Brandon Dillon modifies The Legend of Zelda's code as he is playing it

(It’s Video Game Week on the Iceberg! New posts every day this week with in-depth niche topics relating to video games!)

This is an eye opening video for anyone who wants to know more about how video games actually work. In Part 4 of this series (parts 1, 2, and 3 are spent taking apart the physical cartridge), Brandon Dillon (developer of Hack n Slash) loads the software of Legend of Zelda into an emulator and picks apart the game code, modifying it as he’s playing to do things like give himself infinite health or skip around the level.

Now, the goal isn’t just to cheat at the game — it’s to learn something about how it’s put together by reverse engineering it. And untangling that mystery is a captivating adventure in and of itself.

pannenkoek2012 beats a Super Mario 64 level by pressing the A button...0.5 times?

(It’s Video Game Week on the Iceberg! New posts every day this week with in-depth niche topics relating to video games!)

If you’re new to the world of speedrunning, prepare for a wild ride. Videogame speedrunners are people who make it their goal to beat a game in the fastest way possible, typically by some combination of incredible dexterity and clever exploitation of the game’s systems and glitches. Though this particular video doesn’t have the goal of beating it the fastest, instead its goal is to beat the game with the fewest amount of button presses.

And oh boy does it exploit the game’s systems and glitches.

I can’t explain anything as well as pannenkoek2012 does, with his incredibly detailed and clear diagrams and commentary, so I’m not going to try. But be prepared for a whirlwind tour of just how deep you can go when you decide you’re going to take a game and push it to its absolute limits. Highlight: Parallel Universes. I’ll leave it at that.

Martin Enthed talks shop about the process for rendering hyper-realistic images of furniture

I don’t know if you’ve looked at an IKEA catalog recently, but if you have, you might be surprised to learn that 75% of those images are computer generated. Probably more at this point (this article is from two years ago). Martin Enthed explains how he and his team create computer graphics that look real enough to stand up to scrutiny next to photographs. While he discusses some technical things (including how each and every computer is used for rendering power as soon as its user goes home at night), illuminating for me was how he got the traditional-minded higher-ups of IKEA communications to accept using CG in their catalog — and the one time that people complained that the CG looked awful by pointing out 200 terrible product images, those turned out to be photographs (while the 2 or 3 they said were good turned out to be CG).

Oh also: the second image on the page — the one of an office with white cabinets and a desk and a chair? That’s a gif. Wait for it.