Back in Time (BiT) is a glitch that exists in Skyward Sword, Twilight Princess, and Wind Waker. It allows you to retain control of Link while on the title screen. Each of these games activate BiT differently, with very different behaviors and uses. In Skyward Sword, Back in Time is extremely useful, allowing manipulation of both save files and the title screen map simultaneously.
To activate BiT, first die. Some useful methods of dying:
Then on the continue prompt, choose continue and reset the game immediately afterwards. You have about a half-second window in which to reset, and you can reset the game with either the Reset button on the Wii or the Reset option in the Home Menu.
If done correctly the title screen will show and Link will spawn in mid-air and fall into a void. He is then dropped back on solid ground by a non-existing Skyloft Knight, and a glitched cutscene will play. You should then gain control of Link, and be able to move around Skyloft.
If the title screen loads normally, then you likely reset before selecting continue. If the game turns black and freezes, then you reset the game too late.
When you start the Back in Time Glitch (BiT), a different version of Skyloft is loaded. Performing a BiTSave will load you in this alternate version of Skyloft as well.
This version of Skyloft is on layer 28 and has some key differences from the regular Skyloft:
There are a number of bizarre things that can happen during BiT, many of which will crash the game.
There are several useful glitches that employ Back in Time. The major BiT tricks have their own pages:
BiTMagic, and more generally loading information in BiT, used for modifying your environment in BiT using information saved on your files, is explained below. This trick is vital but not necessarely the easiest to understand.
Some other glitches in BiT that are nonetheless useful are also below.
While in BiT, start deleting a file. While the file is still deleting, save at a statue. After the game is done deleting and saving, the file will appear to have one heart, and the name will be a blurred mark. When the file is loaded, Link instantly dies. This is useful for activating BiT easily when Bombs or other damage sources are not an option.
In addition to being a useful way to activate BiT, a corrupt file can also be used to access nightttime BiT, as well as certain scene flags that are only available at the start of the game. This makes it useful for a few Reverse BiTMagic tricks as well.
Another way to create a corrupt file is to never open the splash screen after activating Back in Time. Go to a bird statue and save while not opening the splash screen (this must be done using the Wii Motion Plus Tutorial screen). Saving in such a way will overwrite the file that activated BiT with a Corrupt File.
While the Back In Time Glitch (BiT) is active, it is possible to load items and other information from save files by performing a number of actions.
In all cases, the file that the information is loaded from is whichever file you had selected when the action occured. Selecting a file means pressing A on a file in the file selection screen to open it, where you get the option to start it. Furthermore, the action of opening the splash screen into the file selection screen is equal to loading the information from the file in the slot with the highest number: usually file 3. If file 3 is empty (=New Adventure file), it will use file 2, and if that file is empty, it will pick file 1. Similarly, opening a new game or hero mode file and then going back to the file selection will select the file with the highest slot number, and the same thing also happens after a deletion or a copy. If you haven't selected a file, it won't load any information.
Your savefiles contain many different kinds of information, that are pre-loaded when you select them. For some reason, the Title Screen uses has its own dummy arrays for containing those information as well. When you update a scene flag in BiT, then all the scene flags from the last selected file get reflected to that title screen array (this is what's known as BiTMagic). The same thing applies for two other kinds of flags, known as the story flags and the inventory flags. If you update a story flag during Back in Time the story flags from the last file selected will get reflected, and if you update an inventory flag then the inventory flags from the last file selected witll get reflected. Picking up any item or obtaining an item from a chest updates the inventory flags because doing that sets an inventory flag. Opening a chest or saving at a statue both sets a story flag and thus will update the story flags.
At first, selecting a file in the file menu won't do anything, but after performing some actions in BiT, the information from your file will be committed. This means simply selecting your file will change your environment. The sections below are exemples of various interactions that will make selecting files have an effect. Make sure to understand what selecting a file means, as this concept will be ever-present from now on.
Loading Story Flags is done by updating story flags in BiT, usually by saving over a file during BiT, since saving sets a story flag, and thus loads the story flag information from that file. Things that get loaded include but are not limited to:
Notable actions that load story flags:
Loading inventory flags is done by updating inventory flags, usually by collecting items. Picking up a Stamina Fruit, Heart, Rupee, or other item with a text box, or updating your rupee or ammo count, will update inventory flag information, including:
Entering a loading zone updates both story flag and inventory flag information. However it does not update scene flag information (see BiTMagic below).
Note: Tablets and Swords are loaded by loading zones too, but they need another reload to appear or be usable.
BiTMagic is a method of modifying your environment during BiT. While originally used just to open the upper and lower academy gates in BiT, it has since been found to be much more flexible. BiTMagic uses scene flags that are saved to files to modify the environment during BiT, allowing for easier access to various areas while in BiT.
A scene flag is any sort of permanent or persistent change that can occur to an Area's environment. Exemples include pushing logs off of cliffs, blowing up piles of boulders, or opening gates. Every Area in the game has a segment of memory that stores the current values of its scene flags, and that information is pre-loaded upon file selection in BiT.
To perform BiTMagic, you just need to make sure that you have the correct scene flag set on your file. Select that file, then perform a scene flag change or a commit: some sort of environment change in BiT, such as bonking a tree to reveal a hidden rupee, or checking a bird statue, which causes a change in the pre-loaded scene flags. This will update the desired flags and cause your environment in BiT to change suddenly. All the scene flags in the game have been documented by community members and can be found here. Any of these flags can be either pre-loaded or used as commits.
As you may have noticed by now, different kinds of interactions will load different kinds of flags. For exemple bonking a tree to reveal a rupee will trigger a scene flag change, thus will load scene flag information from your file; picking up a stamina fruit for the first time, or updating your rupee amount by picking one up will update inventory flags from your file. This is how the loading of information from your file described in the section above works. BiTMagic generally refers to loading scene flag information.
When selecting a file and then performing a scene flag change, the game will copy over the current scene flag array from your file over to a section of the title screen scene flag array. That array contains portions for each area of the game (ie Skyloft, Faron Woods, Sealed Grounds, Eldin Volcano...). If you bonk a tree with a file selected that is saved in a specific area (for exemple Skyloft), then the game will copy the scene flags from that file to that areas portion of the title screen scene flag array (the Skyloft portion in the exemple), and also write with it the scene flag change done in BiT. These won't be overwritten until another scene flag change is done with another file that is saved in the same area (in the exemple, Skyloft), and nothing else (even loading zones won't overwrite).
When selecting a file, the game will read the portion of the title screen scene flag array that corresponds to the area the file selected is saved in, and that will cause the environment to change around you if flags can be read there (ie if flags from a file saved in the same area were committed previously). When you enter a new area and haven't selected a file yet, the game reads by default the title screen scene flag array that corresponds to the area you just loaded in BiT (for exemple, if you commit sealed grounds flags then enter the sealed grounds, the environment will change immediately after the load without needing you to select the sealed grounds file first).
The important difference between loading scene flags into BiT compared to loading story or inventory flags (see Loading Information in BiT) is the fact that on the title screen there is one array for scene flags for each area. These has various consequences for loading scene flags: for exemple several files can be committed at once; or if two files are saved in the same area, the same scene flags are going to be read no matter the file you select.
Note: A Hero Mode file is not empty and can be selected (although it has no scene flag). It is considered saved in the Sealed Grounds.
BiTMagic is most commonly used to open the gates leading to the Knight Academy during Skyloft BiT, but it has many more uses. The following table lists the most important scene flag BiTMagic uses in each area, but it is not an exhaustive list.
|1x01||Opens the Lower Academy Gates|
|1x02||Unlocks the Upper Academy Doors and triggers 7x08 inside the Knight Academy|
|1x04||Triggers Bx80 in front of the Practice Sword chest|
|2x02||Raises the Tablet Pedestal inside the Statue of the Goddess|
|2x20||Triggers the Thunderhead Cutscene for Early Thunderhead|
|3x20||Opens the Upper Academy Gates and unlocks the Sparring Hall Doors|
|5x02||Opens the Shed Door (with a cutscene unless committed with checking a save statue)|
|5x04||Unlocks the door to Zelda's room|
|9x04||Unlocks the door to Batreaux's house|
|9x08||Unlocks every door inside the Academy but Link's and Zelda's|
|Ax80||Removes Fi Text for the Eldin Pillar|
|Bx08||Spawns the Cursed Medal Chest inside Batreaux's house|
|Dx01||Removes Fi Text for Lanayru Pillar|
|Dx02 & Dx04||Together raise the Light Tower (with a cutscene)|
|Temporary flags 0x02 & 0x04||Triggers Fi Text for Early Life Tree Seedling|
|Room 0 Zone flags 0x01 & 0x02||Together trigger 0x80 on Skyloft|
|Room 0 Zone flags 1x02 or 1x08||Are unset every frame †|
|0x01||Shortens the Bartender's text after breaking the Chandellier|
|1x80||Slightly shortens the Chandellier falling cutscene|
|3x80||Removes the Lumpy Pumpkin Intro Cutscene|
|0x20||Unlocks the Door to the Sealed Temple (from the Sealed Grounds Spiral)|
|0x40||Triggers the Goron Text for defeating the bokoblins (1x08) and the Statue Activation Cutscene in Behind the Temple layer 1|
|1x08||Triggers the Statue Activation Cutscene in Behind the Temple layer 1|
|1x10||Log to Faron Woods (at Behind the Temple) pushed|
|1x80||Air Gusts in the Sealed Grounds Spiral active|
|2x20||Go in the circle and play the harp to learn the Ballad of the Goddess in Sealed Temple layer 2|
|2x40||Allows for targetting the Gate of Time even without the Master Sword. Also activates the Imprisonned 2 fight in Sealed Temple layer 3.|
|3x20||Go in the circle to learn the Ballad of the Goddess instantly in Sealed Temple layer 2|
|3x80||Unlocks the Door to Behind the Temple (from inside the Sealed Temple)|
|5x20||Life Tree Seedling planted in the past (and Tree in the present but requires reload)|
|5x40||Life Tree Seedling planted in the present|
|5x80||Log to Behind the Temple (in the Sealed Grounds Spiral) pushed down|
|7x04||Unlocks the Door to Hylia's Realm (from Hylia's Temple)|
|8x08 & 8x10 & 8x20 & 8x40 & 8x80||Triggers 0x40, the Goron Text for defeating the bokoblins (1x08), and the Statue Activation Cutscene in Behind the Temple layer 1|
|9x80||Allows using the Groosenator to Lanayru (among other requirements)|
|Temporary flag 1x80||Guarantees a rupee drawing on the Goddess Wall|
|Room 1 Zone flag 0x80||Set every frame in Sealed Grounds Spiral layer 1 ††|
|Room 1 Zone flags 1x01, 1x04 or 1x80||Allows getting launched respectively to Flooded Faron Woods, Bug Heaven and the Shipyard, after unlocking any form of the Groosenator (see Early Thunderhead Groosenator Launch)|
|Room 2 Zone flag 1x02||Unlocks the Door to Behind the Temple from Hylia's Temple (leads to the Hylia's Realm, this door is normally never openable)|
|0x04||The Vine to Deep Woods is down (requires reload)|
|1x10||Lopsa Bokoblins defeated (requires reload) (this is usually stolen from the Sealed Grounds, see stealing flags below)|
|2x01||Log to Lopsa is pushed down|
|2x02||The highest Log in Deep Woods is pushed down|
|2x04||The last Log in Deep Woods is pushed down|
|2x10||Triggers the Crystal opening Skyview Temple (which triggers the Door Opening)|
|2x20||Triggers the Skyview Temple Door Opening Cutscene (also triggers the Skyview Entering Cutscene in Deep Woods layer 1)|
|3x02||The Water Dragon Scale Trial Gate is opened (only on layers 3 and 4, requires reload)|
|3x10||Log after initial rope is pushed down|
|3x20||Log near In the Woods Statue is pushed down|
|3x40||Log to Lake Floria is pushed down (this is usually stolen from the Sealed Grounds, see stealing flags below)|
|3x80||Log near the Initial Entrance is pushed down|
|7x02||Triggers the Lake Floria Door Opening Cutscene and 7x04 (this is usually stolen from Skyloft, see stealing flags below)|
|Room 0 Zone flag 0x08||Triggers Erla talking on layers 2, 3 and 4 (7x40)|
|Dx10||Removes the Waterfall in front of the Ancient Cistern Entrance when it exists (also triggers the Ancient Cistern Entering Cutscene on layer 1)|
|Faron Silent Realm|
|Bx01||Removes the Fi text near the Waking Water|
|Dx10||Drastically shortens the Fi Text at the beginning of the Trial|
|Room 0 Zone flag 0x04||Slightly shortens the Fi Text at the beginning of the Trial|
|Room 0 Zone flag 6x40||Completely removes the Fi text at the beginning of the Trial|
† These flags are very useful because they unset every frame on Skyloft: this means you only need to select your file that has these flags to immediately get them to unset. This causes a scene change thus is a commit. For short, simply selecting such a file in BiT Skyloft will always get it committed, without having to do anything else. This effect is usually referred to as an "auto-commit". Places where this is possible are:
†† This can be used to commit the flags of any file by simply selecting it in the Sealed Grounds Spiral layer 1. This is yet another useful exemple of "auto-commits". This one however sets instead of unsets, which means it will work for almost every file.
One last use for BiTMagic is stealing flags from one area for use in another during Back in Time. To do so, select a file and perform a well-thought-out scene flag change (this is called the stolen flag). The scene flags from that file as well as the scene flag change done in BiT will be copied over to one of the portions of the title screen flag array. Now go to another area during Back in Time (for exemple, in Faron Back in Time). If you never overwrote that portion of the title screen flag array (by either committing a file saved in the same area or by performing another scene flag change with that same file after having reselected it), you will be able to use that stolen flag for BiTMagic uses in that other area. You can also steal more than one flag if all the flags have been stolen by files saved in different places, or if they have been stolen by the same file while making sure that file isn't reselected between the various steals.
Notable uses for stealing flags during Back in Time are: stealing the Upper Academy Statue flag on Skyloft for use in Faron Woods BiT for the Song of the Hero Skip, or stealing the flag for entering Faron Woods from the Sealed Grounds for the first time for use in Faron Woods BiT to get the log to the Lake Floria down.
Note: Stealing Flags also works with Story Flags and Inventory Flags, although it is more restrictive. It is possible to steal such a flag by setting one of them in BiT, and as long as you don't reselect any file you will be able to use it. If you reselect any file you will lose the flag. One exemple of this trick would be doing the entire Faron Silent Realm in BiT, obtain the Water Dragon Scale inventory flag with one file, and then enter Lake Floria in BiT without reselecting any file. This will allow you to spin jump to the Ancient Cistern Entrance without the scale being on any file. Another exemple would be stealing the story flag for the Sealed Grounds introductory cutscene with a file that normally has Faron Woods layer 0, and entering Faron Woods without reselecting a file in order to access Faron Woods layer 1 despite not having an appropriate file setup.
This section is very useful to know for Normal Mode speedruns, but can also impact any category that has a Corrupt File on the third slot, because this glitch can then be done accidently if the runner is not careful in that case.
Another type of flags are cutscene skip flags: they govern whether or not you can skip cutscenes by holding 2. This type of flag is unique because it is saved in real-time. For exemple, if you watch a cutscene then reset the game without saving, you will still be able to skip the cutscene when playing on that file again. In Back in Time, this allows for setting cutscene skip flags on files without having to start them (contrarely to Reverse BiTMagic), by simply watching the cutscene in BiT. For exemple, enter the Sealed Grounds Introductory cutscene with a file that can skip it, then switch to a Corrupt File, then skip the cutscene, and now the Corrupt File will always be able to skip that cutscene.
Whether or not you are allowed to skip a cutscene in Back in Time is determined by the currently loaded cutscene flags. The currently loaded cutscene flags are from the file that was selected the last time a cutscene played that caused a change in the cutscene flags (for exemple, skipping a cutscene by holding 2 with a Corrupt File selected will load the cutscene flags from the Corrupt File, since that would set a cutscene flag on a file that has none). Otherwise, the currently loaded cutscene flags are from the file used to enter the last loading zone.
There is a trick that allows one to dupe cutscene flags from one file to another. It is very similar to File Duping, but only copies cutscene flags instead of the other kinds of information. The idea behind it is just like File Duping: when saving cutscene flags information, the game needs to know the Active File (the file that has information loaded) and the Targetted Savefile Slot (the slot number where the information will be saved). However, the act of opening the Splash Screen does not update the Targetted Savefile Slot and only the Active File, which is what allows a desync.
Here is the file setup for unlocking the ability to skip every cutscene on a Normal Mode file (after the intro):
Then follow the next steps:
Ending the cutscene will set the cutscene skip flag, which File 3 does not have. Thus it will update them, but they will get saved on the wrong file: the last manually selected file (or the file used to enter the cutscene with). Thus File 1 can now skip every cutscene in the game.
Note: It is also totally possible to lose cutscene skip flags using the same process. This usually happens by mistake when there is a Corrupt File or a Normal Mode file on the 3rd slot. To lose cutscene flags, enter a loading zone before a cutscene with a Hero Mode file (or a file that can skip the cutscene), open the splash screen then skip the cutscene by holding 2.
When you save, a saving flag is set. If you try to reset the game while the saving flag is set, then all audio is removed and your buttons no longer work. The game will reset once the saving flag is removed. This is done to prevent save corruption by turning off the Wii while saving.
While in BiT, load a file, and save right before the screen fully fades to black. If done right, the saving message should not appear. What will happen is that the saving flag is set, but no save is done, and your file is loaded normally and can be played normal. You will know that the save flag is set if you cannot press the Home button.
When the saving flag is set, attempting to reset the game will result in the Saving Flag glitch. Audio is removed and buttons do not work. You can still use the control stick (to move Link) and use Motion+ (to slash your sword). You can still enter loading zones, and areas are loaded as normal, but the Saving Flag glitch is still in effect. All triggers work normally.
Anything that requires button input is impossible, such as progressing through text and saving. This makes this glitch nearly useless.
Note: Saving at a statue will set the saving flag again, and then remove it when the save is complete, which fixes the saving flag glitch.