What is the "practice hack?"
The practice hack, created by Arnethegreat, is ROM of the vanilla version of Yoshi's Island that is modified to allow save-states, auto-scroll disable, egg-count manipulation, free-roam, and many other useful tools for learning how to speedrun the game.The practice hack can be downloaded just like any other SNES ROM. The only difference is, because most flash cartridges (Super UFO Pro 8 and Super Everdrive) currently do not offer stand-alone support for enhancement chips like the SuperFX2, the Yoshi's Island practice hack can be used in conjunction with a physical copy of Yoshi's Island inserted into the top of the Super UFO Pro 8. However, recently SD2SNES offers stand alone use of the practice hack.
What is the Super UFO Pro 8?
The Super UFO Pro 8 is a type of flash cartridge that can allow players to load and play ROMs on original hardware. Yoshi's Island is one of the few games on the SNES that uses an enhancement chip called the SuperFX 2. Rather than flood this section with technical information about the chip, we'll just include the link to the Wikipedia article that explains what the chip is, and how it works.
The Super UFO Pro 8 is shaped very similarly to original Super Famicom cartridges. It has a removable cap on the top that allows you to insert an SNES/SFC cartridge (physically identical to how the old Sonic and Knuckles cartridge worked on the Sega Genesis). The Super UFO Pro 8 also requires an SD card in order to function. Most sizes will work, depending how many ROMs you're planning on putting on it. If you're just planning on practicing Yoshi's Island, something as small as a 4GB SD card would be sufficient. Unfortunately the UFO is often unreliable and can crash at random, making it annoying to practice with.
What is SD2SNES?
SD2SNES is another type of flash cart. It comes in many shapes modeled after Super Famicom and SNES carts, and most are region free. It is basically a super powerful emulator inside a flash cart, and as of lately it can do Super FX2 and SA-1, two chip types that no other flash cart can do by themselves. The firmware itself is free to download, but the hardware is rather pricey, around $200 new. The payoff is that it is super reliable and is very fast, which are two things that the UFO lacks.
How do I use the practice hack?
Making the practice hack work on original hardware can be tricky at first, but it certainly isn't that complicated. Even though the practice hack is a downloadable ROM that you will place on your SD card, you will still need a physical copy of Yoshi's Island on top of the Super UFO Pro 8 for it to work. The reason for this goes back to the SuperFX2 enhancement chip inside the Yoshi's Island cartridge. Because the Super UFO Pro 8 doesn't have native support for enhancement chips, the physical Yoshi's Island cartridge is required. The Super UFO Pro 8 loads the practice hack ROM, then just uses the SuperFX2 chip inside the actual cartridge.
To make it work, you will need to download the version of the practice hack that matches the version on your physical cartridge. See our section on version differences to determine what version your cartridge is. If you have the Japanese 1.0 cartridge, then only the Japanese 1.0 version of the hack will work. If you have the US 1.0 cartridge, then only the US 1.0 version of the practice hack will work. The same holds true for both Japanese/US 1.1 and later versions.