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Punky Doodle (Sunsoft) [Cancelled – Arcade]

Punky Doodle is a cancelled action / tower defense game that was in development by Hudson around 1993, planned to be available on coin-op arcades to “lead the industry back to the era of PacMan”. Players would have to protect pumpkins against monsters in “31 levels with more  than 150 rounds”, possibly with the help of a friend in coop-mode. Its main gameplay mechanic was to draw doodles on the screen (probably with the joystick), then link a pumpkin to the line so it could move and attack enemies.

A preview of the game was published in Electronic Gaming Monthly magazine (issue 55, February 1994):

“If you’re tired of blood, shooting, fighting and all that other gore, give Punky Doodle by Sunsoft a couple of quarters. Odds are you’ll be instantly hooked by this brain teaser! Punky uses his magic crayons to stop the different meanies who attack him. Help Punky save the world’s pumpkin patches from the bad guys of the night. No shooting? No fighting? No fatalities? What kind of game is this?

It’s Punky Doodle by Sunsoft and it is as addictive as any game out there! Punky and her pal Curly are in charge of protecting Farmer Jones’ pumpkin patch. The pumpkins are under attack by the creatures of the night, and it’s up to Punky and Curly to save the pumpkin patch and the rest of the world’s pumpkin crops.

Our awesome twosome uses the Doodle Defense System by leaving a trail of doodles with their magical crayons. When a pumpkin is attached to a trail, it searches out an enemy along the trail and clobbers the enemy with a Pumpkin Power Punch! Kabam!

Even though Punky Doodle is easy to learn, it is not easy to master. There are 31 levels with more  than 150 rounds. Whew, that’s a lot of playing time! Punky Doodle will definitely appeal to a  broad range of age groups. The graphics, while not too complex, are clean and colorful. The sounds are also above average. All of the playing elements, including the 50 or so enemy characters, come together. Punky Doodle may look easy, but it requires a good deal of skill to play. With over 30 levels, Punky Doodle should keep you busy for a long time!

As wrote by the Los Angeles Time in 1993, a playable demo of Punky Doodle could have been featured at the Amusement and Music Operators Expo ’93:

“SunSoft of America Inc., which left the competitive arcade business to focus on home video games, is making another stab at arcades with a new game aimed at leading the industry back to the “era of PacMan.

Though the arcade game, called “Punky Doodle,” isn’t totally nonviolent, SunSoft has high hopes that simple, back-to-basics action will make the game successful in arcades. In “Punky Doodle,” the heroes guard a pumpkin patch from alien invaders intent on destroying crops. The heroes zap the invaders into oblivion, but not in a graphically violent way, Siller said.

The game will be featured at the Amusement and Music Operators Expo ’93 at the Anaheim Convention Center later this month and is scheduled for release in December.”

In the end the game was never released in arcades, but a prototype could still be somewhere out there.

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Zorro (IREM) [SNES – Cancelled]

Zorro for the SNES by IREM Corporation was a game being developed around 1994. Nothing was ever mentioned of this game’s development or existence. An ex-IREM employee briefly uploaded a clip of this game on youtube in March 2021. However, it was quickly deleted by the user. Thankfully a youtube user, ShiryuGL, was able to download and share the video with others.

Upon further research the user who originally posted the Zorro gameplay turned out to be Yoshinobu Oyaman. After making contact with Mr.Oyaman, he was able to confirm that this Zorro game was actually based on the early conceptualization of the Mask of Zorro 1998 movie. The game was to include both an older and younger version of Zorro (similar to the film) and gameplay was based off of Konami’s Sunset Riders.

Ultimately the project was cancelled due to IREM disbanding their console concepts in 1994 to focus on coin-op arcades. Yoshinobu also stated that this game was very hard to develop due to it being the first action game being developed by IREM.

Interview translated using google translate: 

Evil Pixel: Hello I’m writing about unreleased games. I was informed that you worked at IREM and I wanted to know more about this Super Nintendo Zorro game. No one seems to know anything about it. I hope you can help me get more information for documentation purposes. Thank you for your time.

Yoshinobu Oyaman: Hello, ZORRO was made when I was at IREM. I’m a developer with ARCADE and SFC, and I was a Game Designer for SFC. IREM has released HOOK on ARCADE which they liked, so the game was developed under the copyright of The Mask of Zorro. Unfortunately, the development of IREM was disbanded in 1994, so it was unfinished and unreleased. The content of the game was aimed at the feeling of KONAMI’s Sunset Riders. I couldn’t get any information just from the information that two Zorro (the first Zorro and the young Zorro) would appear in the developing movie, so I made an action game using a sword and a whip while watching Zorro’s comics.

Evil Pixel: Thank you for that information. Do you know if a game prototype cartridge exists? If so, do you have a photo of the cartridge?

Yoshinobu Oyaman: (Yoshinobu proceeds to show me the prototype cartridge in his possession).

Evil Pixel: thank you very much. This is the last question. Was the game complete or was it half complete? Also, did the game have any interesting features? It looks amazing

Yoshinobu Oyaman: Unfinished. It was hard because it was the first ACTION GAME in the third work after I made R-TYPE. After this, I changed jobs to BANPRESTO and made Super Gussun Oyoyo.

Evil Pixel: Are you the only one who has a copy of the zorro cartridge?

Yoshinobu Oyaman: I had a former Zorro programmer burn it into a ROM. As expected, I cannot make a copy

Article by Evil Pixel

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Hateful Chris: Shoot the Moon [PS2 – Cancelled]

Hateful Chris: Shoot the Moon is a cancelled action game that was in development by Furious Entertainment and Ubisoft, planned to be published on Playstation 2. As described on its old official website the game was meant to be “a unique blend of cultural satire, outrageous violence and toilet humor that bridges the gap between interactive platform-based action and arena fighting intensity”.

“Hateful Chris will soon be making his 3d debut! Armed with an extensive arsenal garnered from his interactive environments, HC must fight to prevent Dollar Bill from using the moon as a giant, 24-hour billboard! This proposed game from Furious Entertainment is in the design stage ­ check out the site for a detailed story overview, gameplay description and loads of cool concept art!”

Shoot the Moon was actually a 3D sequel to Hateful Chris: Never Say Buy, an anti-capitalism parody PC title conceived by Chris Bourassa and Dana Fortier in 2000:

“Sworn to destroy advertising and consumer culture in all its incarnations, Hateful Chris is the icon of brand resistance! He trashes malls, he burns billboards, he berates boy bands AND he flosses regularly! What more could you want in a protagonist? Using everything from fire hoses to chainguns, Hateful Chris works to change the world into an unbranded paradise – albeit through ridiculously violent and exaggerated means! […] With over 200,000 downloads and steady cult support, Hateful Chris is easily the world’s favourite little cartoon anarchist!”

When released Hateful Chris became a hit and noticing this success Ubisoft approached Chris and Dana to propose a collaboration for a 3D version of the game. As we can read on Ookpixels:

“Released in June of 2001 as Hateful Chris: Never Say Buy, the game developed a loyal cult following and piqued the interest of Ubisoft, who hired both Bourassa and Fortier right after graduation. Furnishing them with a full team, the massive publisher gave them the freedom to expand on their original game and take it to epic new heights.

Their follow-up – slated for release on Sony’s PlayStation 2 – would feature a total 3D graphical overhaul, and centre around Dollar Bill’s plan to extend his commercial grasp to outer space. Dubbed Hateful Chris: Shoot the Moon, it was set to be Bourassa’s big debut in the industry. Then, in a move his own character could have seen coming from a mile away, Ubisoft canceled the game.”

We don’t know how much of the game was completed before its cancellation, but some pre-rendered videos created for the project are still available online. Even if Shoot the Moon was never released, Many years later Chris Bourassa and Dana Fortier worked together on another idea that later became the indie-hit Darkest Dungeon.

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Geisha Warriors [PC Engine – Cancelled]

Geisha Warriors ( 芸者ウォーリアーズ) is a cancelled parody action game that was in development by Taito around 1993, planned to be released on the PC Engine Super CD ROM. It seems this would have been a humorous take on The Ninja Warriors, in which players would fight enemies using a japanese geisha instead of a Ninja.

The game was shown in various japanese magazines and by looking at screenshots it seems it would have featured animated cutscenes and many parody characters, such as drunk old men, almost naked workers and tanks with legs. Geisha Warriors could have been quite the fun game for its time, but in the end Taito cancelled the project for unknown reasons.

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Trickle (Metem) [Game Boy – Cancelled]

Trickle (トリックル) is a cancelled maze game that was planned by Metem for Game Boy. Single player gameplay was similar to Pac Man, with players moving around a maze in a top-down view, collecting bonuses and using power ups against enemies. When playing in VS mode (against bots or other players?) the game would change its perspective in a first-person view and you could explore the maze like in Doom, trying to find and eliminate (?) your enemies.

Previews of Trickle were published in japanese gaming magazines such as Game Boy Magazine (Vol.6) and Famitsu News (August 1990), but in the end the game seems to have vanished. For sure it was an original idea for Game Boy: if you can read Japanese and see more information in the scans below, please let us know!

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