Nintendo

Silicon Valley [N64 – Concept / Beta]

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In this video linked to us by Longuist, we can see an old music clip by Mouse on Mars, that uses scenes from what it looks like a beta version of the game. The major differences in this video should be:

  • power gems & flowers look different
  • no hud
  • trees now have a texture?
  • unknow level the video starts with?
  • the “green” levels have now much more steel plates (remember: its a space station) (see level 7 for instance)
  • and… no juggling disco bear ^^

Maybe some of these look different just because of the video montage, but its definitely earlier than the e3 1997 version.

Sven Bergmann, one of the producers of Mouse On Mars Twift video clip, has sent to us an email with some interesting informations about their collaboration with DMA: My friend MARKUS POPP (from “OVAL” music project) and I produced the promo in late summer 1997 in Berlin. Markus and JAN WERNER from “MOUSE ON MARS” are also working together as “MICROSOTRIA”. At some point in early summer 1997 Jan had been in Berlin and asked Markus and me if we would like to produce a video clip for MOUSE ON MARS’ new single “TWIFT”. Well, hell we would like to… and so we somehow agreed on a general plan but had only the idea of using video game footage. Jan liked that idea.

Later that summer Markus and I went to London to visit the ESTS 97 game show to shoot some video interviews with game designers and developers for a German/French TV art special on virtual designs. At that show we met the guys from DMA and interviewed their CEO/game designer/programmer Dave Jones. We also spoke to a very nice DMA PR gentleman, Brian Baglow and he granted us a first look at Silicon Valley, that wasn’t shown on the public floor but in a back room for VIPs only (haha, I guess everybody could sneak in there and glimpse at this game, since DMA took security kind of easy).

The great thing was that Markus managed to convince Brian to send us a beta cartridge to Berlin so that we could capture endless footage to use for the Mouse on Mars promo video (I still don’t know how he did it, truly amazing and very cool of Brian, too). The N64 beta cartridge was twice as large than the regular ones and the ROM and circuit board was sticking out of the gray plastic shell.

I couldn’t believe my eyes when the package first arrived in Berlin. Whoooo.

We then took my German N64 with a US converter game to a video production studio and capture a couple of hours of game footage on Beta SP tape and then imported it into an AVID editing system. I think it took us about three to four days for the whole clip including that half day game recording.

If I remember correctly there was no real shell design within the game but you could select two or three different stages directly. Just booting up the N64 and then go for the selection was the simple thing to do. And then there was the special button combo so you could change the animals moves (like the juggling bear) and also with another combination you could move the camera completely freely within the level.

We had lots of fun and very still amazed that DMA send us a beta cartridge.

After we finished the job, we sent the game back to DMA with a tape of that promo. I don’t know if Mouse on Mars and DMA did a deal so that DMA could use the music for promo and parties, but I assume so.”

Thanks a lot to Sven for these infos! :)

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64 Wars (Advanced Wars) [N64 – Cancelled]

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64 Wars is the cancelled “Wars” sequel that was planned for the Nintendo 64. The “Advance Wars” series became famous in USA and Europe thanks to the GBA games, but it was know to the Japanese audience since the NES, with the name of FAMICOM Wars, originally published on the Famicom back in 1988. The game is a strategic turn based RPG, where you’ll be fighting with your army against the enemy’s one, planning carefully your strategy moves.

Hudson started working on the Nintendo 64 version even if the rights of the “wars” series were always been a property of Intelligent System, but Nintendo decided to let Hudson to work on the game for this particular occasion. Unfortunately, little is known about the project: the images in the gallery below are taken from various japanese magazines and the game was shown in non-playable form at the Nintendo Spaceworld 1999.

The style of 64 Wars seems to have been a lot like the previous episodes: a 2D map was used for the troop movement, while the battles were shown with a 3d engine. The most interesting part of the 64 version would have been the possibility to connect the N64 game to the GameBoy game.

GameBoy Wars 2 was developed by Hudson’s team too and it was published only in Japan. The GB title was able to connect to the N64 version with the GB Transfer Pack (a peripheral originally used with Pokemon Stadium) that could attach a GC cart to the N64 pad memory card port. With this expedient, people could have been able to begin a match of Wars on the N64, then continuing it on the GB and finish it back on the home console.

In the end 64 Wars has been cancelled without any official explanation, but it’s intriguing to think that inside the GB cartridge is still possible to access to the N64 Linking options, which was never used. Maybe the passage of rights between Intelligent System and Hudson caused some kind of problems, or maybe the N64 game didn’t match Nintendo’s quality standards.

Thanks to Linkx111 for the contribution!

italian_flag.jpg [spoiler /Clicca qui per la versione in Italiano/ /Nascondi la versione in Italiano/]La serie Advanced Wars, divenuta famosa in occidente grazie alle versioni per GBA e DS, è invece nota al pubblico giapponese fin dai tempi del NES, con il nome di Famicom Wars, uscito nel 1988. Il gioco è un classico rpg strategico a turni, in cui far combattere le proprie armate contro numerosi nemici, studiando attentamente le mosse da compiere. Con l’uscita del Nintendo 64, Hudson ha cominciato i lavori su di una versione a 64 bit di Wars, chiamata con molta originalità “64 Wars”. La saga è sempre stata sviluppata dagli Intelligent Systems, ma in quel periodo Nintendo passò i diritti ad Hudson. Purtroppo non si hanno molte notizie a riguardo: le foto che trovate qui sotto sono state recuperate da alcune riviste Giapponesi dell’epoca ed il gioco è stato presentato in video allo Space World 1999.

Lo stile di 64 Wars sembra molto simile agli altri capitoli: una mappa in 2D per lo spostamento delle truppe, con l’unica differenza dei modelli 3D per i filmati degli scontri. La caratteristica più interessante della versione Nintendo 64, sarebbe stata la possibilità di collegare il gioco con l’episodio per GameBoy.

GameBoy Wars 2 è stato sviluppato anchesso da Hudson, ma al contrario di 64 Wars, è uscito realmente nel 1998. Il titolo per GB poteva essere collegato con i salvataggi della versione N64, grazie all’utilizzo del Transfer Pack (un aggeggio che si collega alla porta Memory Card dei Pad N64). Sarebbe stato così possibile iniziare una partita sul Nintendo 64, trasferirla su GameBoy per giocarla in giro ed in seguito finirla di nuovo sulla console da casa.

64 Wars è stato però cancellato senza dare spiegazioni, ma è affascinante pensare che nella cartuccia di GB Wars 2 esistano ancora le opzioni per il collegamento al Nintendo 64, ormai impossibile. Forse il passaggio dello sviluppo da Intelligent Systems a Hudson è stato la causa di qualche problema di organizzazione, oppure i lavori svolti dal team non raggiungevano lo standard sperato da Nintendo. [/spoiler]

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Rev Limit [N64 – Cancelled]

Rev Limit is a cancelled arcade racing game similar to Ridge Racer, that was in development in 1996 / 1997 by Seta Corporation for the Nintendo 64 DD as one of the early titles announced for the console. The game was postponed many times and it was even “downgraded” from the 64DD to a “normal” N64 game, but in the end Rev Limit was never released. It seems that a playable version of Rev Limit should exist for the Seta arcade board named “Aleck 64”, based on the Nintendo 64 hardware.

Rev Limit was one of the most hyped N64 games, and the fact that it was cancelled makes it one of the most fashinating unseen projects for the 64bit console. We’ll never know if it was really fun to play or it was just another crappy racing game.

Thanks to D-vide and Celine for some of the contributions!

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Zool Maju Tsukai Densetsu [N64 – Beta]

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Zool Majū Tsukai Densetsu (ズール ~魔獣使い伝説~, Zool Majū Tsukai Densetsu? lit. Zool: Legend of the Monster Trainer) is a role playing game for the Nintendo 64. It was released in 1999 in Japan only. This game is unrelated to the Amiga game Zool. [Infos from Wikipedia] In the early screens from the game we can notice some little differences, like the portrait of the girl on the left instead that on the right. Maybe the image that shows the map has some differences too, but we did not have play the game, so we are not sure.

Thanks to Loco for the contribution!

Beta Version:

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Final Version:

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Body Harvest [N64 – Beta / Unused Stuff]

The owners of a Nintendo 64 had to wait several years before being able to get their hands on this title developed by DMA Design. Body Harvest was announced as one of the first launch titles for the N64, but it was released only in October 1998 and it ended up clashing with Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

Body Harvest is one of the most interesting projects for the Nintendo console, but due to the clamor for the release of the first three-dimensional Zelda, Body Harvest was missed by many gamers, as they were already too busy to play with an ocarina.

Body Harvest’s levels are huge, probably some of the bigger areas available on the 64-bit console: players can use many vehicles from small cars to powerful alien ships, to move and kill all the enemies in their path. Sadly a lot of the beta vehicles (shown in the gallery below) never made it into the final game. BH’s development team is the same one that a few years later created one of the most popular games of the last generation: GTA 3.

Perhaps if Body Harvest would have been released in a different time, it would have had a better success in sales. All the images in the gallery below are from the beta version, with different HUD, incomplete graphic and target renders. In the early version, the energy bars were oval and the radar was circled by a red line. Also, there are some unused logos created before the final one!

Missions in Japan, Hawaii and Antarctica were removed from the game or changed into the Alien Cometh, Java and Siberia. As was noticed by SilverStingray on the GameSpot Forum:

It’s interesting to note that there was originally a Japan 2010 level which looks a little bit like the comet. I guess Japan morphed into the comet when the game was struck by a speeding deadline. Also America looks a lot greener, I guess it felt too similar to Greece so the devs killed the grass.

Many interesting info on Body Harvest’s development can be found on this article by Edge:

The Body Harvest story begins a long time ago, in a small development house just outside Dundee. In 1995, Nintendo saw great potential in a game design document drawn up by DMA Design. […]

After two years of hard slog DMA eventually presented an action game to Nintendo. Unsurprisingly, it was not what Nintendo had seen in the design document and more importantly, it was not to its taste. A crack team of Nintendo experts, including a producer from the Zelda series, flew over to sort out the mess. It was suggested that the game be reincarnated as an RPG – not what DMA wanted to hear. […]

On its return home, DMA noticed a distinct pattern emerging – more bad news. Body Harvest was being developed alongside another game called Zenith – an original mix of platform and racing action. Zenith was to be canned and several people were given the unpleasantly singular option of joining the Body Harvest project. […]

If you can notice more differences in the beta images, please let us known!

Some screens from: www.flickr.com/photos/mikedailly/sets/

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