Literary Crime


The Iliad and Odyssey were not the only epics in Greece. There was also Titanomachy, Heracleia, Capture of Oechalia, Naupactia, Phocais, Minyas, and others. Ancient people read these books. Some were inspired by them to think in new ways. They influenced the way other authors wrote. Some were even pirated (people claimed then as their own work to make profit). These books, like Iliad and Odyssey, had an effect on history. They are still referenced by other authors and historians to this day. They are listed along with other literary works. But you can't read them. No one can. They are lost to history. Yet they are still listed. Some things are known about them. Their titles, their subjects, some of their content, or even fragments of it remain. In many cases, criticism and commentary of these works is available. Very often the author of them is known. Their place in history is assured even though they are lost.

This is not a phenomenon exclusive to books. Art forms such as plays, songs, music, paintings, films, and videogames are also subject to loss in this way. My question is this: Will we at UVL be doing anything to prevent Literary Crime against videogames that are lost to history? Specifically, games that were created, seen by others, influenced others, but remained unpublished and code or prototypes of them have been partially or completely lost. Yet, good information about them exists.

It was Interesting.
Any example of these lots games?

Would depend on the situation. If something would happen to a game as lets say what happened to some of the early Dr. Who televesion episodes (which were broadcasted, but not archived by the BBC and are thus "lost" nowadays) then it could deserve an entry. But if it was some unfinished piece of code or some hobby programer made a game, showed it one of his friends and lost the data due to an accident or something like that, then I wouldn't care about it.

I can't name a single computer or videogame (or arcade game) that had a significant influence on some people, where no copy of it exists anymore.

2007-09-22 (updated 2021-07-11)
Off the top of my head. For the Atari 5200, Garfield, 3-D Asteroids, Elevator Action, Arabian, E.T., Scraper Caper.
Scraper Caper is probably the best example of the above, it was very influential on the designer of Bounty Bob Strikes Back.
Also Rare created a side scrolling beat'em up (Edit: Wrestlerage) that incorporated foo wrestling type drama, moves, and cartoonish characters, along with slapstick comedy. It was an extremely 'over the top' multiplayer game. I can't remember the name and @$%^&*! microsoft removed rareware's feature of it from their homepage when they took over. So no one can look it up anymore. It has never been seen in prototype or ROM form outside of Twycross. But the game engine and design was a big influence on the BattleToads and even the Killer Instinct series (combos). Rare is often accused of copying the gameplay style of TMNT. But they had already explored this style before then. But they did apply anamorphic characters to the style after right after the success of TMNT.
Rare (formally known as Ultimate Play the Game) is a wealth of such games. They often dealt with other companies, sharing internally designed games that the public has never seen. For instance, Solar Jetman was designed simultaneously for 3 publishers, for NES, Spectrum, C64 and Amiga systems. The source code (as well as all the intellectual property rights) for the three unpublished versions is known to be in the hands of Microsoft.

I can't remember the name and @$%^&*! microsoft removed rareware's feature of it from their homepage when they took over. So no one can look it up anymore.

Try this:*/

Wrestlerage! That's the name. They started designing it for the SNES before it was launched. Shown to many publishers but none of them bought it (very few publishers were early adopters of the SNES). The Waybackmachine doesn't have the full feature :( But they still have the name and short description.

From my To-Do list: PC Games That Weren't (there's also links to sites listing Amiga and C64 games of similar status)
I think this is something in the direction of what you wanted?

There's also the prototype attribute and cancelled tag.
So all we'd need to do anymore is to just provide links to games the others were influenced by and/or the games they share significant similarities with (this was already suggested in some other thread).

While a majority of these games eventually turnup as prototypes, some are not playable in any form (yet). They have titles, a developing company year they were canceled, a description (must be required for this type of game), authors (almost always), game type, languages, and sometimes concept art, boxes, screenshots, instruction manuals, posters, ads (very often).

But, to avoid 'inflated numbers' i don't think they should be counted in the data. adding them with a cancelled tag would count them. If we aren't gonna have an of system, then we could have a 'not counted' flag for each game. This could be used for all prototypes. Or, a cancelled flag. games could have cancelled and prototype flags which would be nice for the upcoming search filters.

These games definitively need to be added to UVL.
I agree on adding the canceled flag beside prototype (despite I would like to know the real difference between these two).

We should have some strict rule about accepting this kind of games too.
In my long career of "wanna be game programmer" I have started at least a dozen of games that could be considered canceled. They have "some" of the required fields.
We need to stop them before it's too late! :-)

(despite I would like to know the real difference between these two).

So obviously the difference is that both were cancelled, prototype just says there's at least some version "leaked" to the public.

We should have some strict rule about accepting this kind of games too.

Games developed by actual companies or the ones that gathered a noticeable following.

[[quote:These games definitively need to be added to UVL.
I agree on adding the canceled flag beside prototype (despite I would like to know the real difference between these two).
We should have some strict rule about accepting this kind of games too.)]]

The difference:
Prototypes are proven to currently exist in the physical realm.
Cancelled games are proven to have once existed in the physical realm, but their current status is unknown.

Suggested Requirements for 'proving' then entering a canceled game:
All requirements must be consistent with other known facts. It is not unheard of for programmers (and marketing departments) to exaggerate a game's progress. Be skeptical.
A description traceable to a 1st hand source (internal documents, author's comments, other 1st hand witness). No canceled game may exist in the database without a description.
Additional 1st hand evidence in physical or digital form (screenshot, code fragments, labeled disks, internal documents, a box, an instruction booklet, cartridge art, photo of it being played, something)
A witness that saw the game being played, or played it themselves (not the author of the game). Game is/was playable in the sense that it was runnable and goals could be accomplished in it.
It is not a 'previous version' of a later game (these can be described in the existing game's entry)
Trustworthy 2nd hand testimony that it influenced an author that went on to create one or more works effected by this influence.

Trustworthy 2nd hand testimony of all of the above.

3 UVL editors agree the evidence of all of the above and that the game should be entered.

re: re:
Suggested Requirements for 'proving' then entering a canceled game: *snip*

Quite tedious to accomplish.

For me it's enough the game was in development, was announced as such, and later was canceled (quietly or not). Usually such cancellations appear in news media, but some older games might not have such except in printed media if even there. And we have those "games that never were" lists that usually collect quite a large amount of information about such projects, which can be used as a reference, especially if they have links or references to news articles that announced them.

re: re: re:
Quite tedious to accomplish.

In a way, editors of UVL are historians. In very specific ways the information we collect comes close to adhering to the Historical method
When = Year, Where = Publisher/Developer, Whom = Authors/source links for articles, From = Tags (source language, series, tie-in related), Original Form = Links to early versions/discussion of development in main description, Evidential value = Peer review of up to 3620 users (currently)

Canceled games are a foothold for negationism. Additionally, they could simply clog UVL with games that where never more than a title. Andrea mentioned the games he started. I myself have started, even finished a few, that were never 'publicly available' or of quality fitting to be pirated. I don't think UVL needs to list my text only space invaders clone/typing tool (Type Invaders), or my poorly written unfinished text adventure (Text Adventure), or my unfinished experiment in a topographyless mapping engine, or my unfinished Dragon Warrior clone (QGame). If I want these to be known on UVL, they are best discussed in these forums or in the main description of some future game that includes them as extras and is actually published or pirated.

Just because a game is announced, discussed and screenshots are seen, doesn't make it real. Mattel had screenshots for 'upcoming Intellivision IV games' and actually demonstrated 'prototype cartridge demos' to developers. But the Intellivision IV existed only on paper a there was never any silicon or code produced for it. They were actually using an ordinary Intellivision and showing a slick graphics demo. One of the screens from this demo was actually used in Masters of the Universe and no one noticed. This happens a lot.