Sound Fantasy [SNES – Cancelled]

Sound Fantasy [SNES – Cancelled]

Sound Fantasy is a cancelled video game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, and its Japanese counterpart, the Super Famicom. Interactive media artist Toshio Iwai designed the game in the early 1990s using concepts from the installation art piece Music Insects, which he created during his time as an Artist in Residence at the San Francisco Exploratorium. However, the finished product was never brought to market by Nintendo for unknown reasons.

Its eccentric concepts and untested game mechanics may have been the main factor in its cancellation; music games, especially on home consoles, were not popular in the early 1990s, and it wouldn’t be until much later in the decade that they gained mainstream attention. A working prototype was found in October 2014 as you can see from the video below.


Thanks to MathUser & Celine for some of these images!

Sound Fantasy was to come packed-in with the SNES Mouse and mouse pad, and it would arrive in a larger game box to hold its contents similar to Super Nintendo games like Mario Paint and EarthBound. It is speculated that Nintendo chose to use Mario Paint to launch its mouse peripheral in 1992 instead, as that game was endorsed by Mario, one of gaming’s most recognizable mascots.

Toshio Iwai eventually went on to convert his work into the PC game SimTunes in 1996, and many of Sound Fantasy’s unreleased gameplay elements can be found there.

In April 2005, to celebrate the Japanese launch of Toshio Iwai’s latest work, Electroplankton for the Nintendo DS, Nintendo opened an exhibit at Tokyo’s Harajuku Station to focus on the new game and on Iwai himself. Nintendo made available for perusal the box art and manual for Sound Fantasy, but the “lost game” was not made playable there. – [info from Wikipedia]


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14 thoughts on “Sound Fantasy [SNES – Cancelled]

  1. LuigiBlood

    Actually, I have way more information about Sound Fantasy than I expected to get from Google: – Pictures of a version from much later, including the Title Screen – Toshio Iwai showing Sound Fantasy in a talk from 2010. We can actually see the credits. – Video from Electroplankton’s website with Sound Fantasy shown in a direct feed. – Toshio Iwai’s talk on 2009 showing off Sound Fantasy. – Ads for Sound Factory, in very high quality if you click the pictures. – Ads for Sound Fantasy in good quality as well. – This actually includes pictures that I’ve never seen.

    1. monokoma

      Thanks a lot Luigi! Sound Fantasy would have been a fun game on the SNES, we are lucky that it was somehow released on PC, but i still hope that who bought those protos could dump and share them in the future :)

        1. LuigiBlood

          So, since then, an anonymous person bought the second prototype (which is pretty much identical), dumped the ROM and gave it to me for release.

          Here’s footage of the prototype on emulator from myself:
          Pix Quartet –
          Star Fly –
          Beat Hopper (Stage 1 – 27) –

          Beat Hopper has 40 stages total until it goes back to the main menu.

          Youloute has found a japanese magazine which so far covered Sound Fantasy the most for having a lot of unseen screenshots and info from September 1994:

          For exemple, Star Fly is an unlockable. Also compared to the final footage from Iwai, Ice Sweeper didn’t have different modes. But I assume the screenshots are actually the B-type mode of Ice Sweeper, as A-type shows to be the rather classic breakout game. There’s a lot more to say, and I really need to write something about it.

          1. LuigiBlood

            And I’ve found more footage from Winter CES 1994:

            There’s also mentions of Sound Fantasy in Superplay Issue 19, with Miyamoto briefly talking about it, and also Issue 24, but nothing new about it there.
            Also mentioned in the french magazine Player One, issue 39 with a picture of Beat Hopper.

            1. monokoma

              Thank you LuigiBlood, you are the best :) I don’t ever know if i’ll ever have the time to update the main article, but new info in the comments are super useful :)

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