Dr Wright To The Rescue

You may remember last year this humble NL scribe reported on the surprising discovery of two NES SimCity prototype cartridges in the wild.

This unreleased, Nintendo-developed version was one the NES holy grails of prototypes but not many people got their hands on the content of those two cartridges... until Frank Cifaldi quietly uploaded the complete findings within the ROM files to The Video Game History Foundation during Christmas afternoon.

Even among the more optimistic of retro enthusiasts, no one would imagine the prototype to be in such excellent shape. The game is almost completely bug-free, graphics and sound are fully implemented and despite a few unfinished functionalities, it is fully playable on real hardware and most accuracy-intensive emulators.

It is also amazing to realize that pretty much every exclusive feature we know and love about SimCity on the Super Nintendo began in this 8-bit counterpart, to the sprite of Dr. Wright and even the season's colour palette rotation. No small feat for the humble NES, as you can witness from the gameplay session below.

Unlike most unreleased games, all the work that went into this version did not go to waste since it ended up being a very solid foundation for the Super Nintendo version. This is a video game industry artefact from decades long past that can now be enjoyed by everyone.

What do you think about this finding? Do you think Nintendo was right to cancel this and move everything to 16-bit? Would you have bought this on the NES back in the day? Tell us in the comment section below or we will send Bowser over to wreck your industrial zones.

[source gamehistory.org]