Atari Karts is a Mario Kart-style racing game for Atari Jaguar published by Atari Games and developed by Miracle Designs Ltd. The game music was composed in 1994 by Fabrice Gillet in Protracker on an Amiga. Both he and the people who created the in-game artwork are not listed in the game’s credits at the end of the game. The manual refers to them as the “Miracle Designs Team”. [Info from Wikipedia]
Gamepopper101 has found a beta video of the game from viMasterJag’s YT Channel. Some of the differences shown in the video should be:
Different title theme
Different character on title screen (final release is Bently Bear)
Menu screen is different (but uses the same text font)
No Background on menu screen
Three characters not found in final version: Pum King, Firebug, Miracle Man (?)
Character selection screen is also different
Missing stages (?)
Camera moves to back of player differently in beta (it moves like in Super Mario Kart in the final version) (?)
Diddy Kong Racing is an arcade / multiplayer racing game developed by Rare and released for the Nintendo 64 in 1997. As we can read in an interesting retrospective article on the game published on GamesTM (an english magazine) and reported by MundoRare, originally DKR was born as a prototype for a new Real Time Strategy game for the N64 with a caveman / time-travel theme, worked on by a team of four (Chris Stamper, Lee Musgrave, Rob Harrison and Lee Schuneman).
The RTS proto did not last long and soon the team decided to evolve the project into a fun racing game, that would have been more compatible with N64 gamers. The previous work did not get wasted as they used some of the RTS assets (as a mammoth) to populate the racing game in its early stages of development.
Musgrave confirms that this was never the case. “Just before Diddy Kong Racing, there was a month’s worth of work on a strategy game that I did with Chris Stamper, but that was in the style of Command & Conquer and not related. I rendered a few catapults, but other than that it didn’t go anywhere and died after a month. We had a go at it, but in the end it looked like the racing game had more legs”.
As Rare did not want to just create a carbon copy of Mario Kart, they decided to add some adventure elements in the game, that were influenced by Disney World. At this point of development, DKR was known as “Wild Cartoon Kingdom” and the world was a lot more theme-park based, with a central HUB that interlinked the different attractions (idea that was keep in the final game).
As the Wild Cartoon Kingdom concept convinced the bosses at Rare, they decided to organize a whole team to work fulltime on the game, and the project evolved into “Adventure Racers“.
Nintendo had no involvement in DKR’s early stages and Rare was free to develope their racing game as they want: and that’s how Adventure Racers became a sequel to RC-Pro AM, an old Rare title published for the NES. In June 1997, the game was known as RC Pro Am 64. There were no cars or go-karts, but 3-wheeled vehicles.
But when — and more importantly, how — did Pro-Am 64 actually become Diddy Kong Racing? Musgrave fills us in: “Pro-Am 64 had gotten to a stage where it was being called exactly that; the title screen was done, and it had all new IP invented characters. We got to July 1997, and it turned out that Banjo-Kazooie was going to be the game for Christmas”.
At E3 1997 Rare finally showed RC Pro Am 64 to Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto, that offered Diddy Kong to the game. The Pro-Am 64 team wasn’t happy with having Diddy Kong in the game but finally agreed as the Donkey Kong franchise was a more sellable one.
Some assets from the RC Prom AM 64 stage and other unused / beta items were left hidden in the game, and they were recently found using WWWarea‘s image modifier code. Check the RC Pro-AM 64 balloon at 1:30!
Also an interesting beta video was found in an old german promo-VHS, uploaded on Youtube by AlanarWindblade. As noticed by LerakoLanche from the Spiral Mountain Forum, there are a lot of differences in this footage:
1:01 – Krunch used to be called Krash. There was probably a dispute between Rare and Naughty Dog for the similarity of Crash Bandicoot which waranted the rename.
1:22 – The inclusion of “Rareware coins” instead of bananas on the tracks. These were most likely removed to prevent confusion when collecting Rare coins and Silver Coins.
1:44 – Different image for the Blue Balloon Boost, looks like a yellow ball with a green N.
2:51 – MUCH different looking overworld. This portion is actually the area around Snowflake Mountain, but it’s been modified signifigantly. The area features a second Taj pad, a second yellow ramp which looks to lead back to the Dino Domain area and a large hole in the wall where the door to Snowflake Mountain should be.
3:00 – NEW area for Dino Domain instead of just going up the ramp, there’s an entire area for it. More footage will be seen at 3:24
While digging through the game, Jake and Runehero came across a list of names for a sound bank. In that list there’s a reference to ProAM64 (that could have been replaced with the voice that shouts ‘Diddy Kong Racing!’ as it was right beside ‘Press Start’) and a level name ‘Jewel Mines’ and ‘Twighlight City’. Jewel Mines was a prototype / beta name for the level Haunted Woods, and Twighlight City was the prototype / beta name for Star City.
It’s interecting to notice, that the cancelled Dinosaur Planet 64 was originally meant to be a sequel to DKR.
Also, Jake is working on a beta hack for Diddy Kong Racing, to restore part of the unused content in a playable form. You can follow this Beta Remake project at the Rare Witch Project Forum!
The last video is an unused music called Sea_2b.
Also, Coolboyman with help from Subdrag found more unused areas hidden in the game’s code (see last video).
Hi Jake Thank you for your email. The Sea_2b was originaly planned for the level with the pirate ship in. As for the Taj – we clearly had a change of plan. Much too long ago to remember the details. Kind regards, Dave Wise.
Thanks to Robert Seddon, Jake Ford and Lucas Araujo for the contributions!
Mario Kart DS have some interesting beta differences. This game was going to include a few more tracks, such as Mario Circuit from Mario Kart: Double Dash!! (no obstacles etc.), which was probably replaced by GCN Luigi Circuit, a Koopa Beach-type track (nokonoko_course), and Mario Kart: Double Dash’s Block City battle area, which is unfinished. There was also an mysterious “Dokan Course” stage, as well as a simple, circular test area (test_circle) smaller than Baby Park; both of these (and the latter one for sure) could’ve been debugging stages not planned for inclusion in the final game. These areas can still be accessed using Action Replay DS (No textures) or ROM Hacking (with textures.)
Waluigi Pinball was also very different in betas, with fairly different music and no pinballs, and the objects looked very different, albeit probably a programming error. Demo copies of the game actually showed it with quite a few object differences (such as more bumpers and a less direct launch towards the beginning). The demo version also had a DK Pass-like course with a grassland theme rather than a snow one, with a lone Thwomp near the finish line, as well as many other small differences mostly regarding walls and jumps. It was replaced with the above course in the final.
Finally, demo version released for stores by Nintendo depicted the Chain Chomp (which could not actually be retrieved in the demo version itself) as an item; it is presumed that this Chomp munition would work in a manner similar to that of the Chain Chomps in Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, making it likely that Chain Chomps were removed from the game in favor of Bullet Bills. The item roulette actually used placeholders from MKDD as their icons, so it could have just been carried from there.
Also, DRMARIOX and Falcon88 made us to notice about some other differences:
GCN Mario Circut has no hazards (ex. No Trees or Chain Chomps)
Chain Chomps have no mouth animation
On DSHack.orgForum has shared the “Mario Kart CW Tri” hack, with most of the Beta tracks playable with textures. Also at www.mariokartcw.org you can read all the Beta info that they found with hacking. Thanks to DSHack.org / Mario Kart CW Project we also know about the Beta Character and Cups:
E.Gadd was planned for MKDS.
The Retro GP used to be called SNES Cup, N64 Cup, GBA Cup and GCN Cup.
First, what means a Kiosk game?
A Kiosk game are the free distributed games in such in conferences, stores or promoted places.
Mario Kart DS Kiosk have been released on the download station, 4 cups to play (2 from DS and 2 from Retro). And the classic characters to play.
But, Gabrielwoj have found some miscellaneous stuff that probably have been cut from the game:
Exploring the game, there is some Japanese menus. Which seems to be an old main menu to the game. The menu also illustrates Karts from Mario Kart Double Dash, it’s still unknown if the mechanisms of the game should be like Mario Kart Double Dash:
*Click it for enlarge* Translated: (Thanks to Susumu for translating!) *Click it for enlarge*
Probably, a minigame could be unlocked when progressing the game, Mario Bros. sprites are still banked in the game:
*Click it for enlarge*
There is even the pause:
Analyzing the game sprites of Kiosk and Final version, we can see little differences, such as in menus, in the physics, on the musics and others.
Item comparison: Beta/Kiosk
In the Kiosk version we can see some different styles in the icons. But we can notice too that they are sightly more shaded, or flipped.
Map Icons comparison: Beta/Kiosk
In the Kiosk version, there is some other effects, such as crashes (which sent the player diagonally to the side.), turbo in the game (which didn’t have a blue effect near the tyres)
In the Final version, the counter goes to 3x to 1x, in the Kiosk version, it only shows 3x and 1x
Thanks to Borman for some of the videos and to UltimatePisman/YamiHoshi(.nl), DRMARIOX / Falcon88 and Gabrielwoj for the contributions!
At the Digital Press Forum, van_halen has posted some photos from a prototype version of Super Mario Kart, a “beta” with some interesting differences, like early version of some of the sprites, different layout and music in some levels, different title screen, select screen and “choose-your-driver” screen, missing “black X” from the Lakitu’s flag (when you drive in the opposite direction), a flying Super Koopa and missing reward cups in the ending scene. Check the original topic for more infos. Huge props to van_halen for sharing these images!
In an old magazine, MathUser has even found a couple of screens that show a different design for one of the tracks, maybe an early version of the Mushroom Cup Round 2, as Madou has wrote in the HPZ Forum
Konno: Originally, the development of Super Mario Kart began with the idea of creating a two-player racing game in contrast to the single-person gameplay of F-Zero.
Miyamoto: Just so there’s no confusion, however, I should point out that we didn’t set out to create a two-player version of F-Zero. We set out to make a game where we could display the game screen for two players at the same time.
Konno: With more than one player, it would have been impossible to illustrate the high speeds of F-Zero.
Iwata: Why did you decide on using Mario?
Konno: Well, in the very first prototype, there was a guy in overalls sitting in the kart.
Iwata: Wait just a minute! I can’t let that slip by. Did you just say a guy in overalls?
Konno: Sounds like Mario, doesn’t it? It wasn’t like I forgot to put Mario’s beard on him or something, though… (laughs)
Miyamoto: For F-Zero the characters were seven heads tall, but for Super Mario Kart, we decided on three heads tall characters in order to suit the design of the karts.
Iwata: How long was it before Mario himself actually appeared in the karts?
Konno: It was about three to four months after we started development, when we had created a prototype involving two karts racing simultaneously.
Miyamoto: At first, no racing was involved. It was just two karts moving around freely. Then we noticed that it looked neat if you stopped one car and looked at the other car flying by. We decided to see what it would look like with Mario in one of the karts, and everyone thought that looked even better. Who knows, maybe the designer who drew the overalls on the earlier guy intended that it be changed to Mario all along! (laughs)
Konno: Back then, instead of a banana peel as an item, there were little oil cans. If you threw one out, the oil would spill, sending the karts spinning.
Iwata: How did you come to make the race and battle modes?
Konno: We had decided from the start that there would be races, but we thought that it would be good if the game served as a communication tool in which one-on-one battles were possible via some other kind of gameplay rather than simply competing for rank, and someone had the idea of popping each other’s balloons.
Hideki Konno, producer of Mario Kart Wii, had wanted to include extra online features like the ranking system and Ghost Data inside of Mario Kart DS, but he wasn’t been able to in time for a 2005 release. Now, on Mario Kart Wii, these features could finally be implemented. Konno had also been proposing ideas involving BMX ever since Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, but the ideas had been rejected. For Mario Kart Wii they were able to put the motorbike in, “making the world of Mario a little more for boys” as Miyamoto put it.
The game was even called Mario Kart X internally for a while, before deciding on Mario Kart Wii. During the development of the Wii Wheel, the designers tested roughly 30 different prototypes with different shapes, colors and weights, before deciding on the final Wheel design. During these evaluations the developers also realized it would be good if the voice actors actually played the game during recording session, so the lines were recorded while the actors were playing the game. [Info from Wikipedia]
In the beta version of the game, Boo was a playable character, but in the final version they choose to use King Boo instead. Also, Paratroopa, Hammer Bro and Petey have icons hidden in the data as well.
On the E3 Presentation, there are some differences of the Final and Beta game:
-Much more zoomed on the bikes gameplay; -Different tricks, just spins; -Some different cup icons (flower cup an example) -Item box stays always -Mario Kart Wii beta logo
Too, there are 2 test tracks on the game, called old_mario_gc_b/draw_demo:
Also, Gabrielwoj found lots of unused sprites on Mario Kart Wii, let see them:
These ones are some unused characters on the data files, Hammer Bro/Petey Piranha, Paratroopa and Mii Outfit C.
Some testing charcter map icons
An very old project for the country flags, weird, it’s started with USA instead of Japan.
I have no idea what this could be…
These looks an very old prototype icons, for ranking etc…
Unused items… NOTE: Wiggler and Fireball (as much commented) are USED, on some special online events
Misc… Okay, first of all, Mario on a kart could be an beta banner icon from Wii Menu, but on another folder… This mii is named: “Matuoka”, may some testing with licenses. And this wiimote is used, but only with nunchuck… Maybe, when you pressed the Wiimote without the wii wheel, it should appear this, but was pretty difficult and Nintendo maybe rejected that Idea.
This is a very weird “earth” of the Online screen, I can say it’s unused, because it says DUMMY, and there is no model! Much of those pixels, are written: usa/japan and other countries…
At the end of all, on the data files, there is a folder called “Debug” but there is nothing inside, maybe they used while making the game, and they forgot to delete the folder…
Also, I did found some interesting image, but it don’t looks unused… You know at the credits, the Luigi Circuit is with another hour etc… At the file with the Selection screen images (tracks), there are a Luigi Circuit as the same on the credits… Maybe for a tournament