Popcorn (Short Fuses) [PSX – Cancelled]

Popcorn (Short Fuses) [PSX – Cancelled]

Popcorn is a cancelled action adventure game that was in development by Eighth Wonder in 1997 / 1998 for the original Playstation. In the nineties Rare was one of the most prolific developer on Nintendo platforms. So it was quite a shock when in 1997 a small number of employees (game designer Oliver Davies; software engineers Oliver Norton, Steve Patrick, and Jeff Stafford; and two artists, Christopher Gage and Adrian Smith later replaced by Andrew Wood and Jemie Hemming) left the company to form a new studio called Eighth Wonder funded by no other than Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, Nintendo main competitor at the time.

The deal had SCEE committed to publishing the new development house’s first three titles, with an option to pick up the next three. The first title in the work by this promising studio was an action/adventure game named Popcorn (also known as Short Fuses) that was similar to a 3D Bomberman clone but with puzzles and exploration elements.

Popcorn featured six world themes, each with three levels and after you beat the boss of each world you could progress to the next one and use the boss as a playable character (more than 10 playable characters including the hidden ones were planned such as a knight or a female ninja). The games was said to sport nice lighting effects, high resolution graphics (512×240) and a consistent framerate at 30 FPS.

At E3 1998 the game displayed under the Sunsoft booth so it is likely that Sunsoft would have been the american publisher. However as often happen with very publicized deals that involve many projects, Eighth Wonder are believed to have experienced a number of internal problems and, by 1999, the studio no longer existed relegating Popcorn into obscurity.

Thanks to Celine for the scan! (Console+ magazine issue 78 and Edge issue 60)


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6 thoughts on “Popcorn (Short Fuses) [PSX – Cancelled]

  1. jamie hemming

    Hi there, I have just stumbled upon this article and it made for a fascinating read…and a blast from the past!
    However, there are a few points that are incorrect. Myself and Andrew Wood joined the team as additional artists rather than replacements. Only Adrian Smith had left. Chris Gage and Andrew Wood were level guys and my role was in the character design and creation. When the game was canned (for reasons I won’t go into here), we would have needed around another three months to get it fully polished for release.

    You can find more info and publicity shots and concept artwork at my old blogspot.


    It was a great little game to work on, and most of us are still working in the industry.

    Thanks for the article!

    1. monokoma Post author

      Thanks a lot for your memories Jamie! I will update the page ASAP, this was an interesting project and it’s unfortunate that it was never released

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