Popcorn (Short Fuses) [PSX – Cancelled]

Popcorn is a cancelled action adventure game that was in development by Eighth Wonder in 1997 / 1998 for the original Playstation. In the nineties Rare was one of the most prolific developer on Nintendo platforms. So it was quite a shock when in 1997 a small number of employees (game designer Oliver Davies; software engineers Oliver Norton, Steve Patrick, and Jeff Stafford; and two artists, Christopher Gage and Adrian Smith later replaced by Andrew Wood and Jemie Hemming) left the company to form a new studio called Eighth Wonder funded by no other than Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, Nintendo main competitor at the time.

The deal had SCEE committed to publishing the new development house’s first three titles, with an option to pick up the next three. The first title in the work by this promising studio was an action/adventure game named Popcorn (also known as Short Fuses) that was similar to a 3D Bomberman clone but with puzzles and exploration elements.

Popcorn featured six world themes, each with three levels and after you beat the boss of each world you could progress to the next one and use the boss as a playable character (more than 10 playable characters including the hidden ones were planned such as a knight or a female ninja). The games was said to sport nice lighting effects, high resolution graphics (512×240) and a consistent framerate at 30 FPS.

At E3 1998 the game displayed under the Sunsoft booth so it is likely that Sunsoft would have been the american publisher. However as often happen with very publicized deals that involve many projects, Eighth Wonder are believed to have experienced a number of internal problems and, by 1999, the studio no longer existed relegating Popcorn into obscurity.

Thanks to Celine for the scan! (Console+ magazine issue 78 and Edge issue 60)



Aero The Acro-Bat [SNES GEN MD – Beta / Concept]

Aero the Acro-Bat is a platform game developed by Iguana Entertainment and published by Sunsoft in 1993. Super for the Super Nintendo and Mega Drive / Genesis. At Kombo we can read an interesting article about the game, in which they even shared the original design doc, created by David Siller in 1992. Some of the major differences that we can notice from looking at the design doc are:

in-level missions such as hopping over quicksand and landing in a lion’s mouth that did not make it to the final version of the game.

Not all of these items are in the final version either. The barrel, for instance, appears in a single stage and is presented as a mode of transportation instead of an item worth points.

Unused enemies

The original mission objective screen showed Aero in action as an example on what the player needs to do. While this idea was not included in the original 1993 release, the 2002 Game Boy Advance re-release added a variation of this concept back into the game.

Thanks to Robert Seddon for the contribution!



Gremlins 2: The New Batch [GameBoy – Beta]

Gremlins 2: The New Batch is a Game Boy side scrolling platform game based on the film with the same name and released in 1990 by Sunsoft. TheActionGameMaster noticed a small beta difference in an old screenshot, found in a magazine. You can see that the life counter is at 5 lives. This is not possible in the final version, because there are only two chances at extra men in the game, and Gizmo begins each continue with 2 men.



Sunman [NES – Cancelled]

Sunman is an cancelled NES action game made by Sunsoft which was supposed to be released in 1992. The most interesting aspect about this game is that originally Sunman was going to be a Superman game, and playing it is not hard to spot the resemblances: both heroes have a similar costume and the same powers. We don’t know why in the end Sunsoft didn’t get the official license from DC comics but probably the software house thought that it was a bad idea to spend a remarkable amount of money for a game planned for a rapidly aging console.

Other than that, Sunman was just an anonymous side-scroller game with below-average controls and only five stages, not exactly an appealing new entry for the NES market of the time. Nothing too strange, then, that Sunsoft decided to shelf it for good.


However, Sunsoft’s Superman survives as a Genesis game, as reported on Wikipedia. The game was published in the same year of Sunman’s prototype, 1992. While the graphic is better so that it can fit a 16bit console like Genesis , the game concept is still quite the same as the NES version. In fact, Superman/Sunman’s moves are the same (except that in the Genesis version he can also fire beams from his eyes) and some maps’ design is very close to the NES version. We can actually say that Genesis’ Superman is what we could’ve seen on NES.

John Doom is trying to make a complete Superman NES game using Sunman, creating and replacing Sunman’s sprites with Superman. You can try the game on John Doom’s space. It runs on vnes, an applet nes emulator (You need Java in order to play the game).




Albert Odyssey Gaiden [SNES – Cancelled]

Albert Odyssey Gaiden (known in USA as Legend of Eldean) is RPG developed by Sunsoft and released for the Saturn in 1996, but it was originally meant to be published for the Super Famicom / Super Nintendo. The SNES version was soon cancelled and the project was ported to the new SEGA console, with many differences. Obviously the graphic was boosted for the Saturn, but even the SNES version looked really good for a 16 bit system.

As in 1994 / 1995 many japanese gamers were going to buy one of the new 32 bit consoles to replace the Super Famicom / Mega Drive, probably Sunsoft thought that Albert Odyssey Gaiden would have sold better on the Saturn.

It’s currently unknown how much the SNES version was completed before its cancellation.

Here is a comparison between the SNES early build and the final game released on Saturn:

Above: Snes . Below: Saturn.

Snes beta Albert odissey 3Albert odissey Saturn Final
Iron Dragon Boss. It seems that in the SNES version you fought it in a different place (or the background was just a placeholder).

Snes beta Albert odissey 2 Albert odissey Saturn Final
Same spell (death rune). We can also see the placeholder sprites in SNES version.

Thanks to Celine for the contribution (Scans from Super Power magazine #20 and #22) and Gamengai for the the fliers shared online.


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