In a huge discovery for video game history, a playable version of a long-lost cancelled N64 game has been found. SimCopter 64 was meant to be a port of the Maxis and EA title on PC and was last seen at E3 in — wait for it — 1997.
We were made aware of this by Twitter user and gaming history preservationist @dangentemp, who shared the find on the social media platform along with the Reddit thread it came from. Along with SimCopter 64, Maxis' SimCity was also due to get a 64DD port, which SimCopter would be compatible with, but neither of these saw the light of day.
There is very little footage of the game out there, except that from the aforementioned E3 show, which Unseen64 uploaded to YouTube back in 2015:
Coming back to the present day, this playable cart was found by Reddit user a707northbayer, who proudly shared his find in a thread on the N64 subreddit. The user says they got hold of the cartridge after trading in some SNES games — and that the person who they traded with knew what they were giving away! That's video game history being passed around!
a707northbayer has said they are interested in making a backup of the game to preserve this slice of history, and the user has even been approached by a member of the retro community with knowledge of 'dumping' (copying a game from a game cart into a readable format on a PC or SD card), which can be a notoriously difficult process. Various users have also suggested other names that a707northbayer can reach out to.
In the gamecollecting subreddit, the same user shared playable footage from the game's first level. The date on the build is 12-26-97, meaning this dev build is almost 25 years old and is more recent than the previously seen E3 footage.
The N64 game looks like a much more colourful version of the PC original, but otherwise, it plays pretty much identically to Maxis' PC game. It also looks like it runs really well, which is fantastic, as many test cartridges can be easily corrupted.
This is a major breakthrough in video game history and preservation, and we thank a707northbayer for sharing this discovery online and looking for ways to help preserve this playable build.