In the dying days of the Nintendo Entertainment System, well into the early 1990s, Taito had plans to bring arcade game Hit The Ice to the console with some pretty substantial additions. It never made it, but that wasn’t for lack of effort; the game was actually completed, just never released.
As gaming historian Frank Cifaldi notes, among the terabytes of data comprising the Nintendo “gigaleak” is the finished, signed-off NES port of Hit the Ice. It’s not the first time we’ve seen the game on the console, as a prototype version leaked a little while ago, but it’s still really interesting to see a game’s development finish up, get approved for release and then...just never happen.
It’s not hard seeing why. By the time Hit The Ice was ready for the NES it was 1993, and that was well into the SNES generation, a platform Taito would eventually port the game to instead (along with the Genesis, Game Boy and TurboGrafx).
What’s important about this, though, is that while the original arcade release was a sports game, and those later ports were also sports games, the NES version had RPG elements added to it in a “Quest Mode” that let you wander around town, chatting with residents.
Shame that got canned! I remember writing here a long time ago, before 2K’s MyCareer really took off and we got stuff like The Journey in FIFA, that sports needed more RPG-type stuff. To have got some in 1993 would have been cool!
If you want to read up on exactly this RPG content would have included, Cifaldi wrote about it a while ago on lostlevels.