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#31
Re: Attempts to locate Dragon Hopper?
Posted on: 2014/5/10 6:59
Newbie
Joined 2010/5/17
3 Posts
Long Time User (9 Years)
Dragon Hopper is one of my most wanted prototypes. I found the website of the guy who did both the music and programming on the game. He also worked on all the Paper Mario titles and is still employed with Nintendo. He didn't have much to say publicly about it. I do believe Nintendo still has the assets to the game archived, as we have seen with US Earthbound for NES being the basis for the japanese GBA port (censorship is present, and such). It's the only VB prototype that I find remotely interesting. That being said, if we could have Nintendo legally port/remake it for the 3DS (which would be a suitable platform to adapt it) that would be a lot more viable. With games like The Diamond Trade of London for DS being funded and officially licensed through Kickstarter, I don't see how it's not possible with Dragon Hopper.

As far as dumping; as someone who owns prototypes, I would rather realize the value of the item in my lifetime than never. In that case I'd prefer a donation in return for dumping the games in question so both parties are happy. I find the idea of possessing a one-of-a-kind item of that magnitude or value, that bears a sense of mortality to be unsettling. And I want to see them shared because I like people's enthusiasm. The truth however is that most collectors tend to lose interest at some point when the novelty wears off and they start focusing on collecting what they enjoy than just to collect for collecting's sake. Some lose interest in games entirely and move on. With the unpredictable way technology evolves and changes, some of what we considered standard may change so significantly that many older devices including consoles will end up difficult to replace/repair and thus obsolete. So thinking something like Dragon Hopper could remain forever undumped is a bit unrealistic.

To add to that, I'm apathetic about legality when it comes to these dilemmas. Yuji Naka was more enamored with the idea that Sonic 2's prototypes have survived, as he has no copy himself of either that or the original Sonic 1 demo that people are after. I think it is in some sense 'silent consent'. In some countries it would even be considered legal without question.
Edited by Dr. Jeckidy on 2014/5/10 7:10
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#32
Re: Attempts to locate Dragon Hopper?
Posted on: 2014/5/14 20:51
VUE(xpert)
Joined 2005/9/17
USA
312 Posts
Long Time User (14 Years)
Quote:

Dr. Jeckidy wrote:
As far as dumping; as someone who owns prototypes, I would rather realize the value of the item in my lifetime than never. In that case I'd prefer a donation in return for dumping the games in question so both parties are happy.


There have been a number of protos for different systems that have been dumped after a community donation. I'm 100% confident that if someone would admit to having Dragon Hopper or Zero Racers or *ANY* lost VB game, the community here would be willing to compensate them for a dump so that we can all play the game. If there are 50 of us in for $100 each (a bit more than the cost of a repro from Uncle Tusk), that's $5k. Heck with a little bit of news coverage we might be able to go beyond that, too. That's low for an unreleased VB prototype, but we're a small community. The cart would still have value on its own -- look at The Big 4 -- they're all dumped, but they're still several hundred or thousand dollars a piece.

The big problem seems to be that, if anyone *does* have any unknown VB protos, they're not talking about them; they're keeping them secret or they just don't care. To each their own, but dang do I hope someone comes forward with one of those protos one of these days...
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#33
Re: Attempts to locate Dragon Hopper?
Posted on: 2014/5/15 11:17
Nintendoid!
Joined 2013/1/22
USA
198 Posts
Long Time User (7 Years)
Quote:

Dr. Jeckidy wrote:
Dragon Hopper is one of my most wanted prototypes. I found the website of the guy who did both the music and programming on the game. He also worked on all the Paper Mario titles and is still employed with Nintendo. He didn't have much to say publicly about it. I do believe Nintendo still has the assets to the game archived, as we have seen with US Earthbound for NES being the basis for the japanese GBA port (censorship is present, and such). It's the only VB prototype that I find remotely interesting. That being said, if we could have Nintendo legally port/remake it for the 3DS (which would be a suitable platform to adapt it) that would be a lot more viable. With games like The Diamond Trade of London for DS being funded and officially licensed through Kickstarter, I don't see how it's not possible with Dragon Hopper.
How hard would it be to convert it back to VB, from a 3DS copy (assuming at least the ROM would exist)? I've never played a 3DS --- it's my understanding that it uses a "line filter" to create the parallax; therefore it outputs only one combined screen. Shouldn't be too hard to convert it back into two screens. Have no idea how similar the microprocessors are...

Quote:
As far as dumping; as someone who owns prototypes, I would rather realize the value of the item in my lifetime than never. In that case I'd prefer a donation in return for dumping the games in question so both parties are happy. I find the idea of possessing a one-of-a-kind item of that magnitude or value, that bears a sense of mortality to be unsettling. And I want to see them shared because I like people's enthusiasm. The truth however is that most collectors tend to lose interest at some point when the novelty wears off and they start focusing on collecting what they enjoy than just to collect for collecting's sake. Some lose interest in games entirely and move on. With the unpredictable way technology evolves and changes, some of what we considered standard may change so significantly that many older devices including consoles will end up difficult to replace/repair and thus obsolete. So thinking something like Dragon Hopper could remain forever undumped is a bit unrealistic.

To add to that, I'm apathetic about legality when it comes to these dilemmas. Yuji Naka was more enamored with the idea that Sonic 2's prototypes have survived, as he has no copy himself of either that or the original Sonic 1 demo that people are after. I think it is in some sense 'silent consent'. In some countries it would even be considered legal without question.
Okay, by now the novelty HAS to have worn off. Surely someone reading this is or can CONNECT with such an owner --- I'm not in a position to fork over thousands, but I could come up with a hundred or two. Even if I would have to sign an agreement to never disclose/release the code or cart.

I'm grateful to have an actual cart of "Bound High" --- but when I view the 27-second "E3" video from 1996 it would be nice to also play the other featured proto.
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#34
Re: Attempts to locate Dragon Hopper?
Posted on: 2014/5/15 11:27
Nintendoid!
Joined 2013/1/22
USA
198 Posts
Long Time User (7 Years)
Quote:

jrronimo wrote:

There have been a number of protos for different systems that have been dumped after a community donation. I'm 100% confident that if someone would admit to having Dragon Hopper or Zero Racers or *ANY* lost VB game, the community here would be willing to compensate them for a dump so that we can all play the game. If there are 50 of us in for $100 each (a bit more than the cost of a repro from Uncle Tusk), that's $5k. Heck with a little bit of news coverage we might be able to go beyond that, too. That's low for an unreleased VB prototype, but we're a small community. The cart would still have value on its own -- look at The Big 4 -- they're all dumped, but they're still several hundred or thousand dollars a piece.

The big problem seems to be that, if anyone *does* have any unknown VB protos, they're not talking about them; they're keeping them secret or they just don't care. To each their own, but dang do I hope someone comes forward with one of those protos one of these days...


You're absolutely right. There really is only one place on the Internet where VB enthusiasts congregate --- so if anyone HAS a prototype, it's most likely he (or someone he knows) is reading this. Coming up on 20 years after the discontinuation, it seems reasonable to get cash instead of a faded "one-up-ownership" thing.

Still seems like two ways to go:

1. Announce the release of the ROM for donors, everyone here could easily come up with a reasonable price; future dispensations would be available but for the same price as the donors paid.

2. Agree to release the ROM, but privately, a select group combines money for a single purchase, but signs a "non-disclosure" agreement. Perhaps the ROM could be serialized, so any public release can easily be traced to one person.


Even if there is such a thing as "hoarding" still happening, what would be wrong with #2? The owner could have his cake and eat it too!!!
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#35
Re: Attempts to locate Dragon Hopper?
Posted on: 2014/5/16 1:45
Nintendoid!
Joined 2013/3/25
218 Posts
Long Time User (7 Years)
Virtual Console WAD files for the original Wii contain the untouched ROM and an emulator, basically. There's good odds any 3DS VC titles are done up like this as well. All you'd have to do is recover the WAD file via a hacked system and extract the ROM file from it.

Thing is though, Nintendo hasn't even released a Virtual Boy VC title yet. If they were to, such titles might be released as 3D Classics (or WiiWare / DSiWare going by old terminology), where the odds of the original ROM being retained are low.
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#36
Re: Attempts to locate Dragon Hopper?
Posted on: 2014/5/16 3:22
VB Gamer
Joined 2014/2/14
27 Posts
Long Time User (6 Years)
Quote:

vb-fan wrote:

2. Agree to release the ROM, but privately, a select group combines money for a single purchase, but signs a "non-disclosure" agreement.


There's a good chance that this has already happened, and of course none of us would be the wiser, lest the NDA be breached. If this hasn't happened yet and it hasn't been dumped, then those who do have this prototype are essentially on a time limit. As has been stated before, the data on this cart isn't going to last forever, and hopefully these people realize it before its too late and its lost forever.
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#37
Re: Attempts to locate Dragon Hopper?
Posted on: 2014/5/16 4:55
Newbie
Joined 2014/4/17
USA
6 Posts
Long Time User (5 Years)
I guess I don't really see the point of buying something special and rare, and not saying anything to anyone about having such an item. What's the fun in it if you can't hold it over people's heads?

If we had an "in" with Nintendo, or at least knew the name of an individual who might know what happens to such prototype carts, I think we could at least get an answer as to whether or not it would still exist (and if not, we could at least stop wasting our time looking for it). SOMEBODY over in Nintendo of Japan or America must know what happens to these unreleased, canceled games. Even the developers must have an idea of what happens to a completed game that had the carpet pulled out from under it.

How exactly did we end up with Bound High? Wasn't the source in the developer's portfolio or something and he just handed it out after realizing how much people wanted to play it? I know that in this case a developer working for Nintendo might not have a copy of the source laying around, but at least we could be pointed in the right direction...
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#38
Re: Attempts to locate Dragon Hopper?
Posted on: 2014/5/16 9:23
VB Gamer
Joined 2014/2/14
27 Posts
Long Time User (6 Years)
Honestly, I think our best bet is to find out who worked for Nintendo Power 1. when the game was previewed and who did said preview 2. when the original office closed. Since it is confirmed that they had a copy of Dragon Hopper (and Zero Racers) to do the preview, this is really the only strong lead that could go somewhere. I highly doubt we would get any solid info from the big N themselves.

On a related note, someone could ask the guys with Mega64 if they can find any info, as apparently they now have some relationship with Nintendo as shown in the E3 announcement video. Or if anyone will be present at E3, ask Treehouse themselves, as they would most likely have had some hand in the localization of Dragon Hopper as they pretty much handled every localization for Nintendo back then.
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#39
Re: Attempts to locate Dragon Hopper?
Posted on: 2014/5/16 21:01
Nintendoid!
Joined 2013/3/25
218 Posts
Long Time User (7 Years)
Considering how many unreleased games have been released to the public, including completely unknown games with no leads (Bio Force Ape) and even some Nintendo titles (Earth Bound, Starfox 2), I think it's simply a matter of time before more Virtual Boy titles surface. Of course, a little encouragement always helps, but so many unreleased games over the years have just up and surfaced online one day from a generous collector, out of the blue. Some have had donation drives but lots were dumped and spread publicly just from sheer interest from parties involved.
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#40
Re: Attempts to locate Dragon Hopper?
Posted on: 2014/5/17 3:10
Nintendoid!
Joined 2013/1/22
USA
198 Posts
Long Time User (7 Years)
Quote:

shiro_akechi wrote:

There's a good chance that this has already happened, and of course none of us would be the wiser, lest the NDA be breached.
So why can't more people be added to the "NDA"? Newcomers would be willing to pay the same as the original members, unless it's in the thousands. And they could join the "NDA".

Quote:
If this hasn't happened yet and it hasn't been dumped, then those who do have this prototype are essentially on a time limit. As has been stated before, the data on this cart isn't going to last forever, and hopefully these people realize it before its too late and its lost forever.
Well, it has been dumped --- that is, assuming someone really HAS a copy. People know how valuable the code is, and would never take a chance on it being lost. There are plenty of devices around capable of dumping (I just received my Retrode TODAY, now I have to make the vb adapter).

But all I've heard are rumors of "so-n-so or other has a copy". Sometimes the rumors are true --- I knew someone who knew someone who had a copy of "Faceball", and that is the exact same actual cart the people here at PlanetVB acquired. Given that so many Dragonhoppers existed (the E3 video on Youtube linked at PlanetVB had at least six actual carts), it is possible one got loose. It's also possible N kept a tight control on every last cart.

I'll believe that a private person has a cart, when I see the ROM file...

I like your thoughts on trying to find a copy, or the source-code. "Bound High" was created from the source code, it's easily the best VB game so far. But perhaps someone can do a home-brew similar to "Zero Racers"...
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