 Experience!

The Ocarina of Time faithful will certainly appreciate the sheer weirdness of what we see throughout the trailer. Small differences abound in the forms of strange interface elements, unused assets, and unfamiliar areas. The most striking images from the footage, however, involve the rearranging of content we know from the finished game into unrecognizable forms. In particular, Link-sized Moblins, Zelda’s royal horse roaming free, and a scene with Jabu-Jabu visible in the background of a town are images I never would have imagined before.

A detailed account of the restoration’s construction and history can be found on the download page. It is explained that a perfectly accurate recreation is nearly impossible to guarantee, as assets sometimes need to be rebuilt from secondary sources or modified to result in a playable demo. On the matter of playability, this is a restoration of a demo, and cannot be beaten or completed. Instead, there is a trio of “tours” intended to showcase unique scenarios that put the beta content on display. The simple fact that players can interact with this content is impressive and will provide more insight into this beloved game.

This kind of preservation is absolutely amazing. It helps us to learn more about games and see classics like Ocarina of Time through a unique lens. Full credits for the project can be found at the download link or on the trailer published on YouTube. More information can be found on zel.’s YouTube channel and Patreon.

What do you think of this demo restoration? Do you plan to check it out? Are you familiar with the Spaceworld 1997 demo? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: zel.

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