Purple Yoshi Tech Demo (lost Game Boy Advance tech demo; existence unconfirmed; 2000)

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Purple yoshi tech demo.jpeg

The screenshot of the tech demo.

Status: Existence Unconfirmed

In August 2000 an image featuring a notably off-model Yoshi the Dinosaur was posted on IGN's website. At least resembling a screenshot from a longer tech demo, presumably for the then-upcoming Game Boy Advance, it shows a 3D rendering of the popular Nintendo mascot as bright purple, with a red crest and wearing dark green sneakers - a striking departure from the canonical apple-green dino with an orange crest and sneakers. He is seen from a third-person forward perspective, moving along a forest path. Blue and red spider-like creatures - apparently also new designs - face him as he stretches his tongue out at one, ready to capture or eat it. A target on that creature along with a prominent counter and other graphics add to the impression of gameplay in progress.

The Search[edit | edit source]

In 2014 Lost Media YouTuber LSuperSonicQ discovered the screenshot on a Spaceworld 2000 image website and uploaded it onto his blog.[1] On further investigation in 2018 he also found it on an Ars Technica forum page from August 14th, 2000, along with a Lost Levels forum page of similar vintage providing links to two separate sources for the image.[2]

The first link led to a blogpost on a now-defunct fansite, Super Mario 128 Central, which in turn had sourced the image from the IGN Boards fan forums. A forum user named SolarGamer, citing a 'Japanese source', had posted the image there along with the following statement:

"That is right! There is finally a high quality Game Boy Advance screenshot...And as you can see it is of Yoshi!! These graphics look astounding. Look at how crisp and clear the image is. Some might say that this rivals the N64. While there is no word on what exactly this game is, it looks a little like "Yoshi's Safari" for the SNES. If this is only a first generation game, just imagine what the GBA can do later in it's life. I am getting more and more excited on what the GBA is capable of, and if things keep going this well, I might have a new favorite system in my hands. One can only hope this is a foreshadow of how good the "Nintendo Dolphin" will be. With a little bit of luck Nintendo could get back its place at #1. Hurry up Nintendo! It looks like you have another winner in your hands!"[3]

According to the Super Mario 128 Central post, they had subsequently reached out to SolarGamer but s/he had proved unable to provide any further useful information.

The second link in the Lost Levels post led to another archived IGN Boards forum page, where a pixelated version of the image had been used to lure users into signing up for the Handheld Boards in order to see the clear version. The blurb on the signup page likewise cited it as having been 'sent to us from a Japanese correspondent' and suggested that it matched the GBA's resolution thus might be from a demo for an upcoming GBA game, or at least designed to gauge interest in producing one. Unfortunately the Handheld Boards forum thread containing the clear image was not archived, and it is unknown what if any additional context it provided.[4] Given the tone of the reposts that must have been sourced from it, the reveal post could not have been much more specific than the teaser, although it does at least seem to have confirmed the image was not entirely fake.

Status[edit | edit source]

The ultimate source of the purple Yoshi image has never surfaced, making it impossible to confirm whether it was actually part of a longer demo. In any case, the Game Boy Advance turned out not to be capable of rendering 3D graphics at the resolution seen in the image, either at launch or in subsequent upgrades.[5]

Despite the overtly promotional tone and exclusivity of both IGN image posts, no further info was ever provided by Nintendo or anyone affiliated. On balance it seems most likely that the image was either lifted from a very preliminary tech demo or mocked up by someone within the Nintendo PR offices to encourage fan speculation around the GBA's release, and never intended to reflect an actually upcoming game.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

LSuperSonicQ's video on the subject.

See Also[edit | edit source]

External Links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]