SimCopter 64 (found build of cancelled Nintendo 64 remake of PC game; 1997-1999)
Date found: 14 Nov 2022
Found by: Video Game History Foundation
SimCopter was a 1996 helicopter simulator game that was developed by Maxis and published by Electronic Arts. The game was exclusive to the PC, but there was originally supposed to be a port for the Nintendo 64 titled SimCopter 64.
SimCopter 64 would be based on the game of the same name, as it includes the same features as the original PC version. The main point of the game would be to keep the city safe by fighting fires and regulating traffic, among other things. Simcopter 64 could be connected with SimCity 64 (another N64 game) and, with the Nintendo 64's swapping feature, would let the player load cities from SimCity 64 and fly around in them with a helicopter.
SimCopter 64 would have probably started development after the original PC release of SimCopter in 1996. In 1997, the game was shown at that year's E3 and then previewed at the Tokyo Game Show sometime in 1998 or 1999. At the Tokyo Game Show preview, critical and onlookers didn't really care for the game, citing the first-generation graphics and the abundance of fog. Soon after the Tokyo preview, the US version of the port was cancelled, in favor of a Japanese-only release. In 1999, after Nintendo's continuous delay of the N64 peripheral and Maxis losing faith in the game, the company decided to cancel the project completely.
In May 2022, Reddit user a707northbayer posted on/r/N64 and /r/gamecollecting, revealing they had a playable build of SimCopter 64. a707northbayer explained that they purchased the cartridge from Craigslist as part of a lot from somebody “who worked in the game industry”. They also posted a gameplay video of SimCopter. The build was from 12-26-97, after the E3 event.
On November 14th, 2022, the Video Game History Foundation published an article on the history of SimCopter 64, where they interview developers involved in the project. As well it was revealed the game was never intended to be released for Nintendo 64 DD add-on and would have been released for the N64 proper. As well, the Foundation dumped a pre-alpha development build, dated June 16th, 1997, which would be a build for E3.
- SimCity (found build of cancelled NES port of PC city-building simulation game; 1991)
- SimCity 3000 (lost pre-release 3D version of city simulator; 1997)
- SimCity 4 (lost alpha and beta builds of simulation game; 2002)
- SimMars (lost build of cancelled strategy/simulation game; 2000)
- SimRefinery (found Chevron exclusive PC management simulation game; 1993)
- The Sims 4 (lost unresurfaced prototypes of simulator game; 2008-2014)
- SimsVille (lost build of cancelled "SimCity" and "The Sims" PC crossover game; 2000-2001)
- Unseen64 article on SimCopter 64. Retrieved 13 Jun '18
- An IGN article on all the announced Nintendo 64 games at that time, including SimCopter 64. Retrieved 13 Jun '18
- Another article from IGN detailing the cancellation of SimCopter 64. Retrieved 13 Jun '18
- Nintendo Life article on the games being found Retrieved 26 May '22
- Video Game History Foundation article on SimCopter 64 Retrieved 14 Nov '22