It isn’t every day that an unknown game that was in development potentially 20 years ago rears its head. Let alone one for the illusive yet widely loved Neo Geo. Yet that’s exactly what has happened this week.
So what exactly is this mysterious game that’s left the Retro world in a state of shock? Well given it’s for the Neo Geo, it shouldn’t surprise you to learn it’s a fighter. However, what may surprise you, is that even after seeing the game in action, we’re still none the wiser as to what it actually is, or even who was developing it.
In fact, with not even a title screen present, at this point all we literally have is the development board and some footage of the gameplay. All of which comes courtesy of Neo Geo forums member NeoTurfMasta, who struck gold when he discovered the unknown fighter via an auction on Yahoo Auctions Japan. Although despite the find, this unique one of a kind prototype did still cost him a whopping ¥69,887 (£451.39 / $638.95).
What’s more, despite paying more than the cost of a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, the nameless Neo Geo prototype board actually came in a non-working state. However, unlike the usual prototype boards, this one came with its own removable flash memory cards. As such, thanks to some clever analysis and tinkering, NeoTurfMasta was eventually able to get the game to play, in turn revealing some of its secrets.
Not content with just simply experiencing it himself though, NeoTurfMasta has also begun a process of trying to make this prototype accessible to everyone. And has done so by providing the exceptional development team at MAME, with the prototype fighter’s ROM files.
Here’s hoping that thanks to this discovery, we not only get the chance to play this lost retro title, but that we can hopefully learn more about the game’s origin. At this point even simply a name to go along with the gameplay would be nice. Either way, let’s celebrate the discovery of one more game for a classic retro system.