The gaming industry is a very secretive one. Much of the planning, brainstorming, and testing happens behind closed doors and eventually gets lost and forgotten. That means knowledge and experiences that could educate future generations turn into dust, sometimes literally. Fortunately, there are those who have recognized that depressing situation and have taken upon themselves to archive and preserve gaming history, which is how gamers and game developers are now able to enjoy a Rayman game that was scrapped and almost never saw the light of day.
Today’s hero is one Omar Cornut, a game designer and archivist who runs the SMS Power website that’s dedicated to gather, publish, preserve, and discuss things related to Sega’s game systems. And while this version of Rayman was actually for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, a.k.a. SNES a.k.a. Super Famicom, the game’s history is indeed connected to Sega.
Rayman started out as a 2D side-scrolling platform that eventually grew into a franchise of its own, with its titular character and his limbless form becoming somewhat of a gaming icon. Originally released for the Atari Jaguar, PlayStation 1, and Sega Saturn, a version of the game was supposedly developed for the SNES as well. That, however, only went as far as a prototype and was eventually shelved and almost forgotten.
That was until the game’s creator, Michel Ancel, showed off last year some pictures from a ROM of that prototype. Coming across this re-discovered treasure, Cornut lost no time and directly asked Ancel to lend him the cartridge and make a dump of the game. And the rest, as they say, is history. And this time, it’s going to be a preserved history.
As a prototype, the game is naturally just a shadow of the full thing, but it still holds enough information to benefit those who dare to look deeper. It may even have some secrets never before seen by the public. Cornut has made the game available on his Dropbox account not as an act of piracy or infringement but as a way to help preserve the rich history and culture of gaming and preserve hard-earned lessons for the next generation of game developers.