Donkey Kong’s Fun With Music [NES – Cancelled]


Donkey Kong’s Fun With Music was a Sequel in a line of educational video game containing classic Nintendo Characters. These games intended to help kids while still being entertaining. This line of games included Donkey Kong Jr. Math, and Popeye no Eigo Asobi (A game Starring Popeye the sailor in which you learn about American Spelling). This game was canceled for unknown reasons. If you ask me it’s because kids weren’t being entertained.

Thanks a lot to NES World for some of these screenshots! According to the titles on the screen, the songs being played here are I’ve Been Working on the Railroad and “Inu no Omawari-san”, a well-known Japanese children’s song.



K Project (REZ) [Dreamcast – Beta / Prototype / Unused]

K Project was a testbed for the game that would eventually become REZ. The developers United Game Artists came from the now defunct Team Andromeda, which produced the Panzer Dragoon games, and it was from this pedigree that K Project would draw its basic gameplay style of an on-rails shooter. Playing the game consists of guiding a cursor around the screen and locking on to enemies (up so several at once) by holding down a button and releasing it to deliver attacks. However whereas both the Panzer Dragoon series and K Project are both on-rails, K Project lacks certain abilities found in those games; namely being able to change your view at will and branching paths.

Heavily influenced by the works of surrealist painter Wassily Kadinsky, K Project’s unique visual style was an attempt by the developers to invoke synesthesia; or seeing sound. In order to achieve this the only soundtrack in the game consisted of a looping beat playing in the background, and the sounds made by the player as he shoots items and enemies. Nearly all of the music in each level is of the techno or trance variety. Indeed those two genres are so ingrained in the games design philosophy that the final title of the game was said to be inspired by an Underworld song of the same name.

Originally the team had concepts of the playable “character” being in a big chair with crazy woofer speakers and a much more hip hop soundtrack. Then REZ went through a very organic phase, undersea microscopic creatures and stuff, which kind of survived the transition into the current form (as in the final level).

The final version contains tracks that were not in the beta, all of them custom made for the game as opposed to original artist made tracks in the beta. Also visually the finished game has a greater emphasis on a wireframe aesthetic and several different avatars.

Thanks to Jake we found that there was a file in the beta, called 0GDTEX.PVR it had the K-Project CD cover design on it, it was purple and had some purple airplane thing with a human rider and said KPRJ, whereas the same file in the final was green and purple, had a butterfly on it and said Rez.

Also, Jake extracted every single texture from REZ and the beta, finding some more differences. It seems that at some point REZ was going to have a difficulty display on the area select menu. A list of the music artists that were originally meant to be used in the game was also found:

N—-World was Underworld, their music was implemented in the beta, but was never allowed into the final.

Richard.D.James (Aphex Twin)’s music could not be used, and was not implemented.

Ken Ishii’s music was not implemented yet.

The Chemical Brothers are the same as Aphex Twin.

Adam Freeland is the same in the final.

While there were some ideas to make the game a bit deeper, using 2 or 3 buttons, Mizuguchi insisted it stay very minimal so everyone could enjoy it. Thats also why they included the trance mode, where you basically cant die so even people who suck at games can enjoy the game.

From the REZ promo video it’s possible to notice various differences:

Beta target reticules. A square (seen in the work in progress video #3), and a circle.
Text is displayed at the bottom of the screen, and only for the Password protector and items.
Area2 uses the beta boss area.
Area4 doesn’t have the ‘dot’ texture implemented yet.
Beta area1 enemy.
Different coloured ‘fish’ enemies in the area3 boss.
The player seems to have different colours for different levels. I don’t ever remember a bright green version of the player in Area3, or a white one in Area4.

In the “test” files from the beta, Jake also found the original “bigger enemy” from stage 1, that it was later changed towards the end of the game because the art director decided he didnt like it, and made the final “bigger enemy” with the one big fin hanging down. The beta enemy had bright blue tentacles and waved all over the place. Some more old moldes from the early protos are hidden in the code too:  it took a while to nail down the aesthetic and how  to approach everything visually in REZ.  Those “squares enemies” all transformed into different shapes in time with the music, and the other two are prototypes of undersea microscopic life, that were almost decided on before the team found the tron-like aesthetic they ended up going with.

More interesting beta elements where noticed by Chris while trying debug menus the leaked Rez beta on his dreamcast.

I’m going to call the debug features “modes” for the moment because I dont know the proper terms. Setup: DC controller in port A, Keyboard (hello kitty jp board) in port B, DC mouse in port C Emulation has issues if you want to access Mode 2 debug. Keyboard has disabled keys if hooked up to a PC (see images).

Mode 1 debug
-Nothing overly noteworthy other than accessing the normal debug tools (on the final as well tcrf covered this well)
-Hitting the key circled in black brings up a nice quick select menu (this has been covered but the actual key is of note)
-Hitting the key circled in red toggles the Mode 1 debug console input

Mode 2 debug
-Accessed by hitting S2 on the keyboard (circled in blue)
-Allows a whole new set of tools I haven’t seen anywhere so far (See images and video if needed)
-F1-F6 all have a tool set with it
-Mouse is usable
-Right clicking allows the options of “debug menu” “user menu” “font size” (small medium large) and “exit” (boot to DC home menu and “main loop”)

-Stage 06 – boss rush (bosses are different in how you attack them, as well as how you piece back the white character in the end – see video ive attached)
-Sound test binary missing (no surprise. SNDTEST.BIN)
-Stage 06 final segment (rebuilding the character) contains FMV copied directly from the Digital Film Library (cannot find the source itself)

The second video below was also recorded by Chris, it shows off Stage 06 and contains some removed models and mechanics.




Game Boy Music [GBA – Cancelled]


GB Music was a music game for the Game Boy Advance, shown to the public at the Tokyo Game Show in 2001. By using the A and B buttons in combination with the D-pad players could push some serious tunage out of the GBA system. The game was to come packaged with a battery-powered Pocket Speaker and cable. To create the ultimate music, players were to be given access to as many as fifty sampled instruments. The title was eventually tabled and later brought back as Jam with the Band/Band Brothers for the Nintendo DS. – [Info from]

In the Iwata Ask interview, we can read more about Game Boy Music development, and they revealed that the project originally started on the Game Boy Color!

Iwata: You joined this company at the same time, didn’t you, Kyuma-san and Kitahara-san? Kitahara-san touched on a fraction of this game’s history in his previous comment, but planning for Band Brothers actually started during the Game Boy Color era. How long have you been involved with Band Brothers, Kitamura-san?

Kitamura: I started about 10 years ago, back when I was young and sprightly. (laughs) […]

Kitamura: That’s right, so I thought: “If no-one else will use her in a game, we might as well make a game ourselves”. Around that time, a new sound chip that could replicate natural instrument sounds really well had been developed, and we were asked if we would be able to make some software that utilised the chip…

Iwata: The music in the Game Boy Color era was all plinky-plonk electronic music, wasn’t it? So that was when you started developing Band Brothers’s predecessor, Game Boy Music.

Kitamura: But while we were making slow progress with that, the Game Boy Advance was developed, and we realised that it would offer us better sound quality.

Iwata: You could now produce natural sounds without having to borrow a special sound chip. However, the development of Game Boy Music had to be abandoned just before its completion.

Kitamura: We had various problems, but the main issue was the fact that for Jam Sessions (to play together in a group), every user had to buy their own copy of the software. […]

Iwata: And you weren’t the only one who felt that way. At the beginning of 2004, the year the Nintendo DS was released, I had the opportunity to meet Nintendo developers individually. I could feel how strongly all those who had worked on Game Boy Music shared the desire to release the software. Another incident that had occurred before development was cancelled also left a deep impression on me. I remember watching a video of staff members playing the game during its development. After they’d finished playing a song, they would all celebrate by high-fiving each other.

Kitahara: People don’t normally high-five each other after playing a game, do they?

Thanks to Celine for the contribution!


Boogie [Wii – Prototype]

Boogie is a music game developed by Electronic Arts for the Wii in 2006 / 2007. Being touted as a party-game, it enables players to create their character, then use the Wii Remote and a microphone to sing and dance through it. [Info from Wikipedia]

In the gallery below we can see a photo from an early prototype of the game, when the graphic style and the engine were not finished yet. Also in the concept arts there are various characters that were never implemented in the final version, as an early concept for the party freak, abandoned because it was to similar to a Pikmin. At some point the team was thinking of having plush toys for the characters, and even vynil toys. Eventually, they evolved toward more traditional 2D animated monsters, slightly reminiscent of Lilo and Stitch.

Thanks a lot to Stephan for the contribution!