Last year I seemed to notice something like a boom of the lost games;
I refer to games that were known but that they had not become available to the public, because they were canceled or disappeared.
Prototypes, fairs demos, games that we knew only for the tiny photos of the magazines of twenty or thirty years ago: year after year, these types of materials are gaining importance that have not always been granted, relegated in many cases to the
Gray areas of emulation or hacking communities, sometimes in the same bag as piracy.
Legitimacy did not reach them in 2022, but the naturalness with which they talk about them and the wide variety of projects that are born around it is wider and more fertile than ever.
He spent a few years ago with Ultracore, for example, the lost game of Digital Illusions, the study we know today as EA says.
Ultracore then had another title, hardcore;
The media, the first half of the 90s, played and even published advances, but the arrival of the first PlayStation sent to hell a project that was practically finished.
There was no place for a Mega Drive run and gun in 1994, Psychosis thought, Publisher of the game, despite the fact that Sega’s console was the best-selling desktop of that year (and it was not bad 1995, although the market obviously
It was turning towards the new generation, SEGA included).
But there was a place for a Mega Drive run and gun in 2020, it seems, when the now renowned Ultracore ended
Physical editions of very limited roll, as its own name suggests-and topped with the help of the original developers of the 16-bit version.
It was a special project for Lindgren because he had something to close circles: thirty years earlier, he himself was part of the Illusions digital team that was developing the original hardcore before he was canceled by surprise when he was in the final stretch of his development.
I mention this case, relatively distant, because I am interested in being promoted by one of the people who worked on the original project, and even that its development has ended, three decades late, with the approval and the help of a team that is dedicated today, within Electronic Arts, to very different things.
It seems that there are less and less fear to open drawers and bring to light old material.
This is the case of Dino force, one of the best known PC Game Games and that arrived at the hands of the public in 2022, thirty years after being seen in public in magazines in the early 90s. This relaunch is responsible for PCE works,
A company that produces limited editions of ancient games-work in the niche, because they are specialized in PC Engine-that to get the game it had the help of a French collector, Alex Same, but also of Tourism Tacoma, the programmer
Original Dino force.
The version that PCE works received needed some work before being ready to leave, according to the group-hub to correct visual glitches and even rebalance the gameplay to make it more playable-but it was the first relatively final version that had been available
of the public so far, after years of evil prototypes or demonstrated.
PCE Works has produced a physical version of Dino force, yes (which should begin to be sent to the people who bought it between now, mid-January, and the last days of the month), but the group also launched the ROM as a free download, for
Do not disturb the rockets of the PC Engine community.
There are very interesting stories in these lost games, often more human stories than what we usually read and tell when we talk about the video game industry.
I think for example in the case of Samurai Showdown V Perfect, another lost game, perhaps in quotes, which ended up dating 2020, fifteen years after its moment.
This story is especially good: this perfect version of Samurai Showdown V was going to be the third and final review of the fighting game, and was developed behind SNK by a small team led by Kanji Takata, the original director.
At that time, Samurai Showdown VI was already in development and SNK was not interested in investing more time or more money in another review of the fifth delivery, but Takata decided to move the project at all costs.
Only on one occasion the game became seen by the public: it was in a location test in a recreational hall, in 2004, that SNK itself dismantled so fast (upon learning, incidentally, that the game existed and had been developed
without his permission) that Takata did not even see it.
He did keep a ROM of the complete and final game, which was the one that translated and officially launched, this time with SNK’s approval.
The boom was not a way of speaking.
In 2022 the Carnival prototype was published: CentOS Adventure, a platform for Nintendo 64 based on the film of the same name, of 1999, and which was shown to the media in the E3 of the same year.
There was a version of the great Loki Tori for Nintendo DS that never came out, and that was rescued at the end of 2022 by the Forest of Illusion conservation group, which also recovered the Carnival prototype with which this paragraph begins;
Two Tribes, the (deceased) study that Loki Tori developed, offered to speak with Forest of Illusion to solve the doubts that could arise from this unfinished version.
It was the Apogee herself, head of Duke Nuke, who warned that they had found a Nintendo D De development cartridge with Assets of the games that did not get out of the Duke Nuke trilogy that once began to develop for the Nintendo laptop, and of which once came to see even a four-minute trailer (I repeat: four minutes) in which a second gameplay was not seen.
Duke Nuke is, in fact, a recent classic of prototypes.
The most interesting is probably that of Duke Nuke Forever, the 2001 version, long before the game changed hands and left that way after years of Development Hell, but there is more.
It is, for example, Duke Nuke: Endangered Species, a hunting game in which the sluggish character has to tear down and capture dangerous creatures, from crocodiles and dinosaurs to werewolf;
There was talk of him in the E3 of the year 2000, and seems to be something like a clone of carnivores with Duke Nuke attached to them.
This was already published almost at the end of 2022, and just ten days later another prototype came, this time from a platform called Duke Nuke 4 Eva and that returned to the 2D design of the first deliveries of the series but using prerandomized graphics that they wanted to remember
to Duke Nuke 3D.
The game title was preserved, but the project was canceled in 1997, when it had been a year of development;
It was in 97 when working at Duke Nuke Forever, precisely.
One more prototype, appeared halfway.
At the end of last year, Giles Goddard, one of Argonaut’s veteran programmers who worked in Nintendo in the nineties (taking care of the most technical parts of some Super Nintendo and Nintendo 64 games, from Star Fox to Mario’s malleable malleable
The Press Start screen by Super Mario 64), spoke about an F-Zero for Switch that proposed to Nintendo, although it seems that there was no progress and never went from being a proposal.
The interesting thing is not so much in the details of the game that was going to be (there is talk of more realistic physics, races between 32 ships, 60 frames per second; the expected, within what fits) as in the fact that Goddard mentions a
Prototype, and even access to teach it to Didyouknowgaming, the channel in which they interviewed him.
In the end it seems that he cast back for legal reasons;
Who knows if within twenty or thirty years, when someone finds it on an old hard drive, we are celebrating that someone has made it public.
From time to time there are also games that were missing, for some reasons or others.
Alex came out, developed by Dmitry Pavlov sky in 1985 and now playable from the Archive Internet browser;
Pavlov sky is not as well known as his colleague Alexey Pacino, which he helped develop Tetris (nothing less!), But for a long time he speculated about what this hill would be like that, although he did published, he seemed lost in the history of the
Soviet computer science until someone found him miraculously in the bowels of an old computer Dell that he bought in Bulgaria.
Not only in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics games were lost.
In 1996, Square published a game called Treasure Conflict.
Do not martyr if one does not know it, but we must not miss the opportunity to meet Treasure Conflict, perhaps the most desirable video game in history: it is an air combat game in which between fray and fray you can talk to different characters,
They give you clues about the location on the map of different treasures that you can then go out to look for with your Zeppelin, a zeppelin with weapons.
A few days ago, the first English translation of Treasure Conflict was published, which at the time did not go out of Japan.
It is a case of inauguration that rescues a game that was Lost in Translation (something increasingly common, also), but in this case, if not because of the unofficial preservation of the emulation scene, it could also have really lost it:
He left Satellaview, Nintendo’s experiment with the digital distribution via satellite in Super Nintendo, nothing less.
The Satellaview Catalog is reduced, and many of its games had already left or ended up dating other consoles, but others remained exclusive;
This is the case of Treasure Conflict.
Because of the particularities of this Super Nintendo accessory, emulation is not always simple;
In addition, the fact that the games were issued to storage units designed to be overwritten makes it necessary
That some data are not even recoverable, because it never ceased to be temporary and were erased when the Satellaview went out.
The recovery in the case of Treasure Conflict is double;
It is not commercial or official, yes, but it is double.
It was another era, but the case can remember that of Stadia, another platform without physical support and that closed yesterday, without making too much noise.
Google’s experiment with the cloud proposed to play from almost any screen and with a command as unique hardware;
It is a reality that seems more and more feasible, especially seeing the performance (and acceptance) of the similar Xbox or Nvidia services.
To give his proposal more attractive, Google worked exclusively with different studies so that his catalog had games that were not available in other places.
Again, and perhaps more pronounced than in Satellaview, the amount of exclusive is not very large, but there were a few that developed only for Stadia, and in some of those cases the end of the service implies the disappearance of the games.
It is another era, and not a few of those exclusive games have already announced that they will be on other platforms to avoid getting lost, such as Hello Engineer, a Hello Neighbor spin-off that will arrive in Steam this year, or Gilt, from the Madrid study Tequila Works,
that seems that it will not stay in Stadia either.
In other cases, we are trying to find a way to make the ports, but there is nothing assured, as with Pixel junk Raiders, of Q-Games, Dylan Cuthbert’s study;
The world is a handkerchief, because Cuthbert is another Argonaut programmers who worked in Nintendo.
But other games have already been lost, in fact: it is what happens to Out casters, by Splash Damage, which will not leave Stadia because of the complexity of taking it to other platforms.
The really lost
If you go one step further, if you are looking for a magnifying glass, you may start seeing the shadow of many more lost games;
Those who are really lost, because no one looks for them.
The digital distribution, for example is a double-edged sword.
On the one hand, when we depended on the physical supports, a significantly greater effort had to be made to keep a game, to avoid being lost;
What will be one of those who crashed in such a way that there never came to there are enough people so that someone would keep a copy to the Internet?
Would anyone have something to say?
On the other, one hundred-percent digital platforms such as the iOS App Store star in the starters of which are talked about this or that measure that will make old apps disappear or have been updated for a while;
There are many games, of course, enough so that many more people do not remember them than the one who developed them, unfortunately.
Sometimes it is difficult to know which games are more serious to be lost;
In some recent cases, they have even tried to recover such bad games that perhaps they would be better lost, such as Let Action Hero, the official video game of The Last Great Hero, Schwarzenegger’s film.
Specifically, the friend’s version, especially infamous, and hacked recently by a group of fans to try to fix it, modifying certain parameters to make it more playable.
That is why, and I finish, I find the work of the associations such as the video Game History Foundation, founded and directed by Frank Vivaldi and Kelsey Lewin, or the National Library here in Spain, which aspire to keep games beyond their tastes
and personal preferences;
It seems important to me, I say, separate the historical archive of the mania or the own filial, those that I have not been able to leave aside when writing this article.
The importance of this work must go beyond commercial purposes or the profitability of projects that were often lost in the first instance because they were not sufficiently commercial or profitable: they should be preserved as fundamental pieces for the study of the video game, in order to deepen
Beyond what the winners of the story have been writing.
Even history winners lose games!
Treasure Conflict is not the only Square game-the Final Fantasy, which is said soon;
One of Japan’s big video game companies-which was close to getting lost when Satellaview stopped broadcasting;
They also published Radical Dreamers, another tragically infrajuado.
Here we have commented very different cases of lost games that have had the opportunity to have new lives: Ultracore came out as a commercial game thirty years later, the Dino force Rom was published without cost, but there have also been physical units for collectors, from others there are only
Assets that allow an idea of how games would have been, which sometimes even try to rebuild;
On many occasions, hacking is necessary to proceed with the rescue.
While the time comes when the video game begins to take enough and these lost games begin to have the interest they deserve (such as the youth poems of such or the unfinished novels of which; few more fascinating things than the films found
and restored), it wants to celebrate the selfless work of so many people, who invests their time and effort so that we can access worlds that would otherwise have ended up forgotten, the worst of ways of being lost.