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Footage of the unreleased SNES game "Tarzan: Lord of the Jungle" surfaces

Swing and a miss

Here's a piece of gaming history that has remained hidden since 1994! Tarzan: Lord of the Jungle released on the Game Boy and Game Gear, but an SNES version ended up getting shelved for numerous reasons. Now we can see what the game had to offer as compared to the portable versions.

Digital Eclipse dances around the question of why Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King doesn't include the SNES version of Aladdin

But WHY?!

Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King includes numerous versions of both Aladdin and The Lion King, including portable outings. What it doesn't include is the SNES version of Aladdin, which was developed by Capcom. Digital Eclipse, the team behind Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King, was asked why that is by GameBeat. Rather than give an answer, Digital Eclipse's Stephen Frost skirted the question.

“Our focus was always on the Genesis version of Aladdin and to spotlight the collaboration between the animators at Disney and the development team that worked at Virgin Games. That collaboration is what made Aladdin such an amazing-looking game and resulted in people viewing ‘movie-licensed’ games in a whole new light.”

DJ Jazzy Jeff says being in NBA Jam was “almost a badge of honor,” but he never got paid for it

Come on and JAM

NBA Jam was known for having some truly random and off-the-wall hidden characters. Among the mix was DJ Jazzy Jeff, who was actually surprised to see himself in the game. He had no idea Acclaim added him to the game, and says seeing himself in there was “almost a badge of honor.”

“Every musician I know wants to be a superstar in sports and every superstar in sports wants to be a musician. That’s why you have so many rappers playing in celebrity basketball games. Every time you saw someone jump up and dunk with that character, that was actually me. I did that.”

The bad news about Jazz's appearance is that Acclaim never bothered to pay him for the cameo. They just included him and called it a day. There's no way something like that would happen nowadays, but back then, gaming was still coming up. Things like this could fly under the radar, for better or worse. In this case, it's a bit disappointing that Jazz never got paid for appearing in the game.

Chrono Trigger Tribute Album EPOCH Now Available

One of the greatest game soundtracks of all time

SEATTLE - October 22, 2019 - Materia Collective is pleased to present EPOCH: A Tribute to Chrono Trigger, a 60-track album celebrating Yasunori Mitsuda's beloved SNES-era soundtrack. EPOCH features rock, jazz, ballads and more with highlights such as a beautiful acoustic guitar rendition of "Frog's Theme," an over-the-top Broadway-style musical reimagining of "The Trial," an autotune pop vocal ballad of "Robo's Theme," an epic narrative retelling of Magus's summoning of Lavos, and a lovely bossa nova version of the Millennial Fair among many other gems. Contributing artists include Videri String Quartet, The Game Brass, String Player Gamer and indie game composers John Robert Matz (For the King) and Jordan Chin (ZENITH), and many others. EPOCH: A Tribute to Chrono Trigger is licensed and available wherever digital music is sold:

"Chrono Trigger is one of our favorite games of all time, so there was no question in our minds that we wanted to pay tribute to its beloved music," comment EPOCH producers Jeff Brenneman and Daniel Romberger. "When crafting our vision for EPOCH, we thought a lot about how the characters in the game combine their skills to create unique and powerful tech combos. We wanted to honor this spirit of teamwork by encouraging musicians of different skill sets and backgrounds to band together in a similar fashion in order to make each performance one-of-a-kind. Everyone put a tremendous amount of work and love into this album, and we are proud to present our take on this timeless soundtrack."

Shigesato Itoi recalls his initial pitch for Mother/Earthbound Beginnings to Nintendo, and how it left him depressed and in tears

A fantastic story from the man himself

An absolutely fascinating interview with Shigesato Itoi, the creator of Mother/Earthbound has surfaced, and it includes a very detailed look at how the original Mother/Earthbound Beginnings game was pitched to Nintendo. Check out a summary straight from Itoi himself below, which is just a small snippet of the full interview.

“I owe a lot to Mario. I have asthma, and I start coughing when I lay down. I’ve always had a hard time sleeping, and for a while I had to sit up at all times or else I just couldn’t stop coughing. The only things I could really do while sitting up at night were read a book or play a game. So I’d wake up and grab a controller, and Mario would see me through my asthma at night. ...It’s more like I felt indebted to Nintendo.

...one day I finally started playing a copy of Dragon Quest that someone had given me. It’d been sitting around for a while, but it was raining and I had nothing better to do. ...I started it with pretty low expectations, and before I knew it, I was having a great time.

...It was fun. At first I was simply enjoying the game, but then it occurred to me that there’s someone out there who’s entertaining me through this game.

Yeah, it’s like laughing at a comedian’s joke and realizing, “Hey, that person on stage is the one making me laugh!” After a while I found myself thinking about what kind of things I’d do if I made the same sort of game. I wondered why all the role-playing games that were popular at the time had swords and magic.

Games were more unpopular back then. I was defending them on TV, saying something like, “Manga used to be taboo — you’d be scorned for having manga as a college student. Video games are in the same position today, and although it sounds a little extreme, I think games will eventually be an even bigger part of our culture than manga.”

People at Nintendo wondered who I was after that, and Yamauchi said he wanted to meet me. They invited me to their office to ask me what I thought of a game, and after that, we chatted for a while. That’s when (Shigeru) Miyamoto came in. We ended up becoming really close — we got along quite well from the start. I told him I actually had an idea of my own, and pulled out some copies of the notes I’d taken, asking him if he thought it would work as a game.

I pictured them jumping up from their chairs, saying, “Wow, what an idea! We must try it!” It was a dream of mine that they’d make a game using that idea, but instead the conversation just kind of stopped at Miyamoto asking me how serious I was about it. Itoi, how involved do you plan on being in it? Being totally involved in a project can be very demanding.” He sounded very solemn.

He probably assumed I wasn’t interested in being involved. Plus the extent to which he warned me ended up being on a totally different level than the extent to which I assumed it would be demanding. ...From Miyamoto’s perspective, it’s easy for someone to say they want to make a game. It’s the ‘making’ part that’s incredibly difficult. Just like it’s easy to say, “Some old guy in overalls is gonna jump around and save the princess.”

...I knew I wanted to make a game, but when my resolve was questioned, I was very sad about it. ...I went back to Tokyo totally crushed. I thought Miyamoto and I had hit it off well at first, but then I was like, “What a taskmaster.” (Laughs)

He did say to me, “Give me some time to figure this out and see how we can get a team together.” So he was earnest in making it happen. But from my perspective, since he didn’t say how interesting it looked, I’d assumed that meant he didn’t like it. ...I’d never made a game before, so I interpreted his response as, “Well, it’s not great, but if you’re going to keep insisting on it, I guess I’ll think about whether we should bother putting a team together. As someone without any experience, it was easy to get paranoid.

He was kind enough to take it seriously. I didn’t know anything, so I just mumbled a thank you and quickly headed home. They gave me a ride in a black car and treated me well, but I just got more and more depressed. I’d been expecting a torrent of praise, but by the time I got on the bullet train back to Tokyo, I was actually in tears.

...It turned out that it was all in my head. He put together a team for me. Their internal teams had their hands full, so he went to the trouble of reaching out to a company that would help me make the game. ...I met up with the development team at a tiny Japanese restaurant so that they could gauge how involved I’d actually be in all the hard work Miyamoto had warned me about, and so we could get to know each other.

This interview, conducted by Game Center CX, gives an extremely personal and interesting look at Itoi's work with Nintendo, as well as Itoi himself. Make sure to take some time and read the full thing.

Gwenpool Strikes Back #3 pays tribute to Yoshi's Island

Hey, I get that reference!

Gwenpool Strikes Back is an absolutely wild comic series that follows Gwenpool on an insane 4th wall-breaking adventure. She's been jumping in and out of comic universes, spouting dialog directed at the reader, and referencing real-world franchises that you don't find in Marvel's world.

There have been all sorts of gaming references in the three issues of Gwenpool Strikes Back so far, but the latest issue features a full-page tribute to Yoshi's Island. There's no mistaking that title and visual! That logo also happens to appear in multiple other pages, but the one above where it's first introduced in all its glory. Looks like the writers have great taste in games!

The initial pitch for Donkey Kong Country included Mario, a time machine, and Wario as the main villain

Donkey Kong Country started off COMPLETELY different

Games change a lot from their first idea to final release. A ton of different options are discussed, elements are tweaked or cut altogether, and some content never makes it past the initial pitch. Turns out Donkey Kong Country is a great example of that.

Believe it or not, the original pitch for Donkey Kong Country included Mario and a time machine. Wario ends up stealing that time machine, uses it to get some sort of crazy gun that turns Mario to stone, and Donkey Kong sets out to save the day when he hears about the trouble. It sounds like some sort of off-the-wall fan fiction, but it's all how Donkey Kong Country got started!

You can learn a lot more about that initial pitch, complete with more artwork, in the video above. Thanks to ibbsters for the heads up!

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past's overworld map recreated with LEGOs

That takes a bit of patience

When I used to play with LEGO's, I would make tiny rocket ships and cars that looked nothing like what they were supposed to be. I never really graduated beyond that, but clearly some people have! Case in point, the amazing LEGO recreation of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past's map above. I can't even imagine how much time this took!

My Nintendo Europe restocks Switch Online SNES Controllers

Hurry!

If you're in Europe and you missed out on the Switch Online SNES Controllers, you now have a second chance to grab one. Nintendo Europe has added in another batch to their online store, which they say is in very limited quantities. Those in the UK can lock in their order here, and the rest of Europe can order here.

Hideki Kamiya says the Resident Evil dev team played Tetris Attack so much during work that director Shinji Mikami had to ban the game

Well...it is a great game!

Platinum has up a massive blog featuring an interview with Hideki Kamiya. The blog takes a look at Hideki's career, as well as all the different games he enjoyed while growing up. In part of the interview, Kamiya discusses his affinity for Tetris Attack.

Turns out Kamiya and a lot of other devs played Tetris Attack a great deal back during his Capcom days. Kamiya was involved with development of the original Resident Evil, but it seems sometimes Tetris Attack would get in the way of dev team's work!

When I was working on Resident Evil, Tetris Attack was really popular at the office. We’d play against each other every day, to the point where work got ignored and Shinji Mikami had to put out an order banning Tetris Attack.

I'm sure there had to be a delay or two for Resident Evil. If there ever was, now we can blame some of that on Tetris Attack!

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