A couple of days ago, a Twitter bot posted a screenshot from a video game called "StarTribes: Myth of the Dragon Lord". Except, no such game exists. It took some digging from Amberle, an eagle-eyed follower of the bot, to track down the image's likely origin: 1992's Laser Lords. The problem is, the contents of the screenshot never appeared in the final game.
As Frank Cifaldi of the Video Game History Foundation writes, the image itself is from a CD entitled "GIFs Galore". In fact, the Twitter bot's sole purpose is to post stuff from this disc.
The most likely explanation is that Laser Lords was once called StarTribes and at one point, might have been a very different game. Once they knew what to look for, a few more shots of this unreleased game were found on the CD.
Eventually, Cifaldi tracked down a full-page advertisement for StarTribes in an issue of Computer Gaming World and figured out why the game never made it to shelves:
Despite the ad's emphasis that the game is "coming very soon," it never materialized. We can only speculate as to why that might be, but I've got a hunch that [developer] Spinnaker's financial woes might have had something to do with it.
Makes you wonder what other uncompleted games are out there, rotting on old storage devices...