Saturday, February 12, 2011

Confirmed But Unreleased

Confirmation from multiple sources is a time-honored concept in journalism -- getting the same information via two different channels is generally a good way to validate news before it gets published.

But I ran across something interesting in the April 1990 issue of Video Games & Computer Entertainment magazine -- it features back-page ads from two different used game operations, Play It Again and The Fun Company (aka Funco, whose Funcoland stores would eventually be absorbed into GameStop.)  Both companies' game listings reference a number of NES games as "coming soon" titles, many of which remained unreleased -- and their listings and errors are suspiciously similar.  This is from the Play It Again ad:

Among the unreleased games are Aegina's Prophecy from Vic Tokai, which was released (or at least advertised) for the Commodore 64 but never the NES, and an 8-bit home version of Capcom's arcade classic Black Tiger.  There's a listing for something called Hector Vector -- the only possible connection I can find is that the characters in Nintendo's R.O.B. game known in the US as Stack Up are named Hector and Vector.  And both ads also list Empire City, probably a Western version of Empire City 1931.

More telling is that both ads list a mysterious game called Caracresta, which is likely a clerical corruption of Terra Cresta, also listed correctly in both ads as an upcoming title.  So this most likely means that both companies were working from the same questionable list of upcoming games, trying to stay ahead of magazine lead times to keep their ads as current as possible.

But there are a few games mentioned in the Play It Again ad that aren't mentioned by Funco -- Battlefield Napoleon, apparently a US release of Irem's Napoleon Senki.  And Hulk Hogan, which is probably an incorrect name for Wrestlemania.  Play It Again also lists both Touchdown and Touchdown Fever, almost certainly a simple duplication error.

And then there's Street Fighter -- long before the sequel Street Fighter II became a major hit, or even arrived in arcades, somebody apparently thought Capcom was going to port the original 1987 arcade game Fighting Street to the NES.

This makes me wonder:  If players had been exposed more broadly to Street Fighter on the NES circa 1990, how would the vastly superior sequel have been received?  Would it have whetted our appetites, or turned us away without ever dropping a token?

Alternate universes, man.  Like wow.


  1. "Street Fighter 2010: The Final Fight" was released by Capcom for NES in September of 1990. The game is supposed to be a platformer about Ken, after he retires from martial arts tournaments and becomes a scientist with cybernetic implants 25 years in the future (a.k.a. last year). Obviously, the Street Fighter connection was tacked on at the last minute as the game really has nothing to do with the SF series.

  2. Nor did it have anything to do with Final Fight, as I recall. But I suspect you're right that this was a reference to Street Fighter 2010. Good eye!