Unseen News

8 Bit & 16 Bit Games You Will Never Play | Low-Price Edition Book | Vol. 1

One year ago we released our huge book about cancelled video games, it had so many pages that the price was quite high because of the physical cost of printing. Finally we had some time to work on a new low-price edition of the book, divided into different short volumes, so you can just choose your favorite consoles. The content of this edition is the same of the original book (we just fixed some errors), but divided into short books.

The first volume is available right now, dedicated to cancelled 8 bit and 16 bit games (NES, Master System, Game Boy, Turbografx 16, Super Nintendo and Sega Mega Drive). You can find this new budget edition on Amazon and Createspace:
+ Amazon USA
+ Amazon UK
+ Amazon Italy
+ Amazon Spain
+ Amazon France
+ Amazon Germany
Search your local Amazon website to see if it’s already available!
+ Createspace

This will be another way to raise funds to keep Unseen64 online. As always thanks for your support! 

Super Shadow of the Beast (IGS/ Psychnosis) – [SNES – Cancelled]

Super Shadow of the Beast would have been the Super Nintendo port of an old Amiga side-scrolling action game which was originally developed in 1989  by Reflections Interactive and published by Psygnosis. The game since then has been ported to almost every known platform at that time, so why not a Super Nintendo version?

The SNES version was developed by a company called IGS (Information Global Service) and was first reported seen at the summer edition of the 1992 Consumer Electronics Show (CES): in an article on Nintendo Power it was mentioned as a promising upcoming title for the SNES.

The original Shadow of the Beast game and most of its ports to other systems contain many grim, dark looking and bloody details such as bloody spikes, bouncing bloody eyeballs, flying skulls and decapitated enemies. To get approval from Nintendo and thus a license to publish the game on the SNES platform this port of the game had to undergo some serious censoring, mostly graphical adaptions like removal of blood,  redesigned levels and removing or redrawing of enemies.

Some screenshots of this censored SNES port were found at a site called Schnittberichte.com: they did an excellent job in showing the differences between the SNES version VS the Mega Drive one. Apparently all the efforts from IGS to change the game weren’t good enough for Nintendo USA and thus Super Shadow of the Beast was not approved.

Other rumors however state that the mature content cannot have been the only reason why Nintendo dropped the game. It’s possible that Super Shadow of the Beast was just not good enough to be released, with its poor graphics and colorful style it became something too much different from the original game and its dark atmosphere.

However  the SNES version of the game is not entirely lost: a rom of the game was leaked a while ago and it appears to be fully playable (segameplay videos below). I even came across some reproductions of actual SNES cartridges of the game if you prefer to play it directly with your original Super Nintendo console (if you still own one in working condition of course)

Censored SNES version vs SEGA Mega Drive version (Thanks to Schnittberichte.com):

Youtube gameplay video, end sequence & credits & music:

Gameplay

End Sequence & Credits

Soundtrack

 

 

 

 

 

 

Screenshots various:

Nintendo Power August 1992

  

Shadow of Memories / Destiny (The Day of Walpurgis) [Beta]

Shadow of Memories” is a 2001 released Visual Novel by Konami in guise of a Third Person Action Adventure for the PS2. Set in the fictive German town of Lebensbaum, the game combines solving a murder case (the protagonist’s very own) with a time travel element and gothic fantasy elements. Like Visual Novels, the game did not offer many possibilities to stray from the predestined path(s), which baffled a portion of its players and reviewers at the time as well as its total lack of action elements in any form. Yet, like Visual Novels, its strengths are its setting, atmosphere and story, which branch into not less than half a dozen different endings. Known as “Shadow of Destiny” in the US, the game was ported to several other platforms: in 2002 it was released in the EU for the original XBox, a short time later a PC version was produced for the west and finally in 2009/2010 it came out for the PSP in Japan and North America.

 

Unseen64 T-Shirts (& More) Available on Amazon & Redbubble to Help Keep the Archive Alive!

We never thought that one day we could sell official Unseen64 t-shirts, but as one of our friends suggested this idea to gather some more funds to keep the site alive… why not? So now you can wear a new T-Shirt with the Unseen64 logo or with one of our custom-made pixel-art characters inspired by our favorite lost games!

All of these are available in different colors and sizes on Amazon.com (Shipping to USA only)

For international shipping you can order these items from Redbubble, they have more options (wall art! mugs! stickers!), but price for T-shirts is more expensive (but at least you can order them even if you don’t live in USA):

All the earnings gathered by selling these will be added to the fund we use to keep the site online (pay the server, technical support, emergency expenses, etc.) and alive (work a bit less on freelancing jobs and a bit more on researches and updates for Unseen64).

If you buy one of these, let us know what you think and send us a photo when you’ll get it :)

What do you think? Please let us know your feedback below!

As always, thanks a lot for your support in these 16+ years of unseen gaming on Unseen64

Unseen Interview: Julian Holtom (Imagitec, Ocean, Team17)

While working on our book about lost video games, we were able to interview many developers who worked on cancelled projects, but we had to cut some of these interviews from the book because of the 480 pages limit. As promised, we are going to publish all the missing articles directly in our website, and the following interview is one of these! During his career Julian (Jules) Holtom has worked at Imagitec Design, Ocean Software and Team17 on such lost games as HMS Carnage (PC), Worms Battle Rally (PS2, Xbox, GameCube) and many more.

Unseen64: To start this interview, we would like to ask you to introduce yourself to our readers: we’d love to know more about your career in the gaming industry and what you are working on today.

interview julian holtom - worms battle rallyJules: I spent almost 23 years working in video games, the first machines I worked on were Spectrums, building sprites from character graphics. At the time there were no off-the-shelf art packages to speak of; the few tools that we did have were coded from scratch by the in-house programmers.

Of course as with all things technological this changed, and as an artist you had to be fleet of foot to keep up with the latest tools being developed, to help us to deliver to the ever changing capabilities of target platforms. By the time I quit the industry I was using the same 3D software and rendering tools that the film industry uses to create their cinematic magic.

I’ve been out of the industry now for 7 years, and in that time I’ve turned my hand to photography, design and building websites. I certainly miss the camaraderie of old colleagues, but definitely not the “crunch”.

Unseen64: Which are some of your favourite videogames? Have you been playing anything lately?

Jules: I’ve always had a soft spot for sprawling RPG’s with a few hundred hours of gameplay, such as Skyrim. I also love fps “twitch” games like Battlefield 4 or more recently The Division.

Unseen64: Can you shed any unique / personal  light on Daemonsgate by Imagec, which seems was planned as a trilogy (Dorovan’s Key, Nomads and Homecoming)? Key marketing aspect was that actions in 1 game would have implications in sequels, so kill an NPC in the 1st game i.e. ‘Barry pig-squealer’ and his family would come looking for revenge in the 2nd game (a concept years ahead of its time).

Jules: This game was by any standards, ambitious in scope and scale. We were trying to create a far more involved game world than any equivalent game had to offer at the time, and I expect the mechanics of which have only just been truly realised in these type of games in the last 5 years. The hardware, architecture, and coding capabilities coupled with time constraints meant it simply wasn’t possible to build the game as intended at that time, and I think as with all games, there were some significant compromises from the original brief in order to get the game finished.

Unseen64: What can you tell us about Prophecy: Viking Child? UK Press had claimed that Imagitec had originally planned this as a trilogy of games, was there any truth in this?

Jules: I only helped Blizz (the lead artist) a couple of times on that project, recolouring sprites if memory serves. As it wasn’t my project, I didn’t pay too much attention to what it was meant to be.

Unseen64: Do you have anything you could tell us on canned Imagitec games like Space Junk (which was a WIP on everything from the sega Mega CD, Atari Falcon and then Jaguar CD) or any other lost Imagitec projects that never seen the light of day?

Jules: Imagitec often had games “using as yet unseen technological advancements” in development, it sounded good and helped Martin Hooley, the studio owner, raise funding to keep the studio going. In truth, I have no idea if any of these titles were ever really meant to be completed.

Unseen64: In mid / late ‘90 Ocean Software wanted to develop some really groundbreaking games, they rebranded their internal development department as “Tribe”, invested a lot of money, hired a lot of new talent and asked everyone to come up with amazing original concepts huge enough to fill a CD-ROM (!). One of these concepts was the stunning looking HMS Carnage – a 3D flight sim, set on Mars, in an alternative, Steampunk future. We have read memories from Nigel Kershaw about his involvement on HS Carnage but we’d love to hear your side of the story: how was to work on such an ambitious project and do you think it could have achieved what was planned if only the team had more time?

Jules: Nigel and I had worked together for some years both at Imagitec (which became Dreamweavers, then Runecraft), and at Ocean; he was the designer behind Daemonsgate and Space Junk. Not afraid of taking a brief and creating a game of “epic proportions” from it, he was the perfect fit to drive HMS Carnage. I was the lead artist heading up the 3d team, and at the time, we really were treading water, using hardware and software than no one had any experience of, including the coding team that were getting to grips with real 3D.

interview julian holtom - HMS

Unseen64: What did you work on while at Ocean before HMS Carnage? At the time they were also working on Silver (released in 1999) and on a point ‘n click adventure with Hanna-Barbera characters, called “Zoiks” that was later cancelled. Any other lost games or pitches for unrealized ambitious projects that you remember from those years?

Jules: Jurassic Park, but couldn’t tell you what console it was for. I also helped render some FMV sequences for out of house dev teams. I believe one game was called Central Intelligence, the other was one of the flight sims that came from DID.

Unseen64: Long shot, but whilst at Ocean, we’re you aware if Jaguar proposals for games like Water World, TFX and Robocop ever getting past proposal stage? They often pop up on YouTube videos as lost Jaguar games, but unlike Toki Goes Apeshit (which we have actual footage of) there’s so far seemingly nothing to suggest they were ever started and thus aren’t true lost games..

Jules: Unfortunately I cannot say. When you are in a team, you usually only focus on the task before you and pay little heed to projects elsewhere. You might be better of speaking to a producer of that time, who had a top down view of everything that was in development and what happened to it.

Unseen64: You worked for more than 9 years at Team17 on many popular games, but unfortunately a few of those were never released. One of them was Worms Battle Rally: what do you remember about this project? How was the gameplay like and why was it canned?

interview julian holtom - Worms Battle RallyJules: The Worms franchise has often been shoehorned into other successful game genres, trying to piggyback off of their success to eek out more money from fans loyal to the original game. Worms Battle Rally was no exception, essentially aping Mario Kart. Unfortunately the team bought together to work on it, had little experience of building driving games. That began to tell after a while when the game simply wasn’t living up to expectations, both internally and when compared to games already out there. The lack of confidence to deliver meant the plug was pulled.

Unseen64: Do you remember other cancelled games in development or pitched at Team17 during those years? If so, can you share some details about what they could have been?

Jules: I expect there will be quite a few, but I can’t remember them, sorry.

Unseen64: Working on videogames is often tough and gruelling work, but every development team has both one catastrophic and one funny story (or at least bizarre). Do you remember any such stories from your experience in so many different gaming studios?

Jules: Too many to mention, particularly from the early days of game dev, which were let’s say… a little like the Wild West frontier of old. Rules were far and few between. However a few do stand out; Gaffa taping a programmer to a chair on his birthday then handcuffing them to the back of a car and towing them at speed around the company carpark. The following year we handcuffed the same guy to the drainpipe outside the office and deluged him in buckets of water… his birthday was in the middle of winter.

Another chap we worked with used to get on the wrong side of many of us, one day it was decided we’d mete out a collective punishment and covered his entire car in shaving foam and disposable razors. The man in question was notoriously short-fused, and we knew full well he’d hit the roof upon seeing his car, but I think the cherry on top the pushed him over the edge was the word “cock” on his reg plate.

Unseen64: That was the last question, thanks a lot for your time Jules! 

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