The hits just keep on coming.
Or maybe they don’t — after all, if they’re never released, we have no way of knowing if they’d have ever become hits. Even then, one kind of gets an inkling (not to be confused with an Inkling, stars of a newer game series that is a bonafide hit) that some canceled titles were likely consigned to the dustbin of history for a good reason. In this case, however, it’s kind of hard to tell.
During the 90’s heyday of video board games (tabletop board games whose pace, rules, and outcomes were often dictated by video played alongside the players on a VHS tape), there was apparently an effort made by Beam Software to adapt the premise behind one such board game into a video game.
Titled NightMare in some regions (including the United States) and Atmosfear in others, the board game would prove popular enough to spawn a series which lasted until 2006 (at which time DVDs were being used in place of VHS tapes), which would explain why a look was given at expanding its reach into other mediums. But for whatever reason, the title was reportedly only mentioned (but never seen) in a few video game magazines in 1993 and 1994 before being canceled.
Recently, though, Hidden Palace has reported that an individual by the name “drx” rediscovered the game amidst a group of EPROMS he received a few years ago, and has now shared it for all the world to see. Have a look:
Instead of a board game, this version of NightMare/Atmosfear takes on the form of — what else? — a side-scrolling platformer. Tying the game into its namesake and helping it to stand out a little from the crowd is the inclusion of the Gatekeeper, the video character from the VHS tape whose presence saw him dictate the rules of the game — often unfairly. He pulls those same types of tricks here, so it’s up to the player to avoid his randomized wrath.
Hidden Palace goes into detail about their acquisition of the incomplete-but-playable game here, and if you’d like to check it out for yourself, go nuts. And if you do, what do you think: Wrongfully canceled, or rightfully trashed? Feel free to share what you thought of it in the comments below!