Nintendo games have a reputation for being a bit predictable. Bowser kidnaps the Princess, Mario retrieves her, bottomless pits are jumped, rinse, repeat. That said, sometimes even Nintendo colors outside the lines. The company has released its share of quirky games, but some of their projects have been so strange, so far out of their wheelhouse, they couldn’t even be released to the public.
Welcome to Nintendo’s Island of Misfit Games. Here are the seven strangest games Nintendo nearly released…
Mike Tyson’s Intergalactic Power Punch
How do you follow up a near-perfect classic like Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out? Why, you send the Baddest Man on the Planet to space, of course.
Nintendo worked closely with Australian developer Beam Software to create Mike Tyson’s Intergalactic Power Punch, a game in which Tyson heads to a space station to punch the heads off various aliens. Yeah, a Punch-Out!! game where you play as Tyson. Awesome.
Unfortunately, Tyson was convicted of rape shortly before the game was to be released, forcing Nintendo to drop all association with the game. Tyson’s name was stripped from the game, and it was it was released as Power Punch II (no, there was never a Power Punch I) by minor publisher American Softworks.
The cover to Power Punch II. Nope, that’s definitely not Mike Tyson at all.
Unlike most of the titles on this list, this game was actually released, but most gamers had no idea that Nintendo was involved in its development until years later.
Donkey Kong’s Fun With Music
Think Wii Music was Nintendo’s first unfortunate run in with music games? Turns out, Nintendo was planning to give their bumbling ape mascot music lessons back in the early 1980s.
Donkey Kong’s Fun With Music had two modes (that we know of). One featured Donkey Kong playing an upright bass while Mario and Pauline (playable Pauline!) tried to match his notes by jumping on a giant keyboard. There was also Donkey Band mode, which looks like a mix of Wii Music and the composer from Mario Paint. In the mode which Donkey Kong plays his bass, Donkey Kong, Jr. wails on the drums, Mario plays a swank white grand piano, and Pauline sings.