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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New Screenshots: Hoppin’ Mad

Posted on October 3rd, 2008 by Frank Cifaldi

Courtesy of the latest issue of Nintendo Age’s PDF-format magazine comes these brand new, emulator-fresh screenshots of the NES Hoppin’ Mad prototype we reported on previously. These shots come from an article written by Mark Nolan, who currently owns the prototype.

There has been no final word yet on the game’s public availability, but Nolan states more than once in his op-ed that he intends to let the community play the game, one way or another. He is currently looking for someone to possibly patch up the third, incomplete level and create a reasonable facsimile of what the final game might have been.

Screens are below.


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ebay: Yogi’s Frustration for Intellivision

Posted on September 22nd, 2008 by Frank Cifaldi

Via gameSniped.com (as was the last post, I think I forgot to credit them!) comes news that Yogi’s Frustration, the unreleased Intellivision game starring Yogi Bear, is for sale on ebay.

Yogi’s Frustration (sometimes titled Yogi’s Adventure, Yogi and BooBoo or, disturbingly, Yogi’s BooBoo) was the result of Mattel’s marketing department acquiring a handful of licenses and trying to apply them to games already in development - in this case, a game with a completely original IP called Modern Times, then being coded by Mark Buczek.

According to Intellivision veterans (and current owners) the Blue Sky Rangers, the game itself tested well, but the inclusion of Yogi and Boo Boo characters did not, proving once again that you should ignore your marketing department in all creative matters.

I haven’t seen this game in action since Classic Gaming Expo ‘99 (photos here, you might even find a chunky 17-year-old me somewhere), and that was the Rangers’ personal copy, which they of course can not legally sell or distribute without paying licensing fees. As far as I’m aware, this is the only privately-owned copy ever for sale.

The auction has a buy it now of $9,995, but I don’t think the seller is honestly expecting that much - in fact, he is taking offers.

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Mail Plane for Vectrex Video, Ebay Auction

Posted on September 21st, 2008 by Frank Cifaldi

A video for the unreleased and mostly unseen game Mail Plane for the Vectrex video game system has been uploaded to Youtube. Further, the game is currently for sale, as part of a large ebay lot.

Mail Plane is an important historical footnote for Vectrex enthusiasts, as it is the only title designed to only be playable with the Light Pen attachment. This is not the first copy of Mail Plane to surface - an article in a 1997 issue of Retrogames contained a review of what appeared to be final code, noting that the game is “as close as the Veccy gets to a simulation.” This was apparently one of two known copies, with one being held at a $5,000 ransom by a collector, as this dramatic discussion details.

Oddly enough, there is a binary ROM floating around for Mail Plane that does not seem to boot properly. If recent discussion is to be believed, it may be corrupt and unusable, making the aforementioned auction the best and possibly last chance for a Vectrex fan to save this game from complete obscurity.

The auction has plenty of other EPROM chips and prototype cartridges too, including a handful that do not boot (some without labels!). The unreleased games include Tour de France, Dark Tower and Pitcher’s Duel, all of which had previously been preserved in playable fashion, and Berzerk II, Mine Storm III and possibly others that are brand new discoveries - I don’t know my Vectrex stuff enough to tell for sure.

The embedded YouTube video for Mail Plane is below.

I have also mirrored the original video, because I don’t trust YouTube as an archival source. Who knows, we may never see this game in action again, depending on who ponies up the cash for this lot. If anyone wants to put together a pool to make sure these games are properly documented and saved, let us know in the forums link below.

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Unreleased Chuckie Egg Sequel Being Posthumously Coded

Posted on September 19th, 2008 by Frank Cifaldi

As previously reported by our like-minded buddies at Games That Weren’t, the Retro Remakes 2008 Big Competition has a category just for unreleased games! I just had a look around, and it looks like the only “Games That Weren’t” entry being discussed so far is contest entrant FatSeagal’s attempt at Chuckie Apple, the planned sequel to the 1983 computer game Chuckie Egg.

What makes this entry particularly interesting is that FatSeagal is directly converting the game from its original and completed design doc, graciously hosted by Chuckie Egg fansite Bagshot Row: The Chuckie Egg Professional’s Resource Kit. So if all goes according to plan here there shouldn’t be any second-guessing; this should more or less be a direct representation of what the game would have been like.

Chuckie Apple is an important title for Chuckie Egg fans, as it was designed by Nigel Alderton, the same coder as the original game (who was not involved in the vaguely-similar Chuckie Egg 2). Here’s hoping the project finishes - and further, here’s hoping for more entries in this category (Bio Force Ape, anyone?).

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Chex Quest 3 Finished & Released

Posted on September 12th, 2008 by Frank Cifaldi

From the Completely Out of Nowhere Department (and thanks to TIGSource for the heads-up) comes the announcement that Charles Jacobi, the artist behind Chex Quest and Chex Quest 2, has finished and released Chex Quest 3 - over a decade after an incomplete Beta version was posted online!

Chex Quest was a hack and partial conversion of the original Doom, developed by newmedia and marketing firm Digital Cafe on commission from Ralston Purina. The game replaced Doom’s main character with an anthropomorphic piece of Chex cereal, among other modifications, and was included on specially marked boxes of the breakfast favorite. Chex Quest 2 was released for free on the developer’s website, and Chex Quest 3, after going as far as Beta, was quietly canceled when the promotion ended. Now, over ten years later, Jacobi has finished the game and posted a download on the alarmingly active Chex Quest Fan Forums. Early impressions from the Fan Forums are generally positive, including “ULTIMATE EPIC WIN FROM ANOTHER DIMENSIONPWNZORNESS!!!!!!!!” and “YES!!!!!!!!!!11 WO HOOOO.”

Personally, this is not my favorite cereal-related game - every day, I continue to wait patiently for someone to bring Tony & Friends in Kellogg’s Land back into my life.

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English Rent-A-Hero No. 1 for Xbox Leaked

Posted on September 11th, 2008 by Frank Cifaldi

The unreleased English translation of Sega’s Rent-A-Hero No. 1 for the Xbox, the first such entry in the series ever planned for release outside of Japan, has appeared on torrent sites in an apparently complete state.

Developed by Hitmaker (formerly — and currently — Sega-AM3) and planned to be published in the USA by the apparently short-lived AIA USA, Ltd., Rent-A-Hero No. 1 is a strange game that combines traditional RPG exploration mechanics with Final Fight-like battles. The series started life on the Mega Drive in 1991, with an expanded 3D remake released for the Dreamcast in 2001 - neither of which were released or, as far as I’m aware, planned to be released outside of Japan. The Xbox version of Rent-A-Hero No. 1 is a slightly modified version of the Dreamcast release, with new online capabilities (and, of course, a brand new English translation). This translation was very close to release and, in fact, was even reviewed by GamePro in February of 2003.

I haven’t had a chance to check the game out, but early impressions from elsewhere on the internet tell of an apparently complete game, with only minor text errors present.

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