For all purposes, it’s an official ROM hack, but it’s super interesting to see Nintendo do this.
Nintendo seems to be doing some interesting things with its classic games, for subscribers of the Nintendo Switch Online service. These games are already tweaked for online gameplay with friends, as well as getting built in save state support and being upscaled for HD resolutions. Now, it looks like Nintendo is also using the service to put out some tweaked versions of their classic games.
For instance, a special version of The Legend of Zelda (the original NES game) was made available to Nintendo Switch Online users this month. This version is called Living the Life of Luxury, and starts players off with the maximum possible amount of rupees, bombs, and keys that it is possible for them to hold. That’s not all, either— players already have the Arrow, Blue Candle, Bait, and Red Potion in this version of the game, as well as the Blue Ring (which halves the damage you take), the Silver Sword (that doubles the damage you dish out), and the Power Bracelet (which lets you push heavy items). That, plus your starting health is now at 6 hearts, instead of 3.
Basically, given how freakishly unforgiving the original game is, these tweaks try to make it easy and less daunting for you to engage with its admittedly secrets-packed world. It’s for all purposes an official ROM-hack— but I think it’s an interesting idea, and I’d like to see Nintendo do this with more of its classic games.