Nintendo enthusiasts started poring through a huge Nintendo leak in July. Tons of files were dumped onto the internet. Called the “Gigaleak,” the files held source code and other assets for games like Super Mario Kart, Yoshi’s Island, and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Hackers and data miners have found more file dumps since then, too. An anonymous user dropped a bunch of Game Boy files online in September, reportedly holding ROMs for games on the Game Boy and Game Boy Color.
That includes unreleased games, like Pokémon Picross, which was canceled in 1999, according to Pokémon YouTuber Lewtwo. And then there’s Ubisoft’s John Madden Football — a port of Electronic Arts’ John Madden Football ’93 that was supposed to be released on the Nintendo Entertainment System and Game Boy. Welcome to Ubisoft’s alternate universe.
Ubisoft announced the game, which was developed by NMS Software, in 1993. It said at the time that the 8-bit ports of Madden would be available by Christmas of that year, but the games were never released. Game Informer magazine previewed the title in 1993, according to The Video Game History Foundation, but with a “non-interactive demo.” Playable prototypes had never been discovered for John Madden Football, until now.
Ryan Langley, a game designer and curator on Nintendo Metro, posted screenshots from the game Tuesday on Twitter. He also shared a GIF with Sports Grind Entertainment, showcasing some scenes from the Game Boy port.
Langley told Sports Grind Entertainment that the John Madden Football ROM is playable if you can get to it, but said it’s “just a bit baffling and hard to play” — perhaps a reason why the game was never released. “The Madden ROM was in a ‘POOL’ folder, which means (at the time) it was possibly in a ‘waiting’ space to go and be tested, but it wasn’t,” Langley said. “It was never given a cart code.”
Ubisoft has not responded to Sports Grind Entertainment’s request for more information.
Game enthusiasts are currently combing through John Madden Football for Game Boy to note differences between it and the Electronic Arts-published games. Madden NFL is one of the longest-running sports video game series, one that changed how players viewed the genre. That’s partly due to Electronic Arts, which has published the franchise since the beginning, when John Madden Football debuted in 1988 on Apple II. The series became an annual franchise starting in 1990 (with a new version of John Madden Football), when it launched on consoles. (The Madden NFL series got an official NFL license in 1993.)
If you’re counting, that means there would have been three different versions of John Madden Football, all with the same name, if Ubisoft’s Game Boy port had gotten published.
Massive ‘Marvel’s Avengers’ patch fixes over 1,000 bugs
Square Enix has rolled out a huge update for Marvel’s Avengers that focus on fixing issues affecting the game on consoles and PC. It’s the title’s first major update since it launched earlier this month, and it’s meant to address over a thousand bugs that players had come across over the past two weeks. The lengthy changelog includes fixes for serious issues that prevent progression, as well as small graphical and animation tweaks.
The developer officially unveiled the game in mid—2019, two years after it signed a multi-year development deal with Marvel. It was supposed to launch the title on May 15th, but the company pushed back its release for fine-tuning ad polishing. Square Enix’s take on Marvel’s Avengers is an action role-playing brawler set in the team’s second HQ in San Francisco with single-player, multiplayer and online co-op modes. Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Black Widow and Ms. Marvel make up the initial set of playable characters, with Kate Bishop, Clint Barton and Spider-Man joining them in the future.
Epic says Apple ‘cherry picked’ info about Fortnite’s popularity in new filing
In the ongoing Epic Games vs. Apple saga, Epic says in a new legal filing that Apple made incorrect statements in its own legal filing earlier this week, asserting that Apple “cherry picked” Google search results about the popularity of Epic’s Fortnite game.
Apple had suggested that Epic started the legal fight over Fortnite in the App Store as a publicity stunt, and that Fortnite had already started to decline in popularity:
“For reasons having nothing to do with Epic’s claims against Apple, Fortnite’s popularity is on the wane. By July 2020, interest in Fortnite had decreased by nearly 70% as compared to October 2019. This lawsuit (and the front-page headlines it has generated) appears to be part of a marketing campaign designed to reinvigorate interest in Fortnite.”
Apple kicked Fortnite off the App Store in August over an in-app payment system, which is a violation of App Store rules. Epic won a temporary restraining order against Apple prohibiting the iPhone maker from retaliating against Epic by terminating the developer account used to support the company’s Unreal Engine. But the judge decided in the same ruling that Apple is not required to bring Fortnite back to the App Store.
In its latest filing (embedded below if you’re dying to check out the latest), Epic says Apple’s statement of declining interest in Fortnite is untrue, citing its own user engagement data. “Over the period of time that Apple cherry-picked for its Google search volume comparison (between October 2019 and July 2020), the number of daily active users on Fortnite actually increased by more than 39%,” the filing states.
Apple did not immediately return a request for comment Saturday.
A full court hearing is scheduled for September 28th.
Epic rejects Apple claims that ‘Fortnite’ on iOS was dying
The company further objected to Apple’s view that its in-app purchasing was essential to the App Store, noting that purchases for real-world products (like Amazon and Uber) didn’t have to use the same system. It refused Apple’s assertion that Epic “created the current situation,” maintaining that it was simply exercising its Supreme Court-backed power to reject “anti-competitive contractual conditions.”
There’s no guarantee the court will see things Epic’s way and force Apple to restore Fortnite until there’s a verdict in the lawsuit. However, the player numbers not only change the story, but give an idea as to how well Fortnite was faring on iOS. Epic appears to have made its risky move despite a surge of iOS gamers, not to spark a surge. Mind you, that also makes this more of a gamble. The longer Fortnite stays off the App Store, the greater the chance Epic loses that earlier momentum and the money that came with it.
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