Dead Games Tell No Tales (R.I.P Virtua Hamster)
August 1, 2005 10:28 AM   Subscribe

Dead Games Tell No Tales Not every video game makes it to the store. Sometimes it's because a company is wary of unleashing a new character property on the world, but other times it's because the publisher overworked the game's development staff to the point of exhaustion. Occasionally a game heavily infringes on a more popular game, leading to a lawsuit. Worst of all is when company politics kills a promising project. Failing hardware never helped anybody either. On the other hand, sometimes there is no reason at all why finished video games are sent to the wastebasket instead of the retail shelf.
posted by Servo5678 (15 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
posted by mcsweetie at 11:12 AM on August 1, 2005

Awesome. This is precisely the type of game I collect--unreleased and prototype games for a variety of systems.

Very good site to check out if you're looking to waste a bit of time.
posted by vanadium at 11:15 AM on August 1, 2005

Thank you so much for posting this. Between Lost Levels, Planet Nintendo, KLOV and Atari Age we have some pretty serious archival sources for classic video games.
posted by Nelson at 11:18 AM on August 1, 2005

And then there are the games that just sort of miss the high point of the media tie-in and just look kinda...out of date. Thankfully, some of them then release the game for free — like the Babylon 5 game I Found Her.
posted by Katemonkey at 11:29 AM on August 1, 2005

You're very welcome, Nelson. I love reading about canned and forgotten video games and it's always nice to see I'm not alone. Someday my extensive Virtual Boy library will allow me to retire in style, I just know it!

Vanadium, what do you have in your collection? I'm curious.
posted by Servo5678 at 11:32 AM on August 1, 2005

It's a shame lostlevels hasn't been updated in a while. Good find.
posted by Emperor Yamamoto's Eggs at 12:14 PM on August 1, 2005


I've got prototypes for the Atari Jaguar/JaguarCD, SegaCD, and Japanese MegaCD. I have a thing for older (but not 2600-era) systems. I also have a knack for coming across ex-employees of game companies who don't mind offloading what they have for archival and preservation (as opposed to becoming attic material, becoming lost to the ether in the process).

Three more prototypes are incoming from an ex-Atari employee this week, in fact, and probably more (including some unreleased games) in the next couple of weeks or so.
posted by vanadium at 12:32 PM on August 1, 2005

I also recommend Jay Smith for an example of how hardcore some of these collectors are -- he has the only working JaguarVR prototype in existence.

Yeah, the same kind of VR they used to have in arcades back in the early 90s, only for the home. ;)
posted by vanadium at 12:34 PM on August 1, 2005

"No reason at all" links to the California Raisins game? I think there's a damn good reason that never went gold.
posted by absalom at 5:18 PM on August 1, 2005

Woah. Glitch in the matrix or something? At least you can spell.
posted by Venadium at 7:09 PM on August 1, 2005

By the way, this is a great post.
posted by Venadium at 7:12 PM on August 1, 2005

I'm surprised they hadn't cover one of the most biggest cancellations in video game history: StarFox 2 for the Super NES.

Great site, though. They really delve into the heart of the games' history.
posted by Down10 at 3:35 AM on August 2, 2005

posted by jenovus at 4:20 AM on August 2, 2005

LL is great, though as said above, it's a shame it's not been updated in a while. I think Frank's pretty busy on some other projects tho'.

Nelson - don't forget Digital Press - probably the best resource that covers every system (although VG Rebirth is a pretty decent newcomer).
As far as single-format sites, there are few systems that have as dedicated & knowledgable followers as some of the folks at SMS Power.
posted by anagrama at 4:42 AM on August 2, 2005

Oh, and for proto/dev hardware and never-released games, you'll be hard pushed to find a more hardcore bunch then those at ASSEMBLER.
posted by anagrama at 5:21 AM on August 2, 2005

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