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Super Mario Strikers 2 [Beta / Concept - Wii]

Super Mario Strikers Charged (also known as Mario Strikers Charged Football in European and Australian territories) was released on the Nintendo Wii in 2007 and created by Next Level Games in partnership with Nintendo. It is the sequel to Super Mario Strikers on the Gamecube.

Before it gained the subtitle ‘Charged’ later in development (a reference to the game’s ‘skillshot’ charging mechanic), the game was initially going under the simple title of ‘Super Mario Strikers 2‘. The original title was scrapped before its first public showing at the “Wii Prove Our Promise” keynote in August 2006.

Super Mario Strikers 2 Beta

The original name and logo, before it became Mario Strikers Charged.

More art from early on in development on the game has been found by Unseen64, which offers insight into some of the smaller concepts played around with towards the start of the project.

At one stage, ‘ball launchers‘ were considered as an aesthetic addition to levels. These were machines that would have propelled multiple balls up towards characters during mega strikes. In the final game, these were dropped and only one ball model is shown when a player is able to activate one. Any additional balls earned during the attack’s initiation aren’t shown to the player (up to 6 can be gained at a time); this is a process which happens off screen. These small mechanisms weren’t implemented into the game, as they were viewed as an unnecessary detail that would have needlessly extended the animation sequence.

One of the concepts for the proposed 'ball launcher'.

One of the concepts for the proposed ‘ball launcher’.

Another visual idea that the artists at Next Level experimented with towards the start of development were mechs and other vehicles, which would have decorated the perimeter of certain stages during gameplay. In most of the concept art, these are commonly seen operated by Toads. They would have been dotted around the sides of pitches, acting as security guards and performing other miscellaneous tasks. One concept, for instance, sees one of the Toads operating a crane-like contraption and another in a large digger. 

Monster Dunk [Cancelled - N64]

Monster Dunk is a cancelled arcade basketball game that was in development by Mindscape Inc for the Nintendo 64, as a part of Nintendo’s “dream team” of developers that were working on titles for their “Project Reality”. It seems that the game was announced at E3 1995 but the developers never shared any official screenshot, even if the project could have been at least in a concept / prototype form, maybe if we are lucky some images could resurface some day.

In the original press release we can read:

The game takes a unique and humorous twist on the basketball game genre, featuring famous monsters playing two-on-two basketball. “Monster Dunk” will take advantage of Nintendo Ultra 64’s unique capabilities, such as providing players with dozens of stunning special-effects moves (for example, one character becoming a cloud of smoke, morphing into a bat, flying above the basket and dropping the ball through), creating dozens of random court hazards (hands periodically reaching up from the floor and grabbing players’ legs), and including humorous game- and season-ending winning team sequences (the winning team throwing the losing team out of the stadium).

In 1996 Mindscape was in huge economic problems, with expected loss of 46 millions GBP following a loss of 6.9 millions GBP in 1995, and they decided to stop the development of Monster Dunk for the N64.

Thanks to Celine for the second scan!

Images:

monster dunk n64

Monster Dunk announced for the nintendo 64 (scan from Nintendo Power 74, July 1995)

monster dunk by mindscape for the nintendo 64

Monster Dunk by mindscape for the Nintendo 64

Video from E3 1995 (no footage of Monster Dunk sadly):

 

Dream Team Basketball [PSX - Cancelled]

Dream Team Basketball is a cancelled sport game that was in development in 1996 by Anvil Incorporated and it would have been published by US Gold / Eidos Interactive for the Playstation. For some reasons the game was never released, but a playable beta version 70% complete was preserved by the Playstation Museum:

The Dream Team concept: a basketball game where you pit the 1996 USA Men’s Olympic Basketball Team against other countries. All of America’s top basketball stars are in the game: Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal, Scottie Pippen, …etc. On paper this game sounds like a sure winner. Anvil Incorporated and U.S. Gold Sports through Eidos Interactive were to bring this concept to the PlayStation in time for the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics.

Thanks to Pcloadletter for the contribution! Scan from EGM 82, May 1996

Images:

Videos:
 

Kunio-kun Polo [SNES - Cancelled / Concept]

Kunio-kun is a famous series developed by Technos Japan and it was their mascot in Japan. Despite the first game was a beat’em up, soon Technos used the characters for games in other kind of genres, even puzzle games. The most well known Kunio-kun spin off were those concerning sport games ( dodge ball, beach volley, football, basket, hockey, baseball ), always presented through Kunio-kun crazy and not-so-serious atmosphere the series is known for.

Yoshihisa Kishimoto, one of the main men behind Kunio-kun, revealed on his site how a polo (?) game starring Kunio for Super famicom was in a preliminary phase in early ’90. As expected by the series tone, horses were replaced by other kind of animals ( even pigs !). Unfortunately it seems the game never went into production and soon after ( 1996 to be exact ) the japanese developer declared bankruptcy.

Many thanks to Johnny Undaunted.

Images (Concept arts):

 

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