Tool-assisted game movies
When human skills are just not enough

Submission #3579: bobmario511's GB The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening "Playaround" in 40:22.78

Console: Game Boy
Game name: The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening
Game version: USA v1.0
ROM filename: Legend of Zelda, The - Link's Awakening (U) (V1.0) [!].gb
Branch: Playaround
Emulator: (unknown)
Movie length: 40:22.78
FrameCount: 145367
Re-record count: 53648
Author's real name: Scott W.
Author's nickname: bobmario511
Submitter: bobmario511
Submitted at: 2012-04-24 17:03:24
Text last edited at: 2012-04-28 21:57:29
Text last edited by: Brandon
Download: Download (10264 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:

(Link to video)


Link’s Awakening is a game where our hero THIEF becomes stuck in the worst nightmare of his life. The world he is in makes little sense; you can teleport almost at will, going into caves and houses can take you to nightmare hell, and creatures such as banana throwing lava alligators are after him. Luckily for THIEF, he makes a few friends including an undead rooster, a starving Chain Chomp, an annoying Ghost, a mysterious young girl named Marin and of course the insane Tarin. In this nightmare, THIEF goes around collecting what he believes to be musical instruments in an attempt to try to wake up the magical Wind fish which would allow him to escape from this horror.

This run is a playaround and is meant to show off tricks in the game in an interesting and hopefully humorous manner.

Game objectives

  • Emulator used: VisualBoyAdvance re-recording 19.3
  • Many speed/entertainment tradeoffs
  • Heavily abuses glitches
  • Manipulates luck
  • Takes damage to save time
  • Uses in-game resets (17 times I think)

Playaround goals

  • Shows off glitches that would not be used in other runs

  • Collects the 8 instruments

  • Finishes the Trading sequence

  • Collects all items and upgrades (besides ones that increase item capacity)

  • At some point Acquires Bow-wow, Marin, the Ghost, and the Rooster

  • Defeats the Final boss

  • Picks up no keys (wasn’t really a goal of mine, just thought I’d include it though)

Glitches and Tricks Used

Screen warping:

By bringing up the select menu when link is about to enter another screen, the next screen will load, but his previous on screen location will not have changed allowing him to warp. Using maps, one can plan a rather complex looking route in order to warp to the desired locations. There are also several other factors to consider when screen warping. There is first frame warping (usually the fastest), second frame warping (faster in certain situation to clear out lag) and third frame warping (rarely used but it positions Link further from the side of the screen he is warping to which is sometimes useful).

Screen warping sprites:

While screen warping, the current sprites on screen are often carried over. This is often seen when collecting several instruments, shells and other things such as bosses.

Warping out of levels using instruments:

Usually when you collect an instrument, it just warps you to the level entrance, but I found that by warping then into other rooms that they could take you different places. For the most part they would dump link off in an empty room in level 1 with glitched tiles (explained a little later), but it could also throw him into other places in level 1 as well as underground places in each level.


In link’s awakening, there are a variety of maps, ranging from the over world, dungeon maps, cave map, and underworld 1 and 2 maps. Underworld 1 can best be described as a map set with many random rooms from levels 1 through 6 and it also includes a few caves/inside of houses. Underworld 2 can be described as a map set with random rooms from levels 7 and 8 and the remaining caves/inside of houses. The rooms appear to be rather randomly arranged in many cases and you will see this in the run. A good resource to view each of these maps can be found here.

Tile glitching:

By wrong warping/doghouse glitch (described later) or screen warping while link is in a side strolling area, he can be taken to a map where the tiles around him behave in a variety of different ways, and as such he can often walk through walls and other things.

Up/down/left/right + A/ B combos:

This allows link to do a wide variety of glitchy things. One is picking up the sword and other items with this trick. It also allows him to do glitchy things many of the items. An explanation of several of these items can be found on this page.

One specific trick not mentioned involves the Pegasus boots. By being at the left side of the screen and holding <v> while you dash, link will be warped 1 screen to the right and will be dropped off a little from the right side of that room. This can be combined with screen warping to make some interesting effects.

Corner boosting:

When you walk past a corner you can walk into one to boost Link forwards slightly. This is used very often to save time. It can also be done while link is in the air, but it can be tricky to notice.

Text skipping:

By bringing up the save menu during transitions involving text, it can be used to skip it. Saving and resetting after doing this also can skip the text as well as change links location.

Enemy manipulation:

Link’s movement and use of most items can all help manipulate enemy’s behavior such as small enemies or bosses.

Damage boost:

By getting hit by an enemy at the right time, it can push Link forward at higher speeds for a short time.

Wrong Warp/doghouse trick:

By entering a door from the back by screen warping or the doghouse trick it is possible to make the game load a completely different map with odd physics. Where the game takes you is based on where you are doing this glitch, how many enemies you have killed and I believe having certain levels complete effects where some of the warps take you.

If you have 0 enemies killed and enter a door from the back, it will usually throw you somewhere in the over world.

If you have 1 enemy killed, it will usually take you to the “underworld 1” where the tiles look glitchy but still remain their normal properties (walls are solid, etc).

If you have killed 2 enemies, it will usually first take you into a random room in which you are surrounded by staircase tiles, then teleport you into “underworld 2” with glitchy looking tiles and tile physics.

If you have killed 3 or 4 enemies, it will take you to “underworld 1” with glitchy tiles and tile physics.

I stopped testing around here. Kills after here didn’t produce much and usually having a kill count of 4 was ideal. Also, this page gives more details about this trick.

Several Unused tricks/ideas

Screen warping while you are on the raft.

This allows link to ride the raft on land and looks glitchy, but I didn’t really want to use it.

Digging up the slime key early:

When this is done, link gets a gold leaf instead of a key.

Getting keys in the underworld:

Usually when keys are picked up in the underworld they appear as gold leaves.

Collecting L-2 sword in the underworld:

Was out of my way since I got the last shell at the house. The glitchy scene while getting the sword is cool though.

Shopkeeper trick:

This video speaks for itself…

Resetting right before making the game crash:

I found several interesting ways to make it so if you don’t reset, the game, or even sometimes the emulator, will crash. Resetting after the game has crashed often deletes your saved file, and possibly messing around with this could lead to some interesting memory corruption or something.

Stage by stage comments.

Well, the point of this is to further look at the tricks I used. This contains spoilers, so if you haven’t watched the run and don’t want spoilers, ignore this for now.


After exiting Tarin’s house, I did several screen warps south to the beach where the sword was. From there I warped the sword onto another screen and picked it up. This caused the “L-0 shield” to appear where the sword first was which I pick up using “v^B”

First time in level 8.

In here, I warped to quickly get the rod err…flamethrower and briefly showed off the “endless” rooms with power bracelet chests. During this, I entered the top of a mini-boss battle screen to show that it could warp link down several screens with no input being needed at all. Reset after getting the L-2 power brace.

Getting the Ocarina

Nearby was a cave positioned right above where you get the ocarina in underworld 2. Since there was a 50 rupee chest right there and I needed money for the shovel and Mamu’s song, I got that. I then did some warps that got link into the Ocarina place. I picked up the 100 rupee chest there since it was nearby, got the ocarina and reset.

Getting a fishy song

Since resetting takes you back to the last place you entered, I was again able to access the same cave. Mambo wasn’t far off so I went to him. There I got to watch an odd dance and learned my first song. After exiting the screen to the top, an odd glitch happened where only directional input worked, however taking damage by falling in a nearby pit fixed this. I got a nearby shell then.

Entering and exploring underworld 1

The staircase near the shell put me near the shrine where you get the face key. Something I observed was that if you entered the shrine door from the top, link would be wrong warped places. I killed 1 enemy putting link into underworld 1 with odd graphics but normal tile physics. Nearby where I entered there was a 50 rupee chest, so I got that putting my total at 200 rupees. I warped south and found the Angler boss, and decided to kill him. It is possible to hit him with the sword spin a few frames earlier, but it didn’t change when the fight ended for whatever reason. Nearby was the roc’s feather and when I picked this up, the music got very glitchy. I then did a damage boost that only made the music even glitchier (if you didn’t boost it would sound a bit different). Then warped to the flippers and reset.

In mabe town

Resetting in underworld 1 usually puts you in Tarin’s house after resetting. Cloned a nearby shell, purchased the shovel (then reset to keep my rupee count), purchased 10 bombs (since for whatever reason collecting them in the air in level 8 didn’t put them into link’s inventory) and stole the bow. I’m not sure why but using the rod on the cucco after leaving the shop saved around 2 frames.

Level 1

Entered the place where the dead rooster lives and warped into level 1. By getting underground I was able to glitch the tiles in level 1. This allowed me to get the bunny err cello in a fun way.

Getting bow-wow

After finishing level 1 my only options were to go left onto the next screen where an owl would attack (impossible to warp past him without Pegasus boot warping) or play mambo’s song. The latter was better since it put link right below where bow-wow is. After getting him, I screen warped into the artist’s house to quickly get to animal village.

Entering underworld 1 again + level 2

Warped up to use shine’s back door. Here’s where things got interesting. I entered with a kill count of 3, but with the first instrument collected, for whatever reason it threw me close to level 2. In this glitchy mess I fought Missingno who when defeated made the pause menu come up for some odd reason. While in this glitchy paused mode you are basically stuck being able to switch items and press start. If you press start it starts glitching out the pause menu then the only way I found to stop that is to bring up the save menu. Right below me was a staircase tile that for whatever reason put me in level 2 right next to the instrument but with glitched tiles.

Entering underworld 2 plus level 8

I decided to wrong warp using the entrance to level 2. Since I had a kill count of 4 and wanted to keep it, I had to manipulate bow-wow into not eating enemies. During this I picked up a heart piece for the heck of it. After entering the warp, it put link in underworld 2 somewhere in level 8. Opening some chests makes random dialog appear so I did that. After a few screen warps, link just kind of enters nothing and appears underground. This is because the certain tiles behaved like staircase ones, like near the Cyclopes battle.

I screen warped underground to be taken to level 8 with glitched tiles. From there, I went on to the boss fight to find an interesting trick. I found that closed doors that opened on the top of the screen behaved like staircases and abused that. I also found that depending on what screen you entered from could effect where it would take you. One cool result I got was it throwing me right next to the cello in level 1.

Instead I warped near where the instrument was and picked up magic powder plus some bombs and an extra power bracelet (why not?). I then warped the instrument into the boss room. In order to do that, link needs to exit at a certain part of the instrument room due to its physics. This caused a banana-throwing lava-alligator to appear while link had some fun on the drums. Manipulating him so link wouldn’t get hit took a while. Because the instrument was in another room, the place where it took link was somewhere random in level 1 with glitched tiles.

Going to and completing level 4

By simply warping up a few screens from where I was thrown in level 1, I was in level 4. I picked up another power bracelet since we all know link wants to look stronger for the ladies!? Since the tiles were glitched, I entered a doorway that was at the top of the screen to be warped somewhere in level 4. From there, I warped two Anglers into the same room and defeated them. An interesting this was that the lag was so heavy that one spin attack was able to hit the Anglers twice in 1 swing a few times. Then picked up the instrument.

Defeating level 7 boss plus a shell

Entered an underwater staircase to only be put in a cave that wasn’t overly flooded and then went to animal village. Inside one of the houses there I warped to where the level 7 boss is. I decided to use bombs to defeat it which looked interesting. After killing it, I picked up a shell and reset.

Entering underworld 1 and completing level 3

Warped back to near the shrine below level 6 and had chomp eat an armos. Then screen warped up and entered underworld 1 using the cave. For whatever reason it put me right next to the Pegasus boots and the tiles looked odd but had their usual properties. Got the boots and went after the level 3 boss. He had glitchy dialog which I left on the screen for a few extra frames since it easily could disappear too fast. After defeating that boss, I did a few warps and went underground. Did a warp in there to glitch the tiles. I entered a glitched top door in the boss room to warp around the map.

From where I was placed, I was near level 6’s map, so I went in there to mess around. After opening the first chest with random text, it destroyed the sound of the game kind of. Opened another chest for some music and then went into the instrument room. Since I had entered level 6 while level 3 had been loaded the instrument in there was level 3’s instrument. I warped it into the room below and collected it, only to be interrupted by the boss getting mad and freaking out as I warped away. It dumped me in an empty room on level 1’s map somewhere so I reset.

More shells, starting the trading quest, and Marin

I used the Pegasus boots trick to warp to the right to avoid talking to the owl near level 1. After collecting a few shells, I approached Tarin who was after the beehive. He appears there after you complete level 3 and since in an unglitched run, you would have the stick at this point, he assumes you have it, allowing the trading quest to start here. An additional trick I found that *might?* be able to aid the LADX run is I was able to destroy Tarin by bombing a wall open near him. This left him gone and link in a similar state to how he was after getting the mambo. Collecting the hive fixed this.

I quickly warped to the animal village to get the pineapple. Nearby was a cave that you can warp to a 200 rupee chest so I went in there to have enough to visit mamu (and in the process bow-wow ate a person). Reset and warped the other direction to be placed in a cave near where Marin is on the beach. Warped here up and changed her into a moblin and then had her join me. Since I had bow-wow the game freaked out and loaded her as a chain chomp herself.

Getting Mamu’s song and entering level 5

I completed the sign maze after this to show off Marin and bow-wow, plus to have a little fun with the Pegasus boots. Just entering Mamu’s place using the stairs was boring, so I entered a nearby cave that took me to him. It glitched the screen to death and I got the song.

After that I reset and warped up until I was near the guy who wanted the pineapple. After trading it I entered a cave from the side and everything got weird…err...After killing 4 enemies, it put link in underworld 1 but with the strangest looking tiles I have ever seen and some messed up music (I think the game was dying). In that mess I defeated the miniboss to get the hookshot and then used a warp.

This placed me in level 5 with glitched tiles, so I messed around a bit by opening 2 chests to get the dialog and music effects they give. Warped the instrument into the boss room and decided to fight it. Because the tiles where glitched, actually hookshotting the boss was a bit tricky but I eventually found a way using v^ input. After defeating it, the instrument disappeared (regardless of if I listened to the text or not) and the tail stayed. I went back into the instrument room and warped the instrument back into the boss room again. This caused the dead tail to return to life as well as made a second tail spawn. While collecting the instrument, link took some damage, but every time he did he would just look like he was floating higher and higher in the air.

Collecting things and using the doghouse trick

The instrument dropped me off in level 1 again so I reset. A shell was nearby so I got that. I showed off a bit of pit jumping with the hookshot while getting back to the village. I collected another shell and then visited Tarin. He apparently had amnesia from the hive incident and decided to give me another shield. I then collected 2 more shells, threw a rock to kill a villager, and then with 2 kills, did the doghouse trick.

In underworld 2, I did some of the trading quest as well as showing off a trick at the shell house. I exited using a room that didn’t actually make it into the game (but still existed on the underworld map).

Entering underworld 2 and completing level 7

I reset after getting back to the over world to reset my kill count to 0. I then killed 1 enemy and did a wrong warp using the telephone house. It put me in the bottom of underworld 2 near where you get bow-wow, so after a few warps I was next to the mirror shield. I decided to fight the mini-boss only using magic powder since I had not shown it off yet. I then warped the portal that appears after defeating a mini-boss and used it.

It took me into a different place in underworld 2 in the middle of level 8. After a few screen warps, I entered a staircase backwards causing link to wrong warp. It took him near where level 7’s mini-boss was, but with glitched tiles, so I warped by entering another top doorway. This put me not to far off from the instrument.

Getting the Rooster and level 6

For whatever reason, the ghost decided to show up here. I think it was because this was the 4th dungeon I warped out of normally, but who knows? I warped to the pond since link was basically stuck in the tower wall. I got a shell on the way to the rooster. Right above the rooster was level 6 so I decided to take the level warp which put link over a pit in a random cave. Hootshot jumping solved getting out of this. I then used a nearby cave to wrong warp. I entered with I believe 11 enemies killed, which gave decent tile physics. After warping a few screens the sound disappeared for a few seconds but that is fixed by entering a staircase. Then I did an underground warp to glitch the tiles and got the instrument.

Side questing

Animal village was nearby so I warped down to trade for the hook, woke up the walrus making Marin leave, picked up a shell and reset. I warped Marin a few screens over to learn her song since the game lagged up a storm with all the sprites on the screen. Besides reducing lag it looked cool seeing link stand on water. I then traded for the mermaid’s top necklace, got a shell, traded for the scale and then got another shell.

By screen warping, I dragged the mermaid’s statue over and I found by putting the scale into it on another screen that the original statue gets stuck forever, but the lens is possible to get via warping in caves. After getting another shell, I warped up to a cave which gave me quick access to the lens. My next goal was to head to the shell house and collect 3 shells on the way. During this, I tried to make bow-wow eat enemies to reduce the heavy lag. I then got the L-2 sword and reset.

Resetting in the shell house puts you at the last cave you exited, so I entered there to quickly warp to the Lava Alligator’s house which is near where the boomerang man is. After trading in the rod, bow-wow got frustrated that I couldn’t trade in the shield or magic powder for whatever reason and ate the man, rod and all. I then warped down and up a few screens to enter underworld 2.

My goal was to simply reset in here since it would take you to Tarin’s house, but I wanted to play around. I found the level 8 boss had had enough of me and insisted that I just left. After pestering him again I gave in and reset.

Finishing up

I decided to return bow-wow since the final fight just got too laggy. Nearby I screen warped the fisherman up a screen so that when I paid to go fishing, he took me to underworld 2. At first I just reset, but, I decided to mess around in there. Mambo showed his true form as just a bunch of rabbits and Mamu freaked out. After freaking him out, I found a way to freeze the screen but still have link be moving behind that. I got another power brace and reset.

Since the last place I entered was from the fisherman, it still kept me there, but with normal tile physics. I then warped to the final boss and warped him into an interesting nearby room.

I tried to be creative here, using the shovel to reflect attacks, and just making link look as crazy as possible. It felt great just destroying the Ganon form though since I’ve gone through some pain trying to optimize him in the any% run (I will submit an improvement eventually, I just have a few more things to test…). I then messed around with the rooster and boomerang and defeated the nightmare. For a final twist I warped up a screen making the staircase that leads to the Wind Fish extend across the screen.

Special thanks

Nach: For suggesting this run, proving ideas on interesting things to do in this game, and for all the helpful feedback, really helped a lot!

Acheron86: For also suggesting a lot of interesting ideas and providing feedback.

Artemis251: For his website containing maps and explanations of tricks in this game. This site was a valuable recourse.

Brandon: For encoding once again (even though it made your computer mad), looks wonderful. Also your feedback helped me come up with a nice section when first entering the fisherman’s world.

Sonicpacker: For providing some feedback :p

Swordless Link: For his LADX run; I looked at this to better understand tricks like bomb glitching and such.

This was probably one of most interesting TASing experiences I’ve had. Learning about all these glitches and finding ways to apply them to make an interesting run proved to be quite entertaining to me. Sure, I had many frustrating moments making this (hexing desynchs, etc), but it was probably the most fun I’ve had TASing. Regardless of whether this gets accepted, I am very happy with the results, and I hope you enjoy it too!

Nach: For years I've been thinking a run like this would be excellent. Unfortunately, most people I spoke to didn't think so - till now. Due to this, I thought I would be one of the few who would really appreciate this run, and wasn't sure what audience response would be like.

Based on response, it seems almost everyone is wildly enthusiastic about this run. The run itself also surpassed my expectations for what this kind of run should be doing. Therefore, I am gladly accepting this as a new branch. May I also offer early congratulations for glitchy TAS of 2012, funny TAS of 2012, and probably gameboy TAS of 2012.

Brandon: Publication underway.

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