Happy Camper for NES Discovered

Posted on October 25th, 2008 by Frank Cifaldi

Game collector “NationalGamesDepot” has recently discovered, via his collection of various Color Dreams memorabilia and development assets, a copy of the unreleased action-adventure game Happy Camper for the NES.

Happy Camper was coded by Jon Valesh, who provided the following insight for the Digital Press collector’s guide:

“It was very um …Camp… I guess you’d say. It actually started out life sort of poking fun at the environmentalist/camping scene and at the same time trying to blend the Paperboy/California Games/generic skateboard game with an outdoor theme. There was going to be a fishing section where you rowed your boat around and every time you saw some fish, you’d throw some dynamite at them, and so on… Basically just the American RV camper destroying the environment as he entertains himself. Unfortunately, due to some limitations in the development environment in use at the time, it sort of shifted into a shoot’em-up in which the ‘camper’ was fighting space aliens… Similar theme, in some ways, but more conventional. The staff testers at Color Dreams liked it very much, or so they told us, but it turned out to be VERY difficult to play. (Out of the entire staff of Programmers, engineers, etc. Only I and the testers were able to get out of the first level). Some revision was done to make it easier, but by that time CD was swinging seriously to Wisdom Tree and the margin in selling that game was too low to justify it.”

NationalGameDepot has plans to make the game “available” - either physically or through a binary download - through the Nintendo Age website. And, though it took some time, he too was able to surpass the first level - level two is represented in the darker screenshots seen below.

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