FGB is a cancelled action RPG / hack ‘n slash in development between 1999 and 2001 by Plasma Works, planned to be published on the Game Boy Color. You could imagine it as a mix between Gauntlet, Robotron and Zelda, featuring coop multiplayer (using GB’s link cable), 128 Levels and 50 different Monsters to kill during your adventure.
In 2000 IGN wrote a preview of the game with their impressions:
“To add to the gameplay, you will be able to play through the game with different characters, each with their own abilities and attributes. Playing the game as one character will key different conversations than another character, so half the fun is discovering how each character handles the same situation.
The look of FGB is very old-school, but very appropriate. Instead of focusing on detail of characters, the artists instead made basic shapes to represent enemies and heroes. What’s more, the programmers have made an engine that can push an amazing number of sprites without flicker the Game Boy Color has a 10-sprite-per-line limitation, but through a bit of programming trickery Plasma Works was able to get around it. According to the company, up to 256 enemies, bullets and explosions can be on-screen at once in FGB. Not too shabby.
Plasma Works is currently looking for a publisher for the game”
In the end Plasma Works did not find a publisher interested in funding FGB’s development and the project was cancelled. A few years later, the team released their own prototype online, to be preserved by the community.
As we can read in the description file shared among the ROM:
“Hi there! You hold in your hard drive a great Game Boy Color game called FGB (the name doesn’t stand for anything). It is a weird and wonderful game that combines elements of an adventure/RPG like “Zelda” with those of an action/shooter like “Gauntlet“.
FGB was developed by Plasma Works over a period beginning December 17, 1999, and ending May 16, 2001. That’s about a year and a half, if you’re counting. Being a small, independent developer, we approached quite a few publishers over that time but were unable to come to an agreement. Game Boy Advance was just around the corner at this point and everyone was slobbering over it, so sadly we decided to terminate FGB and move on to other stuff.
So it was that the adventures of Captain Flour and his merry crew went unheard of and unplayed… until now. To ring in the New Year, we are releasing the final build of FGB to be freely distributed. The game is 100% complete in terms of programming and locations, and 50% complete in terms of quests, conversations, and upgrades – don’t worry, there’s still lots to do, and the game plays through to a definite ending that’s just shy of reaching the grand finale that was originally planned.”
In fact, the french translation of “Video Games You Will Never Play” will also be printed along with another book, dedicated to Metal Slug :)
Here are more details directly from their Ulule page:
Côté Gamers est fier de vous présenter sa nouvelle collection :Replay. Cette collection a pour but de vous présenter en long et en large une série de jeux ou un genre, voire même un thème. Notre objectif : faire en sorte que vous sachiez tout ce qu’il faut savoir sur le sujet en question, étendre votre connaissance du sujet et éventuellement vous faire revivre vos meilleures heures de jeu. Replay est une collection faite à la fois autant pour votre connaissance du jeu vidéo que pour votre nostalgie !
Les livres édités par Côté Gamers sont toujours très détaillés et n’hésitent pas à vous plonger dans les plus petits détails des sujets qu’ils abordent. La collection Replay veut permettre à tout le monde de découvrir ou de retrouver des jeux cultes, sans pour autant conduire à devenir un expert du moindre sprite, du moindre bonus ou du moindre goodie.
Vous vous en doutez forcément, il existe de nombreux jeux qui furent annulés et auxquels nous n’avons jamais eu accès. Qu’ils aient été annulés pour des raisons financières, parce qu’il étaient trop ambitieux pour leur époque ou parce que des personnes en charge de leur développement se sont opposées, nous vous racontons leur histoire avec cette nouvelle traduction made in Côté Gamers !
L’ouvrage original fut édité par le désormais célèbre site Unseen 64, dont la vocation est de sauvegarder tout ce qui est en rapport avec les jeux annulés et les concepts de jeux jamais exploités commercialement. Ce livre fut salué par la communauté pour son sujet d’importance et les informations contenues.
Le sujet est original, mais il mérite d’être abordé ! Pouvez-vous imaginer que ce sont des milliers de jeux qui ont été annulés au cours de l’histoire ? Saviez-vous que toutes les maisons d’éditions et même tous les constructeurs de consoles avaient dans leur catalogue des jeux abandonnés en plein développement ? Qu’il s’agisse de Nintendo, de Sega, de Sony, de Virgin, d’Electronic Arts ou de n’importe quelle autre compagnie, vous retrouverez dans “Les jeux auxquels vous ne jouerez jamais” des retours sur tous ces titres aujourd’hui perdus, oubliés ou volontairement tenus secrets.
We are happy to announce 3 eBooks taken from our “Video Games You Will Never Play” physical book are featured in the latest eBook bundle by Story Bundle! Our “PS2 & Xbox Video Games You Will Never Play”, “GameCube Video Games You Will Never Play” and “Dreamcast Video Games You Will Never Play” can be found in this bundle in their exclusive ePub and Mobi versions (our full book is available in physical form on Amazon and in PDF on Patreon), so you can easily read them in your eBook reader.
In the same bundle you can also find many interesting eBooks about less known video games and their history, such as Game Boy Works by Jeremy Parish, The Guide to Retro Indie Games by Kurt Kalata, GameDev Stories by David L. Craddock, Katamari Damacy by L. E. Hall!
Funds raised with this eBook bundle will support Unseen64, the other books authors and you can also choose to donate 10% to The Video Game History Foundation, a non-profit foundation founded by Frank Cifaldi, which primary aim is the archival, preservation, and dissemination of historical media related to video games.
The weather outside may be frightful, but StoryBundle’s Spring Fired-Up Bundle offers 13 books – our biggest collection yet! – about gaming culture and development to melt your winter doldrums, available for a limited time on www.storybundle.com.
David L. Craddock delves even deeper into randomly generated dungeons in Dungeon Hacks: Expanded Edition, which provides an extensive look at the making of early roguelike RPGs as well as a new interview with Rogue’s co-creators and three extra books on games influenced by the genre. In GameDev Stories; Volume 2, Craddock curates 13 interviews from the hundreds of hours of conversations he’s had with developers of games spanning InFamous and Prototype to Diablo and Hack.
Journalist and prolific Nintendo historian Jeremy Parish maps out two years of classic Game Boy games with Game Boy Works Volume 1 and Game Boy Works Volume 2, covering beloved and more obscure titles such as Alleyway, Pipe Dream, and Boomer’s Adventure in ASMIK World.
Alongside those four DRM-free eBooks, John Harris collects write-ups of arcade games curated from his Extended Play indie mag, Boss Fight Books author Laura E. Hall rolls through the history of Katamari Damacy, journalist Wes Locher explores the community around enduring MMO classic Ultima Online, Hardcore Gaming101’s Kurt Kalata blasts a path through Contra and other shoot-em-ups, and more.
StoryBundle is a pay-what-you-want platform for independent authors to share their works with readers (and gamers) like you. Paying at least $5 will get you four books from the Spring Fired-Up Game Bundle, while paying $15 or more will get you six bonus books. – David L. Craddock
For StoryBundle, you decide what price you want to pay. For $5 (or more, if you’re feeling generous), you’ll get the basic bundle of four books in any ebook format—WORLDWIDE.
Game Boy Works Vol. I by Jeremy Parish
You and Your Friends Are Dead by Joel Couture
HG101 Presents: The Guide to Retro Indie Games Vol. 1 by Kurt Kalata
PS2 and Xbox Video Games You Will Never Play by Unseen64
If you pay at least the bonus price of just $15, you get all four of the regular books, plus NINE more!
GameDev Stories: Volume 2 by David L. Craddock
Dungeon Hacks: Expanded Edition by David L. Craddock
Game Boy Works Vol. 2 by Jeremy Parish
Memories of Arcadia by John Harris
Boss Fight Books: Katamari Damacy by L. E. Hall
HG101 Presents: Contra and Other Konami Classics by Kurt Kalata
GameCube Video Games You Will Never Play by Unseen64
Braving Britannia by Wes Locher
Dreamcast Video Games You Will Never Play by Unseen64
This bundle is available only for a limited time via http://www.storybundle.com. It allows easy reading on computers, smartphones, and tablets as well as Kindle and other ereaders via file transfer, email, and other methods. You get multiple DRM-free formats (.epub and .mobi) for all books!
It’s also super easy to give the gift of reading with StoryBundle, thanks to our gift cards – which allow you to send someone a code that they can redeem for any future StoryBundle bundle – and timed delivery, which allows you to control exactly when your recipient will get the gift of StoryBundle.
If you are a long-time fan of Square you may have read about this lost game before. Project Dropship was a canceled videogame developed by Square Enix Los Angeles and it would have been their first game. It was going to be a frantic but strategic shooter with a top down view and a strong coop multiplayer component.
It was 2008: Square Enix decided to open a new studio to test new technologies and develop digital-only, small-budget videogames. Their LA team was composed by around 10 or 20 developers and the director was Fumiaki Shiraishi, already know for his work on Crystal Chronicles: my Life as a King and Final Fantasy XI Online. In an interview with Gamasutra Shiraishi talked about their idea for the studio:
“We do like to have one full-size project if possible, and then have the downloadables on the side. We’re still in the process of trying to figure out what the first title will be. Right now we’re still in the very early phase of testing out gameplay stuff and testing out the technology. The scope of the game, and how it’s going to be sold, is going to come a little bit later.”
Even Dave Hoffman, Director of Business Development, declared to Siliconera that they were not ready to announce anything and for 3 years the Square LA studio didn’t release any videogame or announcement
2011 was a difficult year for Square Enix: in March they reported a loss in their last fiscal year, in part due to canceled videogames. Nothing was ever announced for their Los Angeles Studio until it was suddenly closed. Square Enix didn’t announce any reason for the closure, but thanks to Siliconera, Final Fantasy Universe and some leaked screenshots we know that the studio was working on a project titled “Dropship”
Dropship was in development for PS3 and Xbox 360 using Gamebryo, a 3D Engine created by Numerical Design Limited and later licensed by Square Enix in 2009. In the game you had to fight against large groups of enemies to proceed in the area, while using shields and rocks to plan attack or defense strategies. By looking at the video and screenshots leaked online it’s clear that Dropship had a strong focus on its coop mode, with up to 4 players at the same time
The game was set in a sci-fi-western world, featuring snowy, rocky areas and abandoned factories. You could use guns or lasers and choose between different characters, such as an old man dressed as a cowboy with a pirate hat and a girl with pink hair and goggles. Main enemies in the game were some kind of aliens, strange animals and monsters: we can notice a flying white fish and a huge creature similar to a snake
Dropship was probably cancelled in March 2011 even if it was in an advanced state of development. After the closure of the studio Shiraishi worked for other software houses and today he is Director of Game Development at GungHo Online Entertainment America.
2019 is coming soon and as every year we’d like to review what we did the last year and make some plans for the new one.
As most of you known we work on Unseen64 in our own free time, after a long day of our day-jobs. We take away this extra time from our sleep, friends andfamily just to search info on lost games, write articles, read Unseen64 related emails, reply to messages on social networks, resolve technical issues on the site, save media and contact developers.
Here are some of the lost games we archived on Unseen64 in 2018:
You only see a few articles published on the site every month, but to keep it alive we invest dozens of hours of work every week. 95% of the needed work is done by monokoma and in the last few years it became harder and harder to find more people who can help the site steadily. Most contributors just write one or two articles, before vanishing forever.
While we still love remembering obscure, forgotten lost games, in 2018 it became clear to us that our work for Unseen64 is getting harder and harder, while most people are not interested in a website of this kind. It’s hard to keep the interest high, especially to support our work on Patreon:
We still have hundreds of lost games for console and PC to write about, but most of them are obscure projects by small studios. There are no more popular projects like “Resident Evil 1.5” or “Sonic Xtreme” to uncover or it’s almost impossible to gather information about them.
Even for those obscure and little cancelled games, it became harder to receive more details and write good articles. Some years ago we could contact 5 developers who worked on a lost game and we would get at least 2 or 3 answers. Now we contact 10 or 20 developers and 99% of the time we never get any answer. Internet has became a fearsome place, where news could deform and spread uncontrollably on social networks. Developers seem scared to talk about their old jobs, because they don’t want to get in trouble.
Without being able to get in contact with developers, we cannot even save more screenshots or footage from many lost games we are researching. With no exclusive images or videos, we cannot even keep up with Patreon higher tier bonuses. This means people who donate to get bonuses are not happy (and we understand their disappointment).
Without details and without good footage, we cannot create interesting video articles. The fact that monokoma is Italian and cannot record voice-over himself in english makes it even harder. In 2018 we got in contact with 4 different people who accepted to record voice-over for our videos, but in the end they never did. It’s clear it’s not possible to keep making interesting video articles when we can’t get information or even record the audio.
From what we see, most people are not interested in supporting an old website in the age of Youtubers. With no interesting video content, people don’t support Unseen64 on Patreon and we are not shared on major websites anymore. Many years ago those same websites would write news for many of the lost games we wrote in our site in 2018. Today if you don’t make a good video about it, you are not picked up by those websites.
Is everything failing? Not yet.
Thanks to people like you who still read articles on our website and support us on Patreon we did not lose faith in our project yet.
We are still trying to keep Unseen64 alive by doing as much as we can, instead than closing it down.
We keep remembering those obscure lost games on Unseen64, even if most people don’t care about them.
We keep trying to get in contact with developers, and write as much as we can about a game when we don’t get any answer from who worked on it.
If support on Patreon decreases we will search other methods to raise funds (as publishing short books using the same content we publish on the site).
We will try to lower expenses for the site (for example by choosing a less powerful server), so that we could still keep it online even with less donations.
Patreon is essential for the survival of a niche project like Unseen64, a website 99% managed by a single italian guy in this age of Youtube and gaming videos in english.
By focusing on short text-articles about obscure lost games, do we have any chance of keeping up with the time and cost needed to keep Unseen64 online?
We are not sure.
So we have some questions for you:
What do you think about the current state of Unseen64?
Do you have any suggestions which could help us with our researches?
Are you interested in small, obscure lost games forgotten by everyone else?
If you currently support us on Patreon for higher tiers, would you still donate if we cannot secure exclusive screenshots or videos every month?
Should we just remove Patreon tiers and let people to donate only as much as they want, without any major bonus?
Is there something you’d like to see on Unseen64 in 2019?
In the meantime, we are really grateful for your kind words and your help: without our Patrons, Unseen64 would already be dead. You prompt us to keep up doing this, even during the hardest times.
Big gaming networks such as IGN or Kotaku have the resources to own powerful servers and to pay a team to work full-time on their websites, keeping them online and publishing daily updates.
We don’t have their resources, but we have you: a community of gamers interested in preserving the unseen history of video games.
We’d like to thank all of you (in alphabetical order) who are currently helping U64 on Patreon:
Alex Schaeffer, Alex Wawro, Alexandy1, allan paxton, Alpha 3, Anatoly, Anders “Captain N” Iversen, Andy S, Ben Salvidrim, Benjamin Swan, Brandon, Bransfield, Brice Onken, Cameron Banga, Christopher Cornwell, chubigans, Cody and David Studios, Coldi, Conrad A Fursa, Daniel, DidYouKnowGaming, Emiliano Rosales, Emily Bowman, Fabrizio Pedrazzini, Faisal AlKubaisi, Gabe Canada, Goffredo, Guilherme Killingsworth, Hannes, Henry Branch, Itay Brenner, Jake Baldino, James Jackson, James P Branam-Lefkove, James Steel, Jessi Williams, Joe Brookes, Joe Tangco, joef0x, Jonathan Pena, Josh Mann, Julian Lord, Kaleb Ratcliff, Lachlan Pini, Levente Tóth, Liam Robertson, Lou, Marcos Tadeu, Mark J. Lang, MARTAZIA A BROWN, Martin GP (KAISER77), Marty Thao, Matthew Gyure, Matthew Zarzyczny, Mauro Labate, Mcsahon, Nick Robinson, Niels Thomassen, Olivier Cahagne, Patrick Enriquez, Paul, Paul Stedman, Pedro, Peter Lewis, PtoPOnline, Rich Uncle Skeleton, Riptide, Robert Dyson, Rylan Taylor, Sebastian Haley, Shalyn Miyake, Shane Gill, swagDaddyMcPimp, Taylor H, That Black Guy, The Outpost Show, The Video Game History Foundation, TheFlameCrow, TheUnbeholden, Thibaut Renaux, Thomas Muste Jr, Thomas.nunn7, Tony, tydaze, Vitor Takayanagi de Oliveira and everyone else! (did we forget someone?)
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