Nes / Famicom

Sea Dog (Mariner’s Run) [NES – Cancelled]

Sea Dog (シードッグ) also known as Mariner’s Run is a cancelled RPG / submarine simulation / Shoot ‘em up game planned to be published for NES / Famicom by Vic Tokai. A couple of screenshots were found in old gaming magazines by japanes fans and shared on Twitter, while some details were published online in a japanese website:

“Although gameplay is not clear on screenshots, it seems Sea Dog was going to be a vertical-scrolling submarine shoot ‘em up with some RPG elements. Between deep-sea exploration and combats you would be able to rise to the sea level and stop at nearby ports. You probably could repair your damaged submarine and buy new weapons.”

We could imagine Sea Dog somehow similar to cult-classic Metal Max, but with real-time underwater shoot ‘em up combat instead than post-apocalypse turn-based combat around desert cities. By looking at the few screenshots available we can assume you would have been able to freely explore the ocean underwater, while fighting enemy submarines and hunting down bosses, then reaching nearby islands to help NPCs and upgrade your submarine. The title of the game was probably inspired by the USS Sea Dog, a Balao-class submarine in the United States Navy.

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Kunio-Kun RPG [NES, Famicom – Cancelled]

Kunio-kun is a cult-classic series of action adventure games originally conceived by Technos Japan in arcades and for the Nintendo Famicom console. In its main titles you take the role of Kunio, a japanese high-school delinquent (bancho) with a good heart, punching and kicking other gangs to free the streets of your city. 

While in the west the series is mostly known for Renegade and River City Ransom on the NES, in Japan many more Kunio games were developed and published. In 1988 Super Dodge Ball (a sport-based Kunio-Kun spin off) was released on the Famicom. A strategy guide was published by Technos in Japan and as noticed by Arc Hound on Twitter, at the end of the volume there was an announcement for a cancelled, forgotten Kunio-Kun RPG.

kunio-kun-rpg-river-city-nes-famicom-cancelled

Luckily japanese user 3Ways posted a photo of this page on Twitter. In the same thread we can read that Masaki Wachi wrote the scenario for this lost Kunio RPG: he’s mostly known in the west for his work on such classic games as Shining Force, Time Stalkers and PoPoLoCrois Monogatari.

By looking at the only enemy concept art published in the Super Dodge Ball strategy guide and by thinking of what kind of RPGs were mostly published on the Famicom in those years, we can speculate Kunio-Kun RPG would have been a turn-based RPG very similar to Dragon Quest, but with its usual modern high-school, bancho settings.

Thanks to thingumajig13 who translated the short Kunio-Kun RPG description:

“Nekketsu series – Part 4

RPG Kunio Kun (tentative title)

Wow, an RPG where Kunio-kun plays a big role is in the works! Set in Tokyo, this game features Kunio-kun and his friends battling it out against an army of delinquents. This standard RPG is chock-full of unique characters, puzzle solving, and Nekketsu drama! Kunio-kun and his friends set out on a great adventure filled with laughs and tears! It takes place in Shinjuku and Shibuya, so it’s pretty realistic! Currently, the script is being written with plans to release the game in the summer of next year. We hope you look forward to it!

v Planned enemy character. He looks pretty strong!

^ These kinds of enemy characters are appearing one after the other!”

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Cosmic System [NES / Famicom – Cancelled]

Cosmic System is a cancelled NES / Famicom Disk System sci-fi RPG that was in development sometime in the late 80s by WaveJack / Imagineer / Atlus. Only a single screenshot was published in Famimaga magazine (April issue) when developers made some kind of contest asking to the readers to send character designs that would have been used for their new game.

It seems this contest was quite a success: they received 23.141 drawings of which they selected a bunch of winners that would seen their designs remade in pixel art for the project. Something went wrong during the development and in the end Cosmic System was never released.

There are probably hundreds of lost Famicom games we’ll never seen a single screenshot of, so we can say we were already lucky with Cosmic System.

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Geopolitic Shima ni Okeru Kokka Kobo Ron [NES / Famicom – Cancelled]

Irem developed and published many games for the NES / Famicom, such as Holy Diver, Hammerin’ Harry and Deadly Towers. They also had many projects that were never released, and this “Geopolitic Shima ni Okeru Kokka Kobo Ron” is one of them.

This is a really obscure and forgotten strategy / simulation game planned for the Famicom, and only a couple of images were found in a japanese magazine by Youlute.

Geopolitic-Shima-ni-Okeru-Kokka-Kobo-Ron-Irem-Famicom

It seems players would have been able to plan their war against enemy armies, to control the whole world. As it happens with old, cancelled 8 bit games, we don’t know much more about this one: at least we can now remember its existence. Maybe one day someone could find a prototype and share it with the world. 

Moeyo Butaman [NES – Cancelled]

Moeyo Butaman (燃えよ ぶたマン!?) is a cancelled NES / Famicom game that was in development in 1992 and it would have been published by Sigma Enterprises. Only a couple of (tiny) scans from old japanese gaming magazines remain to remember the existence of this game.

The main protagonist was going to be some kind of super-hero pig, and as noted by GDRI gameplay could have been similar to Time Zone, another action platformer published by Sigma in 1991.

Characters designer for Moeyo Butaman was Gen Sato  – a designer / animator who also worked on “Suishou no Dragon” with Squaresoft and on many anime – who seems to have a playable cart of Moeyo Butaman in his personal collection.

We can only hope that one day he could dump the game to preserve it from being lost forever.

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