No one had even seen a screenshot of Battle Choice before the cancelled Konami Famicom game appeared on Yahoo Japan.
Battle Choice, an unreleased Nintendo Famicom game from Konami, sold at auction in Japan this weekend for 2,401,000 yen (roughly $16,600).
Very little is known about the game, which is thought to date from around 1988. Before the auction listing, there weren’t even any screenshots of Battle Choice in circulation, and the ROM code for the game has never been dumped.
Alex Kraus spotted the Yahoo Japan auction for Battle Choice, and Frank Cifaldi from the Video Game History Foundation attempted to win the item, but only managed second place. It’s unclear what the winner of the auction will do with the game: whether the code will be shared on the internet, or whether it will simply disappear into a private collection.
The existence of Konami’s Battle Choice game wasn’t widely known about until 2015, when EGG Music released the album Konami Famicom Chronicle Vol. 3: ROM Cassette Compilation. Several of the tracks on the album were from Battle Choice, and the sleeve notes – which can be viewed on Unseen64 and have been translated by HG101 – reveal a little more about the forgotten Famicom title.
Apparently Battle Choice would have been a version of shogi – Japanese chess – but when two of the pieces clashed, it would have switched to an action sequence in which the two pieces fight each other. However, the pieces in the game seem wildly varied – the screenshots show characters called ‘Army John’, ‘Metal Gargoyle’ and ‘Fantasy Halfling’, among others.
“Even though it has a fantasy flavor, it has a rather chaotic setting, with characters ranging from knights to high school girls in sailor suits,” writes the game’s composer in the Konami Famicom Chronicle Vol. 3 sleeve notes. “The battles are basically fist fights, but the character abilities are adjusted based on their strength. If you defeat the king piece, you complete the stage. After beating the final stage, you see a simple ending.”
The album’s producer also writes that “the game was almost completed and ready to be released”, and it’s unclear why Konami decided to pull the plug on Battle Choice. But what’s really remarkable is that Battle Choice has emerged seemingly from nowhere after 35 years in the vaults.