Last year the infamous prototype for Pokémon Gold & Silver from the 1997 Spaceworld show in Japan was leaked, and along with it came a well of knowledge about the development process of the second entry in the iconic monster trading & battle franchise. Here we are just over 6 months later and something even more miraculous & amazing has popped up thanks to the wonderful crew over at Helix Chamber. While they don’t give too many details on the acquisition or what time frame in development this may have come from (Mew is present so it might have been pretty far along), they have sourced a Prototype of the original Pocket Monsters game as it was during development and what they’ve found inside can only be described as incredible from the viewpoint of a longtime fan of the series.
Starting off, the prototype contains the original logos for both Pocket Monsters and, as it was originally titled, Capsule Monsters. Neither of these logos is particularly new, as we’ve seen them on promotional and development material that has made its way into the public over the years. It is worth noting that in the Pocket Monsters logo, that does appear to be an early version of the Pokémon we know as Rhydon, which has long been known as one of the first monsters designed for the games. I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love the Capsule Monsters logo design, maybe not enough to wish that the game had retained that name but it’s definitely a really cool look at what could have been.
Of course, in addition to the logos and early assets in the games, we’re bound to find a ton of unused Pokémon designs themselves hidden within. What is really remarkable about this isn’t exactly the early designs (some of which we had already seen in the Satoshi Tajiri manga) but the way they’re all numbered and ordered. The Helix Chamber page detailing this prototype includes a pretty interesting breakdown of where the now infamous MISSINGNO. originated from in the Pokémon family tree. They detail the back sprites (used in battle) for a number of removed designs which would have taken up the spots that MISSINGNO. tries to pull its data from when spawned in the original games. In addition to the Pokémon designs that were discovered, a wealth of other unused graphics and original maps were present in the prototype as well.
I don’t want to spoil all of the information about this prototype as there’s a lot to take in, and I also believe the team at Helix Chamber has done such a fantastic job with their discovery that I think you should go check it out there for yourself (I could spend an entire day reading through their archive). This may not be a super early prototype for the game, but the fact that we can see this kind of data & information spring up well more than 20 years after its original creation is amazing. I can’t wait to see what’s uncovered next because if this was able to be located, I’m sure there’s even more treasure to be found.