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It Was Never Meant To Be 

The process to make a video game is a long and rocky road. Sometimes, games get abandoned for new projects, due to factors like current generation limitations, internal company issues or many other things that happen along the way.  This week on Majora's Musings let's take a look at some games that either never made it to market, were never meant to make it to market, or turned into something completely different.

Back in the days of the NES, we saw a lot of “unlicensed multi-game cartridges”. These games were not sanctioned by Nintendo, and most times were of poor quality. One of the most well known of these was Action 52. It contained 52 games, most of which were regarded as either unplayable, or so awful you didn’t want to play it again. One of the more “playable” games was Cheetamen. I'm using that term pretty loosely here, as it's still riddled with glitches and bad controls. There is also a Genesis version of Action 52, which was better, but better is another term to use loosely. The company went out of business in the 90s. This is what most thought was the end of the tale, but it's not quite over yet.

In 1996, 1500 copies of Cheetamen 2 were discovered in a warehouse. They were reused cartridge from the Action 52, with a gold sticker on the back reading “Cheetamen II”. They were released on the secondary market, but the game has no official release. The game is prized among collectors, and costs up into the $1,000 or more. The game itself is a coding nightmare. Due to glitches, the later levels are not even reachable. There are roms out there where someone has fixed the glitches but it's still pretty awful.

In August of 1994, an action platformer called “Boo!” was meant to be released by Micropose yet never was due to financial issues. The game was “80% complete” at time of cancellation. The games main protagonist was the ghost of a teenage boy who died before the game takes place. Evil alien cows called “Moo-tants” decide to invade Earth starting with the house Boo and his friends lives. Players would have also had the chance to play other characters at some point, such as Dracula and Frankenstien’s Monster. Images and sprites can be found online, but no known rom of the game exists.

Lufia and Lufia 2 were well received RPGs back in the mid 90s on the Super Nintendo. Like the Final Fantasy series, the Lufia franchise was jumping ship to the Sony Playstation. Lufia 3: Ruins Chaser however never made it onto the RPG powerhouse Sony made. Music and art from the game still exist thanks to the internet, as well as the trailer shown at the 1998 Tokyo Game Show. The trailer is just words, art and a song from the upcoming title. No gameplay was shown. Natsume, the American publisher for the game, announced it was 20% completed shortly before its cancellation. In July 1998 the company making the game went bankrupt and the project was placed on hold. In 1999 work was resumed by another company, but most work was scrapped and the game was reworked for the Gameboy Color. Lufia: The Legend Returns was released in 2001.

Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love was a tactical RPG with dating sim elements. Its actually the 5th game in the series, but this was the first to America. A strikingly similar game was announced but never released. Iris Angel for the Dreamcast still has a small life on the internet to remind us what would have been.  Like Boo!, artwork, in-game screenshots, small animations and other elements remain online from the now dead official Japanese site. Not a lot of the details are known about the story other then the basic plot. The main hero of our story is Shujin, who has to stop the evil witch Myure from whatever plan to destroy the world she has.  Shujin trains and commands an army of lady warriors and build relationships with them. I could not find the reason why the game was canceled, and again, no known practical roms exist.

Spyro’s Kingdom was an MMORPG where players could create their own dragon and venture off into the wonderful wide world of Spyro. Quite a bit of demos and prototype videos can be found on Youtube still. Activision decided this wasn’t the direction they wished to take the franchise  The project was scrapped and revamped into “Skylanders: Spyro Adventure”. Though most of Kingdoms stuff was scrapped, things like the flying mechanics and various art and world things remain in Skylanders.

There are many unreleased games in the gaming world. It's interesting to see what we missed out on due to financial reasons or the company pulling out of the project. Some games were so close to being complete, it really makes us wonder “why”. Video games are an art, and I urge those who are able to preserve their works that never quite made it to home market. Even just the concept art is well, still art. If you have any updated information I missed for this article please email us at

Thanks for reading! Look for next week's article were we finish up our look at Nintendo peripherals.


Adding on Up!

We learned a lot two weeks ago about the NES’s add ons, now it’s time to step into the 90s! This week on Journal in the Jungle, we look at the SNES and the N64 peripherals.

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) or Super Famicom (スーパーファミコン) or SFC for short was released in Japan November 21st, 1990. It would reach North America on August 23rd 1991. It sold an astounding 49.10 million units. Production of the SNES continued until 1999, a full two years after the console’s last first-party game (Kirby’s Dream Land 3).

“The Mouse” came bundled with the game Mario Paint back in 1992. It felt and operated just like a computer mouse. In Mario Paint you could create static pictures, simple looping animations and “pixel-by-pixel” stamps. There was also the awesome music generator, and a mini game where you swatted gnats.  Other games were released that worked with the mouse as well, such as Populous, Jurassic Park and Acme Animation Factory.

Have you ever been playing Pokemon Red and think “Man! I wish I could play this on my TV instead!”. Fear not, the Super Game Boy is here. Released in 1994, it would run you about $60 USD. It was very simple to use. A Game Boy game went in the top slot on the SGB. The SGB then fit in the cartridge slot on the SNES. At first, games were only available in monochrome (much like the original Game Boy was), but later games were optimized and able to use additional color information.

Like the NES, Japan got some pretty neat add-ons that were never brought over. Lets just look at one, the Nintendo Power (not to be confused with the magazine of the same name). The Nintendo Power was a flash RAM cartridge for the Super Famicom and the Game Boy. It allowed downloaded game to be played for less the cost of a full cartridge. However, the cartridges would have to be brought to a store which had an NP copier. It’s similar to what we have today, except we don’t have to go anywhere to buy our downloaded games. Isn’t technology great?

The Nintendo 64 or Nintendo Rokujuyon (ニンテンドウ64) was released in 1996, and was not discontinued until December of 2001. The N64 came in a rainbow of colors, some limited edition. Some colors are now harder to find than others. I admit it took me awhile to find my pink N64.

The VRU or Voice Recognition Unit, came with every copy of “Hey You, Pikachu!” In the game, you use the VRU to talk to Pikachu. The game claims he can understand 200 different words. A fun easter egg in the game is that Pikachu knows the word “Sony”. If you say it to him, he will become angry.  It’s like swearing to Pokemon, but your mom won’t yell at you for saying it. Another game came for the VRU, Densha de Go! 64, a train driving simulator. It was not released in the US.

The Expansion pak was necessary for games like Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask and Donkey Kong 64, as they needed more RAM to run. The Pak doubled the contiguous main memory of the system. While some games did not require it, it did enhance titles like Resident Evil 2 and Perfect Dark. It fit cozy in a little slot on the front of the N64.
Not all of the N64’s peripherals were a success. The N64 DD was another Japan-only. It was scheduled for North American release, but due to its commercial failure in Japan, that plan was scrapped. Only 9 games were ever released, and only 15,000 were ever sold. Many games were planned for the DD, but would either go on to be regular N64 games, Gamecube games, or were flat out cancelled. One game that was being developed was Earthbound 64 (or Mother 3). Because of the DD’s failure, it was being adapted for the regular N64. While some screenshots and trailers were released, it was ultimately cancelled. Six years later, in 2006, it was released as Mother 3 on the GBA. While Mother 3 is an incredible game, many of us can’t help but wonder “what if...”

Thats all for this week! Check back next week for our next article on cancelled or incomplete games! 


A "Gastly" Tale 

Pokemon has been giving us fun, joy, and rage, since 1996. It has one of the largest fan-followings in all of pop culture. This has led to some interesting writings, theories, creepypastas, altered roms and more. Some things are light hearted, some are deep theories and some are just plan out scary. This time on Jenny’s Journals, I thought it would be fun to jump into the world of Pokemon, and its fandom. Welcome to the wonderful world... of Pokemon!

Pokemon was created by Satoshi Tajiri. The idea for this Poke-verse comes from his childhood hobby of bug collecting. He spent six years creating Pokemon Red and Green, and nearly bankrupted Game Freak in the process. During the games creation, Tajiri did not take a salary, and lived off his father’s income. Many times, there was barely enough to pay the employees, and five members left the team over the course of production.

All “main” Pokemon games have the same basic formula. You are a boy (or girl as of Crystal version) who is about to set out on their own adventure! You are given a choice between three starting pokemon. The starting pokemon change in each game, but there is always a fire type, a water type, and a grass type (except in Pokemon Yellow, then you’re stuck with a Pikachu). You travel the countryside, battling other trainers, collecting new Pokemon, level grinding and battling the gym leaders to earn badges.

I think the reason Pokemon has such a great following is its ability to appeal to a wide range of ages. Its a simple enough game for children to play and follow, yet underneath lays a huge metagame for the more advanced players. I got my first Pokemon game when I was 12 years old and loved it, but six months after I got it, my Game Boy and game vanished. To my shock, my mom wanted to see what the fuss was about and got addicted as well.

Now that we know a little bit of history, let’s dive into the more interesting side of this article.

With so many Pokemon in existence, how are we ever to keep track of them all? No worries, thanks to the Pokedex! The Pokedex is a portable database of all known Pokemon that the player carries around with them. Each entry comes with a little description, and some of them are straight up creepy. Let’s take a look at a few:


Banette generates energy for laying strong curses by sticking pins into its own body. This Pokémon was originally a pitiful plush doll that was thrown away. It seeks the child that disowned it.”

Ok...that’s depressing..
Oh look, it’s a happy balloon Pokemon! How bad can its entry be...

“It tugs on the hands of children to steal them away. It is whispered that any child who mistakes Drifloon for a balloon and holds on to it could wind up missing.”

Oh ...
Ok, one Pokemon that steals kids out of almost 700, thats not too bad right?


Duskull can pass through any wall no matter how thick it may be. Once this Pokémon chooses a target, it will doggedly pursue the intended victim until the break of dawn. If it finds bad children who won't listen to their parents, it will spirit them away--or so it's said. It loves the crying of children”

There are a lot more odd entries in the Pokedex, for those brave at heart check them out.

There are some interesting fan theories out there that I admit are really interesting reads.

The first is pretty short, from the original games. Your rival for this game was Blue (Or Gary, or whatever else you named him) and he would pop up from time to time to battle you. For much of the game a Rattata/Raticate in his party. After a trip (and battle) on the S.S.Anne, the next place we meet up with Blue is Lavender town. This is Red/Blue’s final resting place for dead Pokemon. There he says this “What brings you here? Your Pokemon don’t look dead”. After, you battle your rival and his Raticate is missing. Some theorize that you in fact killed his beloved Pokemon on the S.S.Anne, having injured it in the battle, and your rival was unable to get it to a Pokemon Center in time, but others say he just realized that his Raticate sucked and switched it out of his party.

The next theory is amazingly written and well thought out, yet is not about the games. Its about the Pokemon anime series. While it is too long to post the whole thing here is a link:

In short, Ash (or Satoshi as he is called in Japan) is dreaming the events of the anime while he lies in a coma.

It’s time to go back to Lavender Town for a good old “creepypasta”. Theres a rumor going around called “Lavender Town Syndrome”. According to legend, shortly after  Red and Green was released in Japan, children began showing odd symptoms and eventually many committed suicide. What caused this? The music in Lavender Town. It had a high frequency only children and young teens could pick up, causing the syndrome. The game was fixed in American and later releases, and no longer causes the problem. Of course this is just a tall tale...right? I admit Lavender Town's music always creeped me out...

Another couple of creepypastas feature someone finding an “unusual cartridge” and the game itself is both odd and a bit terrifying. The best known are Chaos Black and Lost Silver. Here are links to both stories:

They make for a fun ghost story, and some have even created hacked roms based on these tall tales. They can be found all over the internet, but I will not be linking them here. Google is your friend in this case.

There are many other Pokemon legends, lore and real creepiness out there, all thanks to its wonderful fandom.  Thanks for reading!


Nintendo Loves To Add It On!

Throughout history, Nintendo has always seemed to have something up their sleeves. Though a lot of these tricks and treats did not work out for the company, they still live on in their hearts. In this week's...whatever we're calling these...I’d like to take a look at the interesting peripherals and add-ons to their consoles Nintendo has bestowed upon us over the years. This will be a 4 part article. This week, we will focus on the NES. Look for the SNES and N64 coming in around two weeks.

Japan got some pretty interesting stuff for their Famicoms (the Japanese Name for the NES). The FDS or Family Computer Disk System (ファミリーコンピュータ ディスクシステム) was released in 1986. It connected to the main system by plugging in a modified cartridge (called the RAM Adapter). It used “Disk Cards” (floppy disks) for data storage. The disks were appealing for two reasons. First, the sported a (for its time) large 112 KB of storage. The 2nd was the disks were rewriteable and thus could use on-disk saving. This is much more easier/reliable then the cartridges passwords or battery-save options. Games released on Disk Cards like The Legend of Zelda, were later released in cartridge form in the US (and re-released in cartridge form in Japan later).

Seven years before the very ill-fated Virtual Boy came out, Nintendo released the Famicom 3D System. The system was a pair of liquid crystal shutter glasses that gave the illusion of 3D depth. This was also never released in America. It did not sell well for a couple reasons. For one, you had to have the Family Computer Disk System to use the 3D system. Also, only seven games were released (the majority of these made by Square before the release of Final Fantasy).

The Famicom also got its very own modem in 1998. It could not provide online play, yet it offered other content. Users could access the server for jokes, weather, game cheats and a small amount of downloadable content. Its most interesting feature was it could be used to make live stock trades. It would not come stateside. However, a 3rd party modem for the NES (it also worked on the Genesis and later the Super Nintendo) was unveiled in 1992 yet never was sold in stores. This is due to both Nintendo and Sega refusing to licenses and in the end the company was unable to fulfill its first order.

In 1984 the Famicom Data Recorder, a compact cassette data interface for the Famicom came out (again, only in Japan). It was able to save data from the BASIC program that the Famicom was able to run thanks to the Family BASIC Keyboard (also available only in Japan). It could also save tracks and stages for games like Excitebike, Wrecking Crew and Castle Excellent.

Speaking of Family BASIC, that was released on June 21st 1984 but was not released in America because it “was not suitable for the US primary marketing demographic”(which was children).
Most of this so far has been a bit of “look what Japan got, but you didn’t”. Let's take a look at what America and PAL regions did receive for their NES systems.

The Power Pad was released as the Family Trainer in 1986 and was developed by Bandai. It was released in Europe and the US as “Family Fun Fitness”. Nintendo bought the rights to it, and renamed it the much more awesome sounding “Power Pad” shortly after. It was a mat with pressure-sensors in between two layers of plastic. It was flexible and was easy to roll up for storage. It came with the game World Class Track Meet. I had issues with the power pad as a young girl though. It did not seem to be able to feel the pressure of my running (my brother’s solution to this was to secretly have me too far up on the map then slam his hands behind me on the actual buttons).  Nonetheless it was a pretty popular addition to the NES.

R.O.B (Robotic Operating Buddy) was a robotic attachment that was released in Japan and America in 1985, and 1986 In Europe. R.O.B was meant to be a cute robot who played video games with, yet only had 2 games released in the “Robot Series”. It the game Gyromite, R.O.B drops spinning “Gyros” onto buttons to open gates when the player presses the “Start” button. This works because R.O.B has sensors in his eyes, so when the player presses “Start” the screen flashes, instructing R.O.B to to open the gates. The second game was “Stack-up”. It came with 5 “blocks” that centered around R.O.B. Players used the game to control R.O.B and move the colored “blocks” to match those shown on the screen. R.O.B had a short retail life. He was later made a playable character in  Mario Kart DS and Super Smash Brothers Brawl.

In 1989 Mattel released the Power Glove. It was an officially licensed product however Nintendo was not involved in the design or release. It was made by PAX(not to be confused with the Penny Arcade Expo) in Japan. The Power Glove is strapped to the players hand and forearm. It has flex sensors that read the player's hand movements, as well as all the NES’s controllers buttons on its control pad. It also has programming buttons labeled 0-9 for inputting commands. Like R.O.B, the Power Glove only saw two games releases. One was Super Glove Ball, a 3D puzzle-maze game. The other was a beat ‘em up called Bad Street Brawler. No “Power Glove Gaming Series” games were released in Japan, so it was only sold as an alternate controller. On December 15th, 1989, the Nintendo produced movie “The Wizard” was released in US theaters. It featured the Power Glove in excess. The movie however was poorly rated, seen as nothing more then a long long commercial for Nintendo. The Power Glove itself was also poor reviewed, due to its imprecise and difficult to use controls. It is, however, pretty awesome looking.

Yes, there are a lot more I did not cover, but these ones are the coolest, and besides, there are more systems to look at! Check back next week for our upcoming article "Untitled Pokemon Thing". We will have our next part of this 4 part Nintendo attachment series in two weeks. 


The Melancholy Of Sega 

Oh Sega, you were once a prince but now you've become a servant to the kings of the video game world. It’s sad to see, seeing as once you were a powerful foe against Nintendo. While you never quite won the console wars of yesteryear, you still held your own. What happened? Well... let’s take a look...
Despite popular belief, Sega's very very start was in Hawaii, not Japan. It began life in 1940 in a company called Service Games.  In 1951 the company was moved to Tokyo, Japan. There they began to develop and distribute coin-operated games like slot machines and jukeboxes. Not too long after this, the company began bringing these machines to American bases throughout Japan.
Sega's roots do not solely come from one company though. David Rosen, a US Air Force officer, launched a photo booth business in Tokyo. It started importing coin operated games to Japan three years later. It grew to a chain of over 200 arcades. The company’s only competitor, Service Games, was enticed by Rosen with a merger offer. The companies become one, using the first two letters in "Service" and "Games". Clever, huh. Rosen became the chief executive of the new company.
Rosen eventually sold Sega to Gulf & Western Industries, but remained the CEO. During the 1970's the arcade boom allowed Sega to grow which would lead them into the home console market.
On July 15th, 1983 the first Sega console, the SG-1000, was released. This is also the day that Nintendo released their Famicom (the Japanese name for the original NES).  It was designed by Hideki Sato. It had minor success and was released in New Zealand, Italy, Spain, France and South America. It never saw an official American release. About a year later, the SG-1000 II, was released. This upgrade was mostly for aesthetic purposes.
The SC 3000 was also released in 1983 and was a computerized-version of the SG-1000. It could run all SG-1000 games, but also was able to run computer applications and users were able to create programs using BASIC as well as machine code. It was much more successful and outsold the SG-1000.
The Sega Mark III, or as it was later known, the Sega Master System, hit stores in 1985 in Japan, and 1986 in the US.  The Master System was technically superior to the NES, yet failed to outsell it.  This is most likely due to the poor game quality for the Master System, while the NES had a large library of quality games. It did, however, bring us Sega's first non-official mascot: Alex the Kidd.
In 1998 Sega's 16-bit console, the Sega Mega Drive, was released in Japan. Unfortunately, the name "Mega Drive" could not be obtained in America, so it was renamed the Genesis. PAL regions however saw the console under its original name.  These are considered the "golden years" for Sega.
The Mega Drive/Genesis was Sega's best selling system.  Nintendo's 16-bit console would not appear on the scene until about two years after the Genesis. The first ad campaign in the US capitalized on this with the slogan "Sega does what Nintendon't". Unlike the Master System, the Genesis enjoyed a large and quality selection of games.  The most popular series, Sonic the Hedgehog, was released in 1991. Sonic instantly became Sega's mascot. He was meant to be more "hip" mascot than Nintendo's mascot Mario as a counter to the SNES release (which happened in 1990).  The console war between Nintendo and Sega raged on, and for a short time Sega enjoyed 65% of the gaming market. (Look for a full article on the different console wars coming soon!!).
In 1993, Sega introduced the Videogame Rating Council (V.R.C.) due to public outcry over some of the more violent games being released.  Mortal Kombat was being released on both Sega Genesis and Nintendo SNES. While Nintendo was very strict about what was on their consoles, Sega was a bit more relaxed. Nintendo's release of Mortal Kombat had its gore and blood toned down. Sega did this as well, but had a secret mode that would restore the game to its original state. To be able to do this, they had to create the V.R.C. Though, it still twisted a lot of panties among parents and US senators.
An add-on, the Sega Mega CD (or Sega CD)  was released in 1991. It added faster CPU, more memory, another sound chip, enhanced graphics, and games on CD roms.  It brought some quality games to the Genesis but never took off fully. In 1994, Sega introduced the 32X add on for the Genesis. It was marketed as the "poor man's 32-bit machine". It did poorly, for a number of reasons.  For one, it made your Genesis look like Frankenstein's monster. The second is it came out a couple months after Sega's newest console, the Sega Saturn. The third is it just did not attract many developers.  Only 665,000 were sold worldwide.
The Sega Saturn came into living rooms in 1994. While popular in Japan, America did not embrace it compared to the new Sony Playstation or (later on) N64. To compete with the Playstation, Sega added a second CPU. It also sported six other processors. While the machine was powerful, developers found it difficult to harness this power. Sega lost third party support to Sony (giving the Playstation quite the impressive library of games). The other big issue was the cost of making each machine. While Nintendo and Sony were able to drop the price of their systems, Sega was not. By the later part of 1997, many planned games were cancelled. The life of the system was cut short.
The Saturn did gain ground in Japan though, in part thanks to a fantastic ad campaign. Hiroshi Fujioka played the role of Segata Sanshiro, a fictional dan (a black belt)  holder for multiple Japanese martial arts. The ads still live on thanks to the internet, and many fans still sing along to “Segata Sanshiro” even in the states.
Devices similar (and obviously meant to be Saturns) appeared in a couple of animes. Ones can be seen in episode 23 (alongside a Sega-badged TV) in Neon Genesis Evangelion and You’re Under Arrest (episode 48).

In 1998 the Sega’s final system, The Dreamcast, was released. In the USA it was released on September 9th, 1999. During its first year of life, the Dreamcast flourished. It had great launch titles such as Sonic Adventure, Soul Calibur, and Marvel vs. Capcom. Sales grew 156% from July to September in 2000. This placed them ahead of the Nintendo 64 for that time. However, the good times would not last. In 2000, the Playstation 2 was launched. Its popularity exploded, leaving Sega in the dust. On January 31, 2001, Sega announced the end of production on its Dreamcast system.

The Dreamcast held on for sometime. Sega Direct (in Japan only) sold refurbished systems until 2006. The last games were released in 2007. The system is still living by the grace of its fans. Homebrew developers are still making games. Two games are being released later this year, Gun-Lord and Sturmwind, 11 years after the system’s “death”.

Sega continues to live as a software developer. Many of its classic franchises like Sonic, Super Monkey Ball, and Phantasy Star are seeing new titles currently in development.

Sega was a fantastic company that always seemed to jump the gun. They released the first 3D game SubRoc 3D to arcades in 1982. Seganet for the Sega Saturn was the first net-based connection for gamers that allowed players to use their own ISP to connect. Their systems hardware was, for the most part, was much more impressive than the other systems that were currently on the market (at least during their initial releases). Sega was a company about innovation, though it cost them in the long run.  While we will not be seeing them again in the console race, their classic and future projects live on. Oh Sega, we still love you.