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Thread: Why Certain Titles Are Never Released?

  1. #1
    Cherry (Level 1)
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    Default Why Certain Titles Are Never Released?

    Is there any reason a certain title for a certain system doesn't get released despite being shown in certain catalogs that it might?

    Examples:
    COLECOVISION
    005 (2414)
    Side Trak (2418)
    Spectar (2421)
    Wizard of Wor (2421)
    Rip Cord (2431)
    Mr. Turtle (2432)
    Skiing (2436)
    Chess Challenger (2438)
    Las Vegas (2439 - working title for Ken Uston Blackjack/Poker?)
    Tunnels 'n Trolls (2441)
    Horse Racing (2442)
    Smurf Play 'n Learn (2444)
    Smurfette's Birthday (2444)
    Dracula (2608)
    Sword & the Sorcerer (2619)
    Tac/Scan (2635)
    Wizard of Oz (2636)

    There are many explanations abound as to their cancellations, including but not limited to:
    1. Limited programming time.
    2. Programming difficulties (on-screen sprite limitations, cartridge ROM space and other considerations).
    3. Cost of programming the game.
    4. Licensing negotiations.
    5. Exceeding release quotas.

    ~Ben
    Last edited by ColecoFan1981; 03-06-2016 at 05:25 PM.

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    celerystalker is a poindexter celerystalker's Avatar
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    Default

    I think you answered your own question.

  3. #3
    Great Puma (Level 12) Steve W's Avatar
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    Default

    I think that games like Dracula were just too advanced for an 8-bit console in the early '80s to handle. Some just didn't need to be released at all - did game playing society in 1983 really need another Skiing game? I'd think that games like that, Chess Challenger, and Horse Racing were just being made to flesh out the machine's library rather than filling the needs of the customers. So the programmers were probably pulled off those titles and put to something higher priority.

    I've never heard a thing about the people who programmed Colecovision games. I've heard all sorts of things about the camaraderie amongst the programming staff at companies like Atari and Mattel, but nothing about Coleco's people. I guess there was no centralized programming offices there, they just outsourced titles to whoever wanted to take them on. Which doesn't sound like very much fun. At places like Atari, everybody would hang out during lunchtime and play everybody else's games, offering suggestions and tweaks to make titles better. I guess Coleco was much more corporate and impersonal than that. That might also play into why some games didn't get released, feasibility studies and focus groups would dictate more of whether or not a game is worth putting out or not.

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    Pac-Man (Level 10) Emperor Megas's Avatar
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    Default

    I'm still really salty about Woody Pop never being released for the SEGA Master System. It was on that poster that shipped with every SMS game, and I really loved those breakout type games so I was always on the lookout for that game.

    It was released for the Game Gear though, years later. I'll have to track down a copy one day.

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    celerystalker is a poindexter celerystalker's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Emperor Megas View Post
    I'm still really salty about Woody Pop never being released for the SEGA Master System. It was on that poster that shipped with every SMS game, and I really loved those breakout type games so I was always on the lookout for that game.

    It was released for the Game Gear though, years later. I'll have to track down a copy one day.
    I have that one, which I bought entirely for its name. It's actually a pretty good Breakout clone.

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    Cherry (Level 1) Guntz's Avatar
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    Well, in Nintendo's case, according to interviews with developers, the most common cause of game cancellations is politics. Sometimes the game is too expensive to be published, sometimes it conflicts with a specific release schedule, sometimes the market conditions aren't exactly right. Sometimes the game misses its intended release schedule due to problems and then never gets released.

    Come join us on Micro-64

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    Alex (Level 15) Custom rank graphic
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    With Parasol Stars for the C64 the game was cancelled because the programmer's computer was stolen. Only that didn't happen, the real reason was that his wife got mad and destroyed his work equipment including the source code and destroyed all backup copies of the game. Rather than give an extension to remake the game from scratch, they decided to cancel it while publically saying it was because the computer was stolen, as that was less embarrassing for the programmer than publically stating the real reason.

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    Pac-Man (Level 10) Custom rank graphic

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    Steam
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    This happens all the time in many industries. One of my other hobbies is keeping a Pinterest board about 1980s toys. There are loads of action figures and playsets that get put into a catalog but never released (e.g., the "Mountain Holodrome" playset from Visionaries, the second line of "Sectaurs" action figures, and so forth). Some products get advertised and then hit the cutting room floor. I get the impression this happened more in the days of old, before data-driven marketing quantified just how much marketing for non-existent products costs. But it still happens today.

    The video and computer game scene was also a bit of a "fly-by-night" operation during the first 20-25 years of its existence (say it started around the Arcade Era of late 1970s). Lots of companies rose and fell - they'd have a few hits and then bite the dust, or live on their laurels for years without new hits before dying. So many companies simply no longer exist - Atari, Epyx, Technos, Coleco, Ocean, Data East, Hudson Soft, Infocom, Midway - and these weren't small fries that just had one game; I'm sure we could list at least a few classic, awesome, hit games for each name on that list. Technology was changing so fast that it was hard to keep up and difficult to know where to invest, what would be the next big thing. Some of these survived longer than others, but still. Nintendo's track record of picking hits and dominating the market up until the mid-90s was a pretty good run and the exception to the rule - and even they've had a bunch of mediocre-to-bad investments since then (N64, Virtual Boy, Wii U, arguably others). Sometimes games just get canceled because the company gets canceled, or the project management discipline isn't really well understood by the programmers who were hacking away at their keyboards and development kits.
    Last edited by calthaer; 03-08-2016 at 12:28 PM.
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