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!