A Look Into What Could’ve Been: Prototype Unreleased Chinese GBA Games


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While Nintendo’s games have never been officially released first-party by Nintendo themselves, they used to license their software to iQue for consoles like the iQue Player for Nintendo 64 games. Recently, prototypes of Nintendo’s GBA games that were translated into Chinese but never released have found their way onto the internet. [Thanks, Forest of Illusion!]


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These games included Super Mario Kart, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, DK: King of Swing, Advance Wars, and even games that would end up not making it outside of Japan even to the West, like Tomato Adventure, Fire Emblem: Binding Blade, and Densetsu no Starfy 2.


Originally made for release in China, these games were held off after rampant piracy occurred for the first few GBA games released in China for the iQue GBA, including Metroid Zero Mission, Wario Land 4, and F-Zero Maximum Velocity. While they were approved to be digitally distributed via an add-on to prevent hacking, the add-on never was released, making these translated versions lost in time.


It’s an interesting look at the troubles Nintendo has been faced with in terms of breaking into the Chinese market. iQue would release consoles under their brand with Nintendo’s license up until the 3DS XL, and continue to release games for the Hong Kong region. As for Nintendo Switch’s release in China, it continues to be a point brought up in investor meetings without much action on the forefront.

Alistair Wong
Very avid gamer with writing tendencies. Fan of Rockman and Pokémon and lots more!