Rare’s unreleased and would-be final Nintendo 64 title Dinosaur Planet is now playable online after being leaked by a video game preservation group.
During the heyday of both the Super Nintendo and the Nintendo 64, Rare was one of the most popular developers. With diverse and special titles like Donkey Kong Country and GoldenEye 007, in many ways, Rare could do no wrong. One game in particular, however, has captured the minds of many gamers, as it never truly saw the light of day; until now.
Dinosaur Planet was a late Nintendo 64 title in development by Rare that few were able to get their hands on outside of trade shows. Many Nintendo faithful know that the game was re-tooled and turned into Star Fox Adventures for the GameCube. In some ways, players were able to enjoy a version of Dinosaur Planet, but with a recent massive leak, the true Disasour Planet seems to be playable.
Forrest of Illusion released a version of the game that the public has never had the opportunity to enjoy. Rare’s Dinosaur Planet is now playable online. The game does not run perfectly via emulation by any means, as there are some graphical issues and it can not yet be played until the end, but with some additional hacking, it can be cleaned up. But this is more than any Nintendo fan has perhaps ever dreamed possible in the past.
There are plenty of concerns about properly preserving the history of video games, which is why the Video Game History Foundation recently started to preserve classic source code, for example. Forrest of Illusion focuses on preserving Nintendo’s history. It recently shared a post about purchasing a disc from a private game collector in Sweden who has a N64 build of Dinosaur Planet from December 1, 2000.
This version includes Fox McCloud himself, as Rare seems to have been in a transition phase with this version of the game. The original protagonist of the game was Sabre, but Shigeru Miyamoto and his ever-present leadership style at Nintendo took a look at the game in the late 1990s and decided that it should be a Star Fox title instead. It is unclear if this leaked version of the game is somewhat of a transition, or even something that was a compromise (with Fox as the star of the game) before the game totally shifted to being a Star Fox title.
We purchased this disc containing the build from a private game collector in Sweden. The file date lists the build as being from December 1st 2000. It seems to be quite a late build of the game which is great, but it will need some hacking to be fully playable to the end. pic.twitter.com/igtDSzeRzG
— Forest of Illusion (@forestillusion) February 20, 2021
What is clear is that this unreleased and now leaked game is a massive finding for fans, game preservation, and more. The video game industry is still so young, yet there are pieces of it that are likely to be gone forever without careful consideration and protection. Nintendo, in particular, is such a tight-lipped company. In-house it likely does a sound job of preserving its things. Recently a behind-the-scenes video of Nintendo of America headquarters from 1990 was uncovered, but in some ways, that’s as close as fans have gotten to The Big N in 30 years. Finding a way to get an unfinished game from the Nintendo 64 era is a remarkable way to preserve the industry, both for the sake of curiosity but also history.
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