Sound Fantasy (Cancelled and Found SNES Game; 1993)

Sound Factory at Nintendo Space World 1993 promo, featuring early prototype versions of Beat Hopper, Pix Quartet, and Star Fly (footage begins at 0:43).

Sound Fantasy (known as Sound Factory during production) is a cancelled music video game intended to be released in 1992 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and its Japanese counterpart, the Super Famicom. The game was designed by interactive media artist Toshio Iwai in the early 1990s and borrowed concepts from the installation art piece Music Insects; a piece he created during his time as an Artist in Residence at the San Francisco Exploratorium. However, this project was never picked up by Nintendo for reasons unknown.

Sound Fantasy was to have featured four games. These included Pix Quartet, Beat Hopper, Star Fly, and Ice Sweeper. Pix Quartet is a Qix-style game where the objective is to paint a picture of a note and race across it to create music. Beat Hopper is said to be a Q-Bert type of game. Star Fly involved aligning stars in the sky to create music. Lastly, Ice Sweeper is a game resembling Arkanoid and had the player controlling paddles to knock a bug around and pop musical spheres in the stage.

The game was going to be packaged with the SNES mouse and be available in a larger box, similar to Mario Paint and Earthbound. Ultimately, the game was cancelled due to lack of popularity among music games at the time. Mario Paint was released in 1992 and was chosen to be the game that introduced the SNES mouse to the public. Sound Fantasy made an appearance at Nintendo Space World 1993 and was then quietly cancelled. The concept was later picked up by Maxis and converted into SimTunes in 1996, with many of Sound Fantasy’s gameplay elements implemented.

There exists two prototypes of Sound Fantasy: an earlier build from when it was called Sound Factory and a later build with the final title. It is not clear how much of the game was finished at the time of its cancellation, but magazine articles suggest that the game was completed and ready to release. No ROMs have been dumped and there is no word on the status of the prototypes.

The box art and instruction manual were allegedly made available in an exhibit at the Harajuku Station in Tokyo, Japan in April 2005 to celebrate the release of Iwai’s latest creation Electroplankton. It's said that the game itself was not playable. However, this information is unsourced.

Sound Fantasy offscreen gameplay at unknown event, featuring Beat Hopper and Ice Sweeper in near-final/final form, just prior to intended release.
5 minutes of gameplay from earlier build.
3 minutes of gameplay from the later build.
14 minutes of gameplay from the final build.

Screenshots and images

UPDATE 09 Apr 2015: The Sound Factory/Sound Fantasy prototype SNES ROM has been dumped and released! Big thanks to both the original dumper and to KiiroBomber, who is responsible for bringing the ROM to the public! A download link can be found here.


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