Around September/October 1990, Nintendo Power magazine announced that they would bring the highly acclaimed Maxis game SimCity to the Nintendo consoles on the market at the time, both the SNES and the NES. The magazine listed a release date of this for simultaneous release for Spring of 1991. In the November/December 1990 issue two screenshots from the game were published and those two screenshots were for a very long time the only proof that a NES version of the game actually existed.
The development and history of the Mii avatar was a long and arduous process, taking about 20 years to reach fruition. Famed video game developer Shigeru Miyamoto revealed information regarding such a process during his keynote speech at the Game Developers Conference in 2007. He stated that the current Mii design is based on traditional Japanese wooden dolls (known as “Kokeshi”), and also highlighted several stages of the Mii’s development process. The idea first appeared for the Famicom Disk System, but confusion over how the idea could be a game halted development. The idea appeared again with the Nintendo 64DD, where the player could edit a 3D character with a wide variety of clothes. Again, however, the project was never furthered. With the release of the Nintendo GameCube the idea was incorporated into Stage Debut, an unreleased game which planned to make use of the e-Reader and a camera attachment, but this idea was also canceled, as those at Nintendo feared there was not really a game to make out of it. The build Miyamoto showed during his conference showed a virtual Miyamoto dancing with some Pikmin upon a stage.
Around the time of the development of the Wii, a separate team at Nintendo were working on a friend registering software for the Nintendo DS. Within the software they were also developing a program where, in a manner similar to the Japanese puzzle game Fukuwarai, the player had to place the different parts of the face onto a drawing of a face. This team, however, was completely unaware of Miyamoto’s Mii concept. Eventually the software evolved to allow the player to edit the parts of the face in terms of size and position, in order to make the character look more like a specific person, and was soon shown to Satoru Iwata, president and CEO of Nintendo. The software was then shown to Shigeru Miyamoto as soon as possible, and eventually the team working on it moved to work with the Nintendo division EAD on the development of the Mii Channel. – [info from Wikipedia]
There were going to be two new enemies called Gold Cheep Cheep (a golden version of a Cheep-Cheep), and Green Parabeetles (green colored Parabeetles). The Gold Cheep Cheeps would come in groups and swim faster than regular Cheep-Cheeps and the Green Parabeetle is a green Parabeetle that flies faster than normal ones. The game coding reveals an item-sized Toad icon among some of the game’s suits; this is interpreted by several as a sort of “Toad Suit”, although it makes no changes to gameplay when granted to Mario. This is likely due to it being scrapped early and never given any purpose. Designers also considered a power-up to turn Mario into a Centaur (half-man, half-horse), although this was rejected (Tilden 1990, 21).
Koopa Troopas and and Hammer Bros. were going to host the mini-games. They were replaced by Toad. However, it could also be possible that they were all around at the same time, but all got scrapped except for one due to memory size. There were also different kinds of mini-games, similar to the ones in New Super Mario Bros..
Finally, fifteen extra levels exist within the coding of Super Mario Bros. 3. Some of these are strange and unique, while others bear much resemblance to levels in the final version and were very likely redone as those. Also, the back of the box of some copies of Super Mario Bros. 3 depicts Mario traversing a hilly grassland stage with tons of Parabeetles and two Note Blocks about. This particular stage is not any of the lost ones present on the cartridge, nor is it in the final game. It could even be a press mock-up from Nintendo. Reports say it might be in the Japanese version either hidden ingame or in code, but there is no proof of it’s existance on the American Version. The “special” boxes also feature a beta map of Grass Land. [Info from Mariowiki]
In december 2008, Linkin800 found some unused sprites in the game code and posted them in the Mushroom Kingdom Forum:
I found some unused Mario overworld sprites.
It seems like Nintendo was originaly going to have it so that mario could walk in all derictions instead of just facing the screen all the time.
some beta buildings I found. (palletes could be wrong): the first one looks like some kind of wooden toy block fortress thing, the second im not sure what it is and the last one looks like a factory to me, or it could be a beta fortress, the thing underneath the 3rd building is it crushed after you beat the level.
I also found something small but intresting. (palletes are also wrong) its the mario that appears in mini games, but there are 2 bodys found in the game, one is fatter then the other, the fat body is used in the game but the skinny one isn’t, I think originaly Nintendo was going to make a diffrent sprite for luigi but never did, not sure.
Thanks to Linkin800, Keith Sass, Inferno and Luiszena for some of these images!
This Famimaga video shows the various differences of this early version to the final that the annotations go over. For one, none of the levels are recognizable (except perhaps one particular part), and the HUD is different.
As the inaugural game of The Legend of Zelda series, it was first released in Japan as a launch title for the Famicom’s Disk System peripheral, a year and five months before it was released in the United States. Because the Famicom Disk System was not released outside Japan, the game was published internationally on the Nintendo Entertainment System’s cartridge format in 1987, with an internal battery to facilitate data saving. Nintendo released the game in Japan in 1994 on cartridge format for the Famicom. [Info from wikipedia]
In the beta version of Zelda 1, in the first cave the player had the option to choose between the sword or the boomerang. In the final version you can only find the sword. The image of this beta cave is still in the manual of the final game.
Thanks to one of the “Iwata Ask” interview series, we found out more info on the development of Zelda NES. The game was internally known as “Adventure” or “Adventure Mario”, as wrote by Miyamoto in some early design docs, created in 1985. Some of the items and enemies drawn in the design-doc, were never used in the final game. There’s also an early version of the world map!
The “Second Quest” was created because they had spare memory room:
Iwata: In order to fit in as many dungeons as possible given the limited memory, you were making them like you were doing a puzzle.
Nakago: Right. Tezuka-san said, “I did it!” and brought this to me. I created the data exactly in line with it, but then Tezuka-san made a mistake and only used half of the data. I said, “Tezuka-san, there’s only half here. Where did the other half go?” and he was like, “What?! Oops, I messed up…” But Miyamoto-san said it was fine just like that.
Tezuka: Heh heh heh. (laughs)
Nakago: So, using the half of the memory that was left over, we decided to create the Second Quest
Some more info on the beta and development of Zelda for the NES were shared in the book “Hyrule Historia” and translated by Glitterberri:
The first thing I thought about was a game that made use of the Disk System’s function of rewriting data so that two players could each create their own dungeons and make the other player solve them. We actually created such a game, and when I played it, I felt it was very fun playing in the dungeons themselves. So we put together a game with a series of dungeons underneath mountains distributed around Death Mountain for a single player to solve them. But we also wanted it to feature a world above, so we added forests and lakes, and so Hyrule Field took form gradually.
Now, we didn’t decide the game’s title from the very beginning either. Originally, I wanted it to be “The Legend of X,” but I couldn’t find the appropriate word for the “X.” Then, the planner to whom we assigned the PR project suggested we did a story book of the game.
Also, a prototype version of Zelda 1 was somehow leaked, and thaks to the Cutting Room Floor we can see all the little differences that were made before the game was relased:
- The prologue and item list are not in the prototype.
- When a candle is used in a dark room, the game does not pause while the room lights up.
- It’s not possible to hit the old men in the prototype.
- The Magical Sword requires 8 hearts in the prototype and 12 in the final build.
- Armos Knights take much longer to come to life in the prototype. The waiting time was reduced from 128 frames to 60 frames.
- Moldorm has 1 HP per segment in the prototype, but 2 in the final version. Likewise, the Blue Wizzrobe got its health buffed from 8 HP to 10 HP.
- Both Wizzrobes’ beams do less damage in the prototype. The Blue Wizzrobe’s beams went from 1 Heart to 2 Hearts of damage, and the Orange Wizzrobe from 2 Hearts to 4(!) Hearts.
- There are a few sprite changes in the prototype. Three of them are used in-game, while the other two are earlier designs left in the ROM.
In another interview with Miyamoto, we learn that originally Zelda was meant to have a futuristic setting:
Link’s name come from the fact that originally, the fragments of the Triforce were supposed to be electronic chips. The game was to be set in both the past and the future and as the main character would travel between both and be the link between them, they called him Link.
You can find more info about Zelda NES in the Zelda Wiki! Thanks to kek8 for the contribution!
Bio Force Ape is a cancelled action game that was in development by Seta for the NES! We’ll try to have a better description in here as soon as someone has time to write it :P In the meantime, have fun with all these screens and videos! It really looked fun, why it was not released? :(
Thanks a lot to NES World for these screenshots!