Forest of Illusion, Hard4Games, and Gaming Alexandria have uncovered a pretty huge find in the world of retro arcade ports. Once upon a time, Taito's 1985 arcade predecessor to Bubble Bobble — The Fairyland Story — was due to get a Famicom port back in 1986. This version of the game was only ever spotted in a few magazines back in the day, but the port never came to be.
Many thought the port had been lost, but now, by a lucky purchase made by retro modder @FenrisRetro delivered the much sought-after cartridge for The Fairyland Story. The game came from the mind of Hiroshi Tsujino (who was also behind Arkanoid), and while it was never as popular as Taito's cute dinosaur puzzle game or The New Zealand Story, it still has the same level of charm as those titles.
The cartridge is apparently a debug build dated 25th April 1986, and there are quite a few differences between this Famicom version and the arcade version. For one, many of the level layouts are completely different, and in other similar levels, the enemy placement is very different.
The cartridge has now been dumped online for everyone to check out, which you can get from Forest of Illusion. For more history about the game and the lost Famicom port, make sure you check out Hard4Games' video below and give Gaming Alexandria's blog post on the Famicom port a read.
The Fairyland Story would eventually make its way to consoles as it was released on the Switch as part of the Arcade Archive series and it's also part of Taito Milestones — which came out earlier this year.