HAL

Jack and the Beanstalk [N64 DD – Cancelled]

Jack and the Beanstalk was a game being developed for the Nintendo 64 Disk Drive. It was originally advertised in February 1995, but was not heard of again until February 1998, when more details of the game’s development emerged. However, the game was never released, and very little is known about its specific operation.

Presumably this intriguing game was similar in plot or gameplay to the traditional fairy tale of Jack and the Beanstalk. Unfortunately, we will probably never know for sure.

As Jack slept, the beans germinated in the soil, and by morning a gigantic beanstalk grew in their place. When Jack saw the huge beanstalk, he immediately decided to climb it. He arrived in a land high up in the clouds that happened to be the home of a giant.

Jack and the Beanstalk was being developed on the second floor of the Nintendo Kanda building, under the supervision of HAL Laboratories, by a team of ten or more employees, lead by Youichi (Yoichi) Yamamoto. Yamamoto, originally a construction designer, was one of several non-video game-industry personnel selected to work on the project by a panel of four important Nintendo figures:  Shigesato Itoi, Satoshi Iwata, Kouichi Nakamura and Shigeru Miyamoto himself. It is not clear why Nintendo specifically sought out professionals from other fields to work on Jack and the Beanstalk.

The game was slated as being a brand new type of video game, and one that utilised the features of the N64DD to their full extent. Although the game was never completed, many of its flagship features eventually found their way into different games, such as Pokémon Snap and EarthBound 64.

As we can read on Kotaku:

“Originally, Pokémon Snap for the Nintendo 64 system wasn’t a Pokémon game,” recalls Nintendo president Satoru Iwata, “but rather a normal game in which you took photos, but the motivation for playing the game wasn’t clear.” […] Game designer Masanobu Yamamoto was working on Pokémon Snap, and he initially had a negative reaction to the addition of Pokémon, because the characters replaced what he was working on. “That time, adopting the Pokémon world clarified what we should do and the direction we should head,” Yamamoto adds, “and I came to like Pokémon, so I felt like that had saved us.”

As noted by Andy, in the intro of Pokemon Snap, along with the “HAL”, “Nintendo” logos, we can see the text “Jack and Beans”:

From the credit list on Mobygames, JACK and BEANS seems to have been the name of the main team behind the game, which director was the same Yamamoto that lead the Jack and Beanstalk project:

JACK and BEANS

Director: Yoichi Yamamoto, Koji Inokuchi, Akira Takeshima

Designer: Shigezo Kawase, Takeyuki Machida, Masanobu Yamamoto, Shizu Higashiyama

Other possible features that were taken from Jack and the Beanstalk, could have been evolved in EarthBound 64 (a game that was also cancelled), as the N64DD’s internal clock was to be used to allow the real-time growth of planted in-game seeds. This mechanic seems to stem (excuse the pun) from Jack and the Beanstalk. It is also likely that the 3-day system system used in The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask is similar to how time would have been used in Jack and the Beanstalk. It is listed under “Simulation” in various N64 unreleased listings, which supports the idea of the player growing his or her own seed or seeds.

Thanks to Redstar and Celine for the contributions!

Sadly there are no images of Jack and the Beanstalk preserved for now. 

Kirby’s Adventure [NES – Beta / Unused]

Kirby’s Adventure is a platform game developed by HAL Laboratory and published by Nintendo for the NES in 1992 (Japan)  and 1993 (USA andEurope). As we can read at Wiki Rusted Logic, the game features a great amount of debug rooms and unused content, some of which would end up in future Kirby games.

Miniboss test rooms. Not just any minibosses though — these rooms have the faster, more difficult versions of Bugzzy, Poppy Bros. Sr., Rolling Turtle, and Mr. Tick Tock that are found in stage 7-2’s hidden route.

Rooms 0142-0144: These rooms, however, weren’t used. Meta Knight battles for the layouts of rooms #142 & #144 still exist in the game, but not for room #143.

Room 0145: A pretty cool cannon puzzle that’s only accessible from the debug room. To get the cannon to fire, you have to pound in the stake with the Hammer or Stone abilities, then quickly inhale the Laser Ball to get the Laser ability. Next, quickly fire a laser at the slope at the bottom before the ice block appears to block you, then hop into the cannon. It’s tricky to get it timed right, but it does work.

Unused Ability : these tiles of a tiny Kirby are found in sprite bank 8C, along with the graphics for the Mike and Ball abilities. These graphics were possibly used for an ability that no longer exists in the game. The oddly sized Kirby would have been used for a shrinking animation […] This Mini ability might have been replaced with the UFO power [..] 12 years later, this ability would finally be implemented in Kirby and the Amazing Mirror. However, in that game, you can’t slide while using this power.

Also, CrashAndSonicChao found the lost Mini Kirby sprites thanks to a sprite editor:

Thanks to ORKAL‘s Youtube Channel we can see an interesing video that shows many of the unused content.

You can find more about the Kirby series in the WiKirby!

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Battland [GBA – Cancelled]

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Battland was an action-strategy game developed by HAL Laboratory for the Game Boy Advance, first shown at Nintendo’s Space World 2001 and eventually cancelled in 2002. What was shown of its design suggests that it shared similarities with games such as Fire Emblem.

While there is little information available on this game, it is known that its main focus was action and combat, where victories in battles were less focused on pure strength, with an emphasis instead on strategy and planning. For example, the positions or location of party members in a battle had a large impact on the outcome, allowing weaker characters to beat stronger foes through superior strategy.

Description by Bryan

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Super Smash Bros [Beta – N64]

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Super Smash Bros. was developed by HAL Laboratory, a Nintendo second-party developer, during 1998. It began life as a prototype created by Masahiro Sakurai and Satoru Iwata in their spare time titled Kakuto-Gēmu Ryūō or Kakuto-Geemu Ryuoh (格闘ゲーム竜王 ?, lit. “Dragon King: The Fighting Game”), and originally featured no Nintendo characters. However, Sakurai hit on the idea of including fighters from different Nintendo franchises in order to provide “atmosphere” which he felt was necessary for a home console fighting game, and his idea was approved. The game had a small budget and little promotion, and was originally a Japan-only release, but its huge success saw the game released worldwide. [Info from Wikipedia]

Below you can read the “Iwaka Ask” chat about Smash Bros:

Iwata: Because we don’t often have the opportunity to sit down and talk about Smash Bros., I’d like to use the last part of this interview to turn back the clock and talk about the start of this series, beginning in 1999 with the Nintendo 64 title Super Smash Bros. You and I were responsible for developing this prototype.

Sakurai: Right. We called it “Kakuto-Geemu Ryuoh” (Dragon King: The Fighting Game)

Iwata: At that point in time, we weren’t utilizing any Nintendo characters, and while you handled the planning, specs, design, modeling and movement, I worked on programming all by myself. In some respects, it was the ultimate handcrafted project.

Sakurai: Right. I mean, we didn’t know at the time that we would be able to use Nintendo characters.

Iwata: In retrospect, the main reason I undertook the project was to build a 4-player game that utilized the N64’s unique 3D joystick. What were your reasons?

Sakurai: Well, I wanted to offer an alternative to the two-dimensional fighting games that were crowding out the market. I also wanted to see if it was possible to make an interesting 4-player game that offered a new experience every time you play. Simply put, I was aiming to design a 4-player battle royal.

Iwata: I seem to remember “4-player Battle Royal” being written on the cover of the project planning document.

Sakurai: Right. I hadn’t given it a title yet.

Iwata: We hadn’t even come up with the codename Ryuoh yet. I think we ended up using Ryuoh because we happened to use scenery from the Ryuoh-cho neighborhood, the location of HAL Laboratory in Yamanashi Prefecture, as the background for the game.

Thanks to Adriel for the contribution!

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[Source: Iwata Ask]

Rumors say that in the beta concept of Super Smash Bros. 64, Pit, Bowser, Peach, Mewtwo, Meowth and King Dedede were going to be playable characters, but was taken out due to limits in the hardware. It should be noted though that Meowth and King Dedede appeared in the game as a Poke Ball Pokemon and as a background character, respectivly.

Two beta Kirby stages are only playable with a GameShark. The stages have strange elements, such as invisible barriers. A working Dream Land stage can be viewed in the “How to Play” tutorial, which itself can be seen by waiting on the title screen. Also, in the character select, the question mark boxes were supposed to be colored and Saffron City also had pink with purple on the rooftops, the smash ball were supposed to be introduce in this game. [Info from Mariowiki]

Beta Images:

Screen 1: There is no sign or bridge or sliding stone block
Screen 2: a pink floor that was later changed
Screen 3: Just some beta textures shown on Hyrule Castle

Thanks to 8PM and Deep Game Research for the contributions!

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Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards [N64 – Beta]

Kirby 64 had a long and complex developed cycle, with many delays. The project was developed by HAL and it was designed to be a real sequel for Kirby Dreamland 3 for SNES. The beta screens in the gallery below shown an early version of the game, in which it seems that other playable characters (as Dedede) could have been used in many more levels. If you have more info on the differences in this beta, please let us know!

[spoiler /Clicca qui per la versione in Italiano/ /Nascondi la versione in Italiano/]Kirby 64 ha avuto uno sviluppo piuttosto complesso, subendo ritardi su ritardi, cosa del resto poco sorprendente vista la storia del Nintendo 64. Ad occuparsi del gioco fu HAL, della quale è anche una sorta di mascotte. Venne pensato fin dall’inizio per essere un vero e proprio seguito di Kirby Dreamland 3 per SNES: in breve niente salto in 3d, ma formula classica riproposta con grafica poligonale in stile Klonoa. Dalle prime immagini mostrate, fino alla versione finale, non è che cambi molto, tutte le aree che si vedono nelle foto sono state proposte anche al momento della commercializzazione, così come i personaggi giocabili, seppur per brevi periodi (ad esempio Dedede, quello celeste e obeso).

La differenza principale, oltre alle varie rifiniture ed alla maggiore pulizia grafica, sta nell’interfaccia: se le stelle sono state rimpiazzate da alcuni blocchi rappresentanti l’energia di Kirby, i semicerchi dorati, così come i tre piccoli contenitori quadrati sulla sinistra, sono scomparsi nella versione finale (anche se i semicerchi, forse, sono stati sostituiti da una semplice barra orizzontale, che quando è riempita dona una vita); per il resto il contatore delle vite (il numero a sinistra) e le abilità combinate (a destra), sono rimaste immutate nelle sostanza anche se migliorate nella forma.

Per finire vi proponiamo una foto trovata recentemente (l’ultima, in basso), che rappresenta una fase realmente presente in Kirby (dotato di spada laser di Darth Mauliana memoria), ma mostra un’interfaccia che non esiste nel gioco finale: più schematica, quasi futuristica, ma uguale nei dati segnalati.[/spoiler]

[spoiler /Cliquez pour lire la version en français/ /Click on link to read the french version of this article/]

Kirby 64 eu un cycle de développement long, coûteux, complèxe, avec beaucoup de retardement. Le projet était développé par HAL et il était conçu au départ pour être une suite au jeu Kirby Dreamland 3 de la SNES. Les captures d’écrans du stade beta qui se trouve dans la gallerie en bas de cet article, montrent une version antérieure, dans laquelle il semble possible de contrôler plusieurs autres personnages (Comme Dedede), dans plusieurs niveaux différents. Finalement, le seul personnage qui ne semble pas pouvoir être contrôlé par le joueur, c’est Adeline.
Si vous avez plus d’information sur les différences entre la version finale et la version beta, s’il-vous-plaît veuillez nous le signaler!

(Ceci est une traduction intégrale de la version de l’article en anglais plus haut)[/spoiler]

Thanks to Joe Long, FullMetalMC, Nick, ToadTReborn, Hydrozor & Ultraman82 for the contributions!

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