life simulator

Denshi Maid Techou: Koi no Iroha [Nintendo DS – Cancelled]

Denshi Maid Techou: Koi no Iroha (Electronic Maid Notebook: Iroha’s Love) is a cancelled day organizer – life simulation game that was in development by SNK Playmore around 2006, planned to be published on Nintendo DS. The project was officially announced at the Tokyo Game Show 2006, with many other titles that SNK were publishing for DS (such as Doki Doki Majo, Metal Slug 7 and SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters Clash).

In Denshi Maid Techou players would raise a digital version of Iroha from the Samurai Showdown series, somehow like a Tamagotchi. By doing this she would start learning more about the world and help you in your daily-schedule, similar to an organizer App. Some details about this strange software can still be found online in Japanese forums:

“In addition to the daily schedule function, elements of training, communication, and changing clothes are also included. There are about 100 costumes for Iroha. Mr. Takkun (Denshi Maid Techou character designer) commented: “Please put it on your desk at home or at work and enjoy one maid in the family”.

The traditional Japanese girl Iroha who looks out of a fairy tale suddenly appears in front of the protagonist: serving players at home, school and outside with the gentleness of a traditional Japanese geisha. But because Iroha doesn’t know the real world, players must also take some time educating her.

The game provides 5 kinds of “educational activities” every day, plus mini games to play against Iroha. Dialogues with Iroha and her personality depend on how players educate her. By playing every day you can also unlock new costumes for Iroha, with more than 100 types in total.”

A similar simulation game featuring Iroha was later released for smartphones, but it sees they removed the life organizer features. As we can read on the SNK Wiki, “a character named Tsunami was originally created for this game. However, she later appeared in Days of Memories series and Koi no Iroha games for mobile phones”.

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XGirl [Xbox – Cancelled]

XGirl is a cancelled “girlfriend simulation” game that was in development by Angel Studios (the modern Rockstar San Diego) around 2000, planned to be published by Microsoft as a launch game for their original Xbox. You can imagine it somehow like Seaman or Hey You, Pikachu! but with a “girlfriend” as the main character to interact with. As far as we know XGirl did not use voice-commands and it was more like a traditional pet / life simulation, such as the Creatures or Tamagotchi series.

xgirl-girlfriend-simulation-xbox-angel-studios

While the project was never officially announced, details about its existence were found online on resumes of former Angel Studios / Rockstar San Diego developers.

Carlos Pedroza, who worked as Lead Artist at Angel Studios, listed the game on his website. Michael Limber, who worked as Chief Creative Officer at Angel Studios, wrote on his old website:

“Interactive test application for Microsoft for the launch of the XBox. Kind of an interactive girlfriend project, XGirl had natural engaging facial animations and reacted to various controller inputs.”

We tried many times to get in contact with former Angel Studios developers to preserve more information about XGirl, unfortunately we never got any reply. In Japan Microsoft did release a somewhat similar game to xGirl on the original Xbox, titled “[email protected] Natural Ultimate Digital Experiment”, developed by Red Entertainment.

We can assume the concept behind a “virtual girlfriend” could have been too controversial for the american market in 2001, so Microsoft and Angel Studios canned the project. Angel Studios was then bought by Take-two in 2003 and renamed Rockstar San Diego. They then moved on to work on such popular titles as Red Dead Revolver, Midnight Club and Grand Theft Auto V

Cabbage [N64 DD – Cancelled]

Cabbage is an unfinished pet breeding/raising game, originally intended for release on the Nintendo 64 Disk Drive. It was being developed by Shigesato Itoi (responsible for the Earthbound series) and Tsunekazu Ishihara (producer of the Pokémon series), as well as Shigeru Miyamoto himself. Unfortunately, the game never reached completion for various reasons.

In Cabbage, players were given the task of raising a creature (exactly what type of creature was never revealed). They were able (amongst other tasks) to buy it things, and feed it. The game concept was very unique in a number of ways. For example, it would have utilized the N64DD’s internal clock in order to keep the virtual world functioning even while the console was turned off. This meant that a player could potentially leave the house for a few hours, and find that his or her creature had evolved and changed considerably in his or her absence.

To enable more portability, and constant monitoring of the Cabbage creature, the game would also have been linkable to the Game Boy via a special converter. The creature could be downloaded to the Game Boy, where it could remain with (and be nurtured by) the player throughout the day, before being transferred back to the home console whenever the player chose. Creatures would also have been able to visit other owners’ virtual worlds. Itoi mentioned that he was looking for an “explosive” idea for the game, something that would have been different to what everyone had expected.

Additionally, it was planned that extra game sets would be released, that would contain different toys and gameplay elements for Cabbage to interact with (including swings, slides and ponds), as well as additional “events” for Cabbage to explore. Miyamoto has even said that players would have been able to copy their creature’s toys onto blank disks to share with friends. However, he has provided conflicting information as to whether these expansions would have taken the form of N64DD disks, or Game Boy cartridges.

Although Cabbage was meant to be playable at Space World 2000, no demo ever surfaced. Miyamoto claims that Itoi and Ishihara got too busy to work on the project, and so it was dropped. He also says that many elements of the would-be Cabbage eventually made it into other titles, such as Nintendogs. Cabbage also seems to possess many similarities with the published Animal Crossing (which was, in turn, an updated version of Animal Forest for the N64). Perhaps, following the low popularity of the N64DD, Cabbage had to be converted to a less-ambitious title. Hopefully Cabbage will, in some form, eventually see the light of day.

Thanks to Robert Seddon and Celine for the scans!

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Nintendogs [DS – Beta]

Nintendogs is a real-time pet simulation video game developed and published in 2005 by Nintendo for the Nintendo DS. Nintendogs began as a technical demo on the Nintendo GameCube long before it was considered for the DS. It made its way to the handheld when the DS was still in development. Shigeru Miyamoto originally came up with the idea for the game when he and his family bought a dog, which inspired him to create the project.

The game’s producer, Hideki Konno, looking for a game to take full advantage of all of the Nintendo DS’s features, decided on a dog simulation game. Nintendogs, first called Puppy Times, was originally designed to have 15 different versions, one for each breed of dog. Satoru Iwata suggested this to convey the feel that the player was choosing a dog from a kennel.

However, the debugging process for each version would have been too time consuming to be feasible. After going back and forth between numbers of versions, they eventually settled for three, with six dogs each and the rest available after completing in-game goals. [Info from Wikipedia]

In the screens below, you can notice an early version of the game, with different HUD and commands.

[Contribute by Matt Gander from www.gamesasylum.com]

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Viva Pinata [Beta Concept – Xbox360]

In the gallery and videos below you can see many concepts and beta differences from the early design of Viva Pinata, one of the most beautiful games developed by Rare LTD for Xbox 360. You can see that some animals were never used in the final version, the stile of the project was a bit different originally and as we can read on Wikipedia, the original concept for the game began under the name “Your Garden” in 2002. If you have more info about Viva Pinata and its development, let us know!

[Thanks to FullMetalMC for the contribute!]

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