prototypes Archive


Two new NES prototype ROMs released

Two previously unreleased Nintendo Entertainment System prototypes have found their way out of obscurity in the last week.

The first release was Dino Hockey, a bizarre take on ice hockey by Sunsoft which features dinosaurs in place of humans. What makes this release more interesting is that there was almost no coverage in the press of the time about Dino Hockey, so it was relatively unknown among the NES community. The only sighting of the game was at the 1991 Summer CES. The prototype is barely playable, but it is still an interesting piece of history.

The second release is of the scrapped NES port of Atari arcade racer Hard Drivin’. This was released as part of the 10th anniversary celebrations of the prototype focused site Lost Levels, run by Frank Cifaldi. Cifaldi had recently caught up with the NES version’s programmer, Mark Morris, who was working on the game for Tengen. As you’d expect, the game was a bit much for the NES hardware, but it’s still a pretty admirable effort.

Via RetroCollect


Former Sega employee unearths working “Pluto” prototype

AssemblerGames forum member Super Magnetic has unveiled a prototype system that came into his possession while working at Sega.

Codenamed Pluto, the machine was essentially a remodelled Sega Saturn with an in-built NetLink adapter.

It is believed that two of these prototypes exist, but the one shown off by Super Magnetic is believed to be fully functional. Any plans to mass produce the prototype were probably killed off with the poor performance of the Saturn outside of Japan and the push to move onto a format where an internet interface would be available to the entire userbase (Dreamcast).


Demo of the restored version of Resident Evil 1.5 released!

What’s Resident Evil 1.5 you say? Well, the story goes that about 70-80% through development, the producers of Resident Evil 2, Shinji Mikami and Hideki Kamiya, decided the game was too action oriented and not up to the high standard of the original game. So they started again.

That original version of Resident Evil 2, dubbed Resident Evil 1.5 by fans, has been the most wanted prototype on the PlayStation. Many have teased that they have a copy of the prototype, but aside from a couple of screenshots and videos, nobody has released a playable version.

Until now. The Resident Evil 1.5 restoration project is a rag tag group that managed to get a copy of the prototype and has since spent considerable time restoring it to a point where it can be enjoyed by all. Today they released a playable demo version marking the first time the public will get a taste of this mythical beta.

Of course, the project still continues – apparently the in-development version is quite a bit further along than this demo. The demo release was prompted by someone attempting to sell the team’s work to date on eBay; originally the team had intended only to release their work once it was completed.

You can get the demo here.


Final Fantasy II NES prototype appears on eBay

Lost Levels founder, Gamasutra news director and video game historian Frank Cifaldi has decided to part with one of his prized possessions – a one-of-a-kind prototype of the planned-but-ultimately-cancelled US release of Final Fantasy II for the NES.

Of course, you’d want to have a bit of free cash around before you consider it – the asking price is a cool $US50,000 (though offers are welcomed).

The NES release of Final Fantasy II was scrapped after Squaresoft decided to move onto the Super Nintendo and localise Final Fantasy IV (which hit the US as Final Fantasy II, starting some naming confusion for several years). This particular prototype comes from the Winter 1991 CES, where the game was shown off.


Cuss-ridden NBA Jam prototype found

Prototype collecting website Nintendo Player has unearthed a rather amusing little piece of software which they’ve dubbed NBA Jam XXX.

It’s pretty much the same as the released version of NBA Jam, except that the commentator swears like a sailor.

The game was provided to Nintendo Player anonymously, but a note was included that described how the version of the game came about. “Due to the memory constraints of the 16-bit system, the long strands of voice samples from the classic arcade game had to be modified to fit a Super Nintendo cartridge. Tim Kitzrow, NBA Jam‘s memorable voice-over announcer, was called back into the studio to shorten his calls. During one of these recording sessions, a number of outtakes were saved as a joke, which served as the basis for a special, profanity-filled, in-house-only game–one that, if word ever got out about its existence, could have severely jeopardized Acclaim’s relationship with the NBA league and completely shut down NBA Jam‘s development for good.”

Source: Nintendo Player


Legend of Zelda prototype sells for $US55,000

Last week, a prototype version of The Legend of Zelda for the Nintendo Entertainment System was listed with a Buy It Now price of $US150,000. While most people (quite rightfully) scoffed at the price, it appears someone was willing to spend an obscene amount of money for the cartridge, as it has now sold for a price of $US55,000.

Speaking to the Examiner, the seller said “I feel as though that was accomplished. It was also important getting prototype video game collecting into the news. It is amazing what is out there in released and unrealesed protos.”

When asked about getting a third of his original asking price he replied “Do I think it’s worth more? Yes. There was no way I was taking less than the previous world record. The fact that it remained in tact over the last 25 years is amazing. The legacy of this cart and how it came into the hands of the previous owner is incredible.”

Do you think that the buyer got his money’s worth? The word going around the prototype community is that this version of the cartridge is indistinguishable from the retail release – possible leaving someone rather red faced and considerably poorer. The label on the cartridge is dated 02/23/87 – some six months before the US release, but a full year after the original Famicom Disk System release.

Source: the Examiner


SMSPower releases prototype ROM for Crazy Faces on Game Gear

Awesome Master System and Game Gear resource SMSPower has released another Game Gear prototype ROM, this time for the unreleased puzzle game Crazy Faces.

Crazy Faces was developed by The Kremlin, the studio responsible for Master System and Game Gear ports of games such as Desert Strike. It’s a slide puzzle game with a bit of a twist, in that you summon the pieces onto the play field. The sliding pieces can only be stopped by a wall or another piece, which makes things a little more complicated.

The game’s puzzles feature characters from games published by both Sega and Domark (who was set to publish the game).

Crazy Faces was due to be published in 1993, but was cancelled for reasons unknown.


Mega Drive Dragon’s Lair prototype released

It’s exactly the same game as the SNES one, so don’t get your hopes up.

MrMark0673 and Beaglepuss of the Nintendo Age forums are running what they call “The Summer of Protos“, where they will be dumping various unreleased games during the coming summer months. Who knows what they will have in store for us?

Source: NintendoAge via RetroCollect