simulation

Battle Choice (Konami) [NES, Famicom – Cancelled]

Battle Choice is a cancelled fantasy style chess – beat ‘em up that was in development by Konami for the NES / Famicom, around 1988. It was based on the Japanese game of chess, Shogi, but mergeing simulation and action gameplay. In addition to fantasy knights, it seems there would have been even high school girls as playable characters in the game. We can assume it would have been a fun, comical take on classic Shogi.

The gameplay would have been the same as in the original shogi, up to the point where players take turns. When the pieces come into contact with each other, action-battles begin. The combat gameplay was basically a beat ‘em up.

Unfortunately the game was never seen in screenshots from magazines of its time and little is known about it. Music tracks from Battle Choice were included in the soundtrack album “Konami Famicom Chronicle Vol.3 ROM Cassette”, released in August 2015.

Thanks to Heimao for the contribution!

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Nekketsu Kunio-Kun Zukan [NES, Famicom – Cancelled]

Nekketsu Kunio-Kun Zukan (熱血くにおくん図鑑, translated by Google as “Enthusiastic Kunio-Kun Encyclopedia”) is a cancelled game / software in the Kunio-kun series by Technos Japan, planned for the Nintendo NES / Famicom console. In the main games of the series you take the role of Kunio, a japanese high-school delinquent (bancho) with a good heart, punching and kicking other gangs to free the streets of your city.

While in the west the series is mostly known for Renegade and River City Ransom on the NES, in Japan many more Kunio games were developed and published. In 1988 Super Dodge Ball (a sport-based Kunio-Kun spin off) was released on the Famicom and in 1993 this “Nekketsu Kunio-Kun Zukan” seems to have been in the works too, but never officially announced.

Some footage from this cancelled Kunio-Kun “game” was shared on Twitter in March 2020 by Former Technos programmer Otake, as noticed by Heimao. By looking at it, Nekketsu Kunio-Kun Zukan seems like some kind of “school simulation” or as suggested by its translated title, an “Encyclopedia” to show off all the characters from the series and their bio, by moving around the school. A couple of weeks later Otake deleted the footage from Twitter, apparently because someone else from Technos asked to remove it. A copy of the footage is saved below, to preserve the existence of this lost project.

Thanks to Heimao for the contribution!

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Baketsu Daisuken [GBA – Cancelled]

Baketsu Daisakusen is a cancelled horse-racing RPG / simulation in development around 2001 by Nintendo for their Game Boy Advance. As other horse-racing game popular in Japan you could play it as a racing game or as a simulation in which you just bet on the results, while the game internal AI would predict which horse would win the race based on their stats and previous 5 runs. It seems Baketsu Daisakusen would also let you play online against other players, using the GBA’s cell-phone adapter. 

In the end, Nintendo never released the game for unknown reasons. Only a few, tiny screenshots still exist today to remember its existence.

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Mario Motors (Yoot Saito) [Nintendo DS – Cancelled]

Mario Motors is a cancelled racing / car engine simulation game that was in development by Yoot Saito (Seaman, Odama, SimTower) and Nintendo for their DS. While the game was never officially announced, Saito talked about it during his conference at Reboot Develop 2018. As we can read at Destructoid:

“”During one meeting, Iwata-san asked me a question: ‘Saito-san, what have you been interested in lately?’ I immediately understood what he was getting at, so I answered ‘sculpting chunk.’ Miyamoto-san said ‘huh?!'” (To help explain to the audience what he was referring to, Saito talked a bit about how things like watches, camera frames, and MacBooks are made. Sculpting objects out of metal chunks spoke to him and it was an idea he “really wanted” to make into a game.). […] This kind of sculpting is really appealing to a middle-aged guy like me […] I explained this crazy idea to them and they really listened to me very carefully in complete silence, and finally said ‘that sounds interesting, let’s give it a try. […] The concept eventually morphed into Mario Motors, “a game where you created engines.”

Saito summed it up as “shaving and sculpting out of a chunk of metal to make a cylinder [which then] decides the ability of your engines.” For part of the game he wanted to teach players how acceleration works in an interesting way and thought about having them blow into the DS microphone. “I scrapped this idea because this would cause children to get out of breath,” he explained.

As for why Mario Motors never moved ahead, Saito said “I can’t tell you why, but please guess.”

A few Mario Motors images were shared by Saito and we can see a “2008” date and a Nintendo DS Lite in there, but we don’t know when its original idea was conceived. A similar interactive concept was playable at E3 2004 when Nintendo had a “Carving tech demo” to showcase DS’ touch screen. As we can read in an old Kikizo E3 report:

“The Carving demo removed any doubts I had about DS’ touch screen sensitivity. The demo started by making your selection of a log, a steel cylinder, a watermelon, or a Mario wood sculpture. Whichever item you select is sent to the top of the screen and laid horizontally, then spun. At this point your touch pen becomes a razor sharp carving knife. Touching the object on the very edge only makes a skin deep incision, while moving in deeper cuts away an increasing amount of meat. Most impressive was the surgical precision of the carving on the DS touch screen.”

From the few Mario Motors images available, it looks like Mario would have been instructed on how engines work by an older version of him (?), with white mustache and air.

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Dinosaur Zoo (Dogfish) [PS2 – Cancelled]

Dogfish Entertainment was a rather obscure studio established in October 2000, created by former employees of Bullfrog Productions (Syndicate Wars, Dungeon Keeper 2, Dark Omen). The team worked on many different prototypes, trying to pitch their ideas to publishers. One of these concepts was for a park management game, kind of like a Jurassic Park Sim titled “Dinosaur Zoo“, which around 2001 was green-lighted by Sony as a first-party game, along with another game titled “Horrorville“.

Dinosaur-Zoo-Dogfish-PS2-Cancelled

A prototype and 3D engine were created for the game, but it was still in very early development when it was canned because Blue Tongue Entertainment and Vivendi Universal Games bought the official license to develop a “Jurassic Park Simulator”, later released as Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis for PS2, Xbox and PC. Dogfish though their original game would not be able to compete against the “real” dinosaur zoo IP.

In 2002 Sony decided to cut their collaboration with Dogfish and the company had to close down. Developers went to other companies in the Guildford area, such studios as Big Blue Box, Small Rockets and Lionhead. Every Dogfish prototype is now lost forever, with not much saved from oblivion.

Thanks to Mogens for the contribution!