Please, before enjoying the U64 Archive, keep in mind that:
- Many U64 articles are written by Italians and people from other non-English countries.
- There are probably a lot of English errors in our articles.
- We are just a bunch of geeks that tries to preserve media and info on games that could be lost and forgotten.
- There are MANY different contributors for the info preserved in the archive.
- There are MANY different sources for the info preserved in the archive.
- We work on U64 in our free-time.
- We don’t have much free-time.
- We do the best we can with our limited free-time.
Unseen 64 is an archive with articles, screens and videos for cancelled, beta & unseen videogames. Every change & cut creates a different gaming experience; we would like to save some documents of this evolution for curiosity, historic and artistic preservation.
We are a collective of gamers from all around the world. There are many authors and contributors that help the Unseen64 archive, we read and review each article before to add them, but we are not omniscient, sometimes we have to assume that who wrote those articles did proper, legitimate, authorized, correct researches before to send them. Therefore all Unseen64 articles are published in good faith and fair use, if you find any errors or issues regarding some of them, just let us know.
Gaming Philology is the study of games and their history. It includes elements of gaming criticism, trying to reconstruct developers’ original concept based on beta versions, prototypes and early media released.
How did U64 come to be?
[short version] Unseen 64 was a project born in 2001, from the minds of a group of Italian friends. After years spent looking at Nintendo 64 games that never came out or that were released with many differences from their initial preview versions, they decided to create an archive about them to preserve somehow all those changes made throughout the course of development. This explains the origin of the “64” in the name; but after years of collecting beta stuff, the archive grew bigger and bigger, taking on more than just Nintendo 64 games.
We left then the original Unseen 64 name, as we were kind of attached to it. There would be so many things to talk about; all the wonderful stories of these sexy beta-geeks and their site of games that will never be, but we are not really that good at telling stories… especially in English. So, that’s all! We just hope that you are going to appreciate all the hours we spent in archiving this stuff.
Who’s behind U64?
This site is just an archive for beta, cancelled and unseen videogames. The site is made for beta-fans by beta-fans, so everyone can contribute to the archive for the preservation of the history and changes in video game development. If you would like to know the main staff that work hard on the site, check the Unseen64 Staff page.
Why is it important to preserve unseen games?
It’s interesting to see what developers had originally in mind for their projects. Why forget cancelled games? We’ll never be able to enjoy them. Every change makes a different gaming experience for us…. we would like to save some documents about this evolution for curiosity, historic and artistic preservation.
Where did you find all these screens and videos?
Google is your friend! You can find almost everything with Google. We are collecting beta screens & videos from many years and even friends and contributors send screens & videos to us: for a lot of this stuff we dont remember or know the original source! We are sorry if there are some images or videos on the site without any credit, so if you know for certain their source, just send us an e-mail and we will update the article with the source, or if you want we will delete them!
We also source some of our media privately from sources that were close to projects; former employees, artists, etc.
Why are some articles written in Italian or in a weird ‘Engrish’?
Keep in mind that most of the content of U64 is written by Italians and people from other non-english countries, we are sorry if there are still a lot of english errors in our articles and descriptions! But we hope to be able to correct them in the future.. and to find more english people for the staff.. would you like to help? :)
How did U64 come to be?
[long version] It all started in Italy in 1999. Monokoma, and some other Italian geeks obsessed with the Nintendo 64, were starting to notice that many of their favourite N64 games were nothing like the old screenshots that were published in magazines before release (different graphics, deleted areas and characters, etc.). We started to save old screenshots from those N64 games to contemplate the differences and discuss them for hours.
One game in particular had our attention; Zelda Ocarina of Time. It was meant to be released for the 64 Disc Drive, but after many delays, when it came out for the N64, most of its features and places from the 64DD version were removed without explanation. We hunted through the web to find more and more early Zelda 64 screens, from official websites and fansites. In one of those fansites, there was a nice section named “Unseen Zelda” about the removed stuff in Ocarina of Time. It was cool to know that there were more people interested in the original Zelda 64.
Fast forward a couple of years, and we had already amassed a big collection of screens and videos from beta and cancelled Nintendo 64 games; but it was nothing more than a chaotic directory in our PC’s. In 2000, we created a fansite about Perfect Dark, inspired by our love for its multiplayer mode. In that Perfect Dark website, we decided to open a little section to better organise all those files with beta and cancelled N64 games, and to share them with other potentially interested geeks. Taking inspiration from that nice “Unseen Zelda” page, we decided to name the section “Unseen 64“, as it had many more unseen Nintendo 64 games than just Ocarina of Time. The Unseen 64 page in the PDX website can be considered the first version of our website.
Gradually, we began finding out that there were even more geeks interested in games that were never released, such as the wonderful Assembler Games Forum; filled with collectors of prototypes. Another great “unseen gaming” website from the old days was “The Strange (and Rare) Videogame Pics Page“, made by another Italian guy.
In 2001, Monokoma became addicted with Phantasy Star Online on the Dreamcast, and looking back at the early videos and screenshots from the game, he came to the realisation that there were many elements removed from the final PSO. “Hey, there are unseen games for the Dreamcast too!”, he thought. Along with Monokoma’s website dedicated to PSO, there was a page full of screenshots and concept arts for the removed content, know as “PSO Unseen“. Another Dreamcast game that took our interest was “Project Berkley” aka “Virtua Fighter RPG”, the project that was later released as Shenmue – even if they cancelled most of its original 16 chapters.
In 2000 / 2001, it was announced that Eternal Darkness (developed by Silicon Knights), one of the most interesting cancelled Nintendo 64 games, would have been resurrected and released for the new Nintendo GameCube. Even Too Human, a Silicon Knights project that was started as a Playstation 1 game in 1993, was then planned to be released in 2003 / 2004 for the new Nintendo console. Monokoma was fascinated by Too Human; a game upon which development was still not finished after an entire decade, after a cancelled PSX version and an enigmatic GC port. In that respect, Too Human is a real unseen gem. Although the final version, which was released in 2008, really was not the same game promised in 2001. Anyway! At the end of 2001, Monokoma created a new fansite dedicated to the Too Human Project, complete with a nice gallery for the cancelled Playstation version.
In 2002, our collection of beta screenshots had many directories with N64, Dreamcast and Playstation “unseen” games, but we were too lazy to update frequently the “Unseen 64” section on the Perfect Dark website. In the meantime, in light of the N64’s demise, we moved on to the GameCube; and in November 2002, Eternal Darkness was finally released in Italy. After finishing ED, Monokoma created another site, “Eternal Unseen“, dedicated to the cancelled N64 version and the removed content from the GC version.
In 2003, we closed down the Perfect Dark websites, but we still had many visitors in there just for the Unseen 64 page. Meanwhile, Monokoma organised a page about the development of the Zelda 64 project, because there was too much confusion surrounding the soon-to-be-released, Zelda: Master Quest on the GameCube. Master Quest was viewed by many as the original Zelda URA, which was meant to be released for the Nintendo 64DD, but in reality, it was just a tiny part of the real 64DD project.
Later, we found many other websites and communities about lost games, as Frank Cifaldi’s Lost Levels and X-Cult. It was nice to see so many gamers, who shared our fascination and love for games that we’ll never able to play. It had become possible to talk with more and more people interested to find and share documents about those unseen games.
Still, there was not a comprehensive archive to preserve all these beta screens, videos and info in a single place. By the end of 2003, we had an “Unseen 64” section on a dead website, a “PSO Unseen” page, a site dedicated to the unseen Too Human Project, another site for the “Eternal Unseen”, an article about the unseen development of “Zelda 64”, and some GB’s of screenshots and videos of beta & cancelled games for various consoles.
Yep. It became clear that it was time to organize all that mess into a single website. That is when the current “Unseen 64” was born out of; initially as an ugly series of pages made in HTML with Office Front-Page. We decided to keep the name “Unseen 64” because we had grown attached to it; even if the site harboured other, completed games, that were irrelevant to the title.
The site was online and we worked on it intermittently through 2004 and 2005, but there were only screenshots in the archive, as our free-server was limited and it was impossible to upload videos to it.
However, In 2006, Monokoma finally opened a Youtube Channel, where he could share beta videos with everyone. Somehow, thanks to YouTube, U64 became even more popular among gaming geeks, and in 2007 we received various emails from people that wanted to incorporate our little archive in their bigger sites. We were scared to lose our “freedom” so usually we replied with a “No, but thanks!”.
In October 2007 monokoma got in contact with MAIcrosoft, a guy from Netherlands that offered us to hosting Unseen 64 on his webserver and pay for a real domain name. We chatted with Mai for some time, and he seemed reliable and crazy enough to start a good collaboration between Italy and Netherlands. We worked together to upgrade the old html website into a better Worpress-powered archive, and finally in April 2008 the “new U64” was online! Thanks to WordPress it’s faster and easier to write and share articles, so we were able to have daily-updates to preserve more and more unseen games. More people joined the U64 Staff and with their help the U64 Community started to grown.
In May 2009 we had a graphic redesign for the website, so now it looks even better and more “professional”. With the current economic crisis many software house are closing down and that means even more cancelled games that should be preserved in the U64 archive. It’s not easy to keep up with all these updates and to contact so many people, so probably we’ll have to find some serious help in the next few years if we want to continue to archive all those new unseen games.
In 2013 we decided that Unseen 64 will not cover new games for current-gen consoles as we don’t have enough free time to write as much articles and organize the site as when we were younger. Unseen 64 is now an archive of Retro-Unseen-Games till the seventh generation of consoles. Sadly from the end of 2013 and the first half of 2014, Unseen 64 was down for many months, because of a tech problem. In july 2014 we were able to get the site back online and with the new website and a better / responsive graphic template, U64 should be faster and easier to navigate even on smartphones and tablet.
Help U64 to keep it up. Donate your love:
Unseen 64 is an independent site. No money is generated from our work so we must pay each and every server bill ourselves. Thanks to your support we were able to rise 600$ to pay the server for 2016! We are super happy :) Before to start to rise donations for the 2017 server (we probably could start the next year), future donations will be set aside in a “preservation fund“, for emergency site expenses, support for the Unseen64 Book Project and other equipment that could help the archive: all costs will be approved by our patrons before to be used! If you want to donate some of your love, we accept one-off donations through PayPal / Credit Card and pledges on Patreon! You can just donate how much or little you want. Every cent is really appreciated and sent towards the U64 Archive. Thank you for even reading this :)
Preservation Fund progress:
For more details: How does Unseen64 use Donations?