10 lost video games that we’re not even sure we ever existed

Since video games are a relatively younger medium than other types of entertainment, there aren’t as many lost video games as there are lost books, TV shows, and movies. Even if a game has been lost, there is usually a lot of screenshots, evidence, and documentation to prove that it existed.

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But, there are “lost” games that have left only a few pieces of evidence. With these examples, it’s hard to tell if these games actually existed. Regardless, there is usually at least some truth to these obscure titles.

ten Polybius

Although there are many popular and scary urban legends video games, such as Minecraft‘s Herobrine, the most famous is the mysterious arcade game, Polybius. According to Eurogamer, Polybius was supposed to be a 1981 arcade machine placed in arcades in Portland, Oregon and created by an unknown company called “Sinneslöschen” (which some versions of the story suggest was a secret affiliate of Atari). The article also suggests that the game was really engaging and that players got sick and died, with some even believing that the government tried to brainwash people.

For decades, this game has left a huge imprint on popular culture and has had references included in popular shows, like The simpsons and Loki. While the game is simply an urban legend, Atari had a “secret” subsidiary called “Kee Games,” which was designed to sell counterfeit Atari games (via Spectrum). Also, some video games made gamers sick, but that was mainly because the medium was new at the time.

9 Cannon hunting

A screenshot of the gameplay from the Atari 2600 version of Artillery Duel.

Urban legends, like Polybius and other lost games from the ’80s, are particularly credible because Atari and many other companies were producing so many games at the time that it caused a recession in the industry. With so many titles being produced at such a rapid pace, it’s not hard to imagine that some games got lost.

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One of those maybe lost games is the 8 bit game, Cannon hunt. According to the site atarimanie, which is a large database for Atari games, Cannon hunting was published in 1982 by the company “Micro Magic Software” and was written in the BASIC programming language. No other information or evidence exists for this game, but some believe it could be an imitation of Artillery duel.


8 Motocross type game by David Crane

A section of the boxart for the Atari 2600 Motocross game

In the early 1980s, Activision was the leading third-party developer of the Atari 2600 games. Much of this was due to the hard work of renowned programmer David Crane, who co-founded the company after leaving Atari and creating one of the world’s most successful games. emblematic of the time: Trap!. While working at Activision, Crane created a motorcycle game that he didn’t release because it didn’t meet his standards.

But, given that many game publishers at the time were just pirating games and some unreleased games were later released by these pirate companies, it’s possible that games like the Atari 2600 Motocross could be a modified version of Crane’s game.

seven City warriors

Axel and Blaze fight Mr. X's minions in Streets of Rage 2

Today Windows and Mac computers dominate the market, but in the 1980s the Commodore 64 (C64) was the number one computer in the United States. Since the computer was more accessible to the general public than other competitors, it had a large selection of games to choose from, and many of those games were lost over time.

Because of this, websites like gamesthatwerent.com end up having large sections dedicated to finding lost games for the C64. One of the entrances on this site is dedicated to a game for C64 entitled City warriors, which was supposed to be announced on page 39 of the Complete Guide to the C64. Although the title suggests it may have been a beat-em-up like Streets of rage, it’s hard to say because of the lack of information.

6 Cosmic

A screenshot of the gameplay of the game Atari 2600 Cosmic Ark.

One of the most significant moments in video game history was the 1983 video game crash, which nearly destroyed the industry before it could really get started. Although there were several causes for this event, one of the main reasons was the oversaturated market which was filled with too many shoddy and pirated games. For every classic Atari 2600 game, at least a few pirated knockoffs were created afterwards.

For example, programmer Rob Fulop, who is the creator of the award-winning program Demon attack, created a game called Cosmic Ark, which also had several imitations. One of these copies, Cosmic, is partly lost. The version created by the company “Choplifter / Space Harrier”, which was released in Thailand, has been found, but the version created by the company “SpaceVision”, which is said to have been released in Australia, is still lost.

5 Yeah yeah Beebiss I

The original list of "Yeah yeah Beebiss I".

In a June 1989 issue of the magazine Video games and computer entertainment, one of the mail order video game service listings, “Play It Again”, was a game called Yeah yeah Beebiss I. Besides the weird name, the game has also been oddly placed in the wrong place in alphabetical order. For the next few months, the game remained on the list. Another mail order service, “Funco,” also listed a short title “Yeah Beebiss I” for months.

Some people have suggested that the listing may be a translation error for games like the Famicom platformer. Rai Rai Kyonshis: baby Kyonshi no Amida Daibouken from Bandai Family trainer series. But, when former staff of these mail order services were interviewed, they said it was likely a bogus list used to protect the service from copying.

4 Crazy

A screenshot of the gameplay from the Commodore 64 Zybex game that Adam Gilmore worked on.

Another game that may not exist for the Commodore 64 is Crazy, which currently only exists on the Internet as a series of C64 SID audio files. These audio files can be listened to on the YouTube channel “SID channel unpic“, which is a channel dedicated to sharing C64 soundtracks.

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The only thing known about these files is that famous game music composer Adam Gilmore created them. But, when asked about it, he said he had no recollection of where they came from. We don’t know if Crazy was never released or even if it was a game.

3 Cockpit 737

The first listing with 737 Cockpit on it that says the game is for the ZX81.

While the Commodore 64 reigned supreme in the United States, the ZX81 and ZX Spectrum were Britain’s best personal computers. Like the C64, these computers marked a turning point in history where average consumers started having their own computers (which is why it’s no surprise that it lost games as well).

In two 1982 issues of Your computer magazine, listed Machinecraft Ltd Cockpit 737 as one of the games they produced for the ZX81 and ZX Spectrum. But, no other information or proof of this game was found. Although the listings only have the required memory and the price of the game, the title suggests that the game, if it exists, is a flight simulator.

2 CITY 2000 Paris

A screenshot of DOS CITY 2000 gameplay.

City in difficulty Year 2000, which is generally simplified to CITY 2000, is an excellent point-and-click DOS FMV adventure game in which the player controls the American secret agent Jon Daring as he tries to stop a drug lord named S. Rooter from using a virus to get hold of him from England. Between the FMV cutscenes, the player travels to famous places in London and solves puzzles. Uniquely, the game uses real photos of London during the point-and-click segments.

While the game can be found online relatively easily, the supposed sequel, CITY 2000 Paris, is less fortunate. The sequel is teased on the box of CITY 2000, and the CD-ROM in print The Gale Group catalog mentions that the game was released in 1994 and was entirely FMV. There are even mentions by forum users that the game was released for the 3DO console, but no trace of the game in any form was found.

1 Flash game

A screenshot of Blitz gameplay on the Commodore VIC-20.

Another possible lost game for the Commodore 64 is Blitz game. According to the site games that were and other reports, the game was created by a group of Hungarian individuals and could have been a clone of the game Commodore VIC-20 and C64 Blitz.

Similar to Crazy, the main thing known from the game is the composer, who is the famous C64 musician Guy Shavitt. But, Shavitt has not revealed any new information on this mystery.

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