Hundreds of prototypes of some of the most iconic games — Double Dragon, Street Fighter 2, Mega Man 3, AKIRA, Prince of Persia, Dr. Mario, NBA JAM, Killer Instinct and much more — have been uploaded to the Internet Archive and are now accessible to all.
The archive includes about 934 ROMs playable on any browser, and span from 1983 to 2001. The most recent prototypes include versions of Superman: Battle for Metropolis and, famously, an early version of John Romero’s Daikatana … for the Game Boy Colour.
The works were uploaded by The Hidden Palace, a preservationist video game wiki. The community earlier this year uploaded prototype versions of Spyro The Dragon, a localised version of EarthBound (Mother 2) from an EPROM cartridge, and some rare documents from Sega Japan outlining the technical elements of the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis’s YM2612 synthesis sound chip.
Because all the games uploaded are samples or prototypes, many of them aren’t necessarily playable from start to finish. Daikatana just fires up with a basic splash screen before launching into something completely unrecognisable from the original PC game.
Also, there’s no controls listed on any of the prototypes, so just hit TAB and you’ll be able to bring up the emulator menu with all the options you could ever want. (Generally, left CTRL, left ALT and SPACE will be the buttons you’ll use most of the time, with 1 and 5 being the START/SELECT buttons.
You can check out the prototypes, and play them for yourself in your browser, over at the Internet Archives. For more information about each of the prototypes, head to Hidden Palace for specifics. There’s a great story in particular behind the Street Fighter 2: Champion Edition Sega Mega Drive prototype, going into the negotiations between Capcom Japan and Sega and the game’s constant delays.