Someone has found a never-before-seen prototype of a Hyper Neo Geo 64 game, giving us our first look at development hardware used to create games for SNK’s failed mid-’90s arcade platform. This cool discovery was found sitting undisturbed in a field, under a collapsed tree.
The prototype game was Samurai Shodown 64, the first 3D fighting game developed by SNK. It was released in December 1997 for the then-new Hyper Neo Geo 64 arcade platform. This hardware was supposed to be the successor to the company’s popular Neo Geo Multi Video System (MVS) arcade platform. However, the Hyper Neo Geo 64 was a flop and died two years later, with only seven games released for it. To this day only one of the seven games, Fatal Fury: Wild Ambition, has been officially ported to home consoles.
As reported by Eurogamer, machine repair specialist Craig Weiss found a rare prototype of Samurai Shodown 64 in a field, under a fallen tree. He had found the field, owned by a woman in California, after he repaired an old pinball machine and asked about where the client had gotten the pinball game. The person told Weiss he bought it from a lady and the repair specialist headed out to her place to see if she had any other old pinball games or parts for sale. What he found instead was six pallets of SNK USA materials bought by her husband back in 2000 during an auction held by an ex-SNK employee. These pallets were just out in a field, sitting there for 20 years.
Inside one of them, Weiss found the Hyper Neo Geo 64 Samurai Shodown 64 prototype cart. He wasn’t sure what to make of it and ended up giving it to video game historian and collector Anthony Bacon. Bacon assessed the find and uploaded footage of the prototype to YouTube, where he shared more details about the game and the story of how he found it.
Oddly, this isn’t the first rare game found in a random field this year. Back in February, someone found an old, hard-to-find Sega arcade game out in a similar setting. So, if you live near a big field or a fallen tree, maybe go exploring. There’s at least a small chance you’ll find some rare, unreleased arcade game hidden out there.
You can read more about the game, the history behind it, and more via Eurogamer’s original story, which includes an interview with Bacon.