|Date found||May 31, 2018|
Pokémon is one of the biggest video game franchises in the world, and some of the best titles among fans are the Gold, Silver, and Crystal games, released in 1999.
However, there were a lot of changes during the development of said titles, mostly Gold and Silver, and the original year of release was going to be 1997, but in order to make an amazing Pokémon game, the developers had to delay it and make sure that every effort put into the game made it memorable, and that's what it eventually became.
During 1997, before the delay was announced, a video game convention called Space World was held in Japan, and during that convention a playable demo of Pokémon Gold & Silver was showcased to the audience. What makes this demo so interesting is the many differences and aspects that weren't included in the final game, such as:
- Different title screen
- The starting town named "Silent Hills" instead of New Bark Town
- The sprites from the first generation (Red & Blue) games
- A forest (presumably Ilex Forest) next to Silent Hills
- Wild Slowking in the grass (giving the possibility that a King's Rock wasn't needed at first to get a Slowking)
- Different starting Pokémon (Honoguma - Fire, Kurusu - Water, Happa - Grass. Happa is a prototype version of Chikorita, but Honoguma and Kurusu don't at all resemble Cyndaquil and Totodile, possibly meaning that the latter weren't created or even planned for the game during that point in development)
- Different designs for Marill and Girafarig
The demo in itself lasted for 10 minutes and you could walk around Silent Hills, which consisted of your house, a Pokémon Lab, and even a Pokémon Center, but you couldn't enter the lab or the Pokemon Center. NPCs (Non Playable Character) would stop you from entering. Your starter Pokémon was chosen randomly and it was Level 8, and you could find some wild Pokémon and even fight a couple of Trainers in the forest that was next to Silent Hills. Your rival would be at the end of the forest, and upon speaking to him, the demo would end.
Some images and a 15 second silent video of this demo were released online, but the rest of the demo remained lost, including in-game sprites of the original starters and wild Pokèmon original designs. Although some concept art of the starting Pokémon can be found online, their in-game sprites remain a mystery; as well as how Silent Hills looked in it's entirety (only one image has surfaced online).
On May 31st, 2018, A ROM of the demo surfaced on 4Chan, this includes many differences from the final game, including over 100 beta/placeholder Pokémon sprites.
It is believed that the demo cartridge was in the hands of a collector who had passed away, and the family was selling off the collection when a shop owner realized what they had and dumped the ROM. How the collector came into possession of the ROM is uncertain, But comments from the owner of serebii.net, a large Pokémon fansite, implied that the demo was either stolen or marked to be destroyed and saved against Nintendo's wishes.