One of the holy grails of video game history has been leaked. A full rom of the Pokemon Gold and Silver SpaceWorld Demo has been leaked to the internet.

The Pokemon SpaceWorld Demo was notorious for showcasing several beta Pokemon designs two years before the official release of Pokemon Gold and Silver. The demo, where until today only a few screenshots and video clips existed, has been the subject of speculation for over twenty years as to what its contents were. Most famously were the beta designs of the Pokemon starters, including two designs, Kurusu and Honoguma, which were only seen during that demo.

Overnight, a team of enthusiasts made up of members from The Cutting Room Floor (TCRF), Hidden Palace and pret (along with several smaller communities and some skilled friends) were able to get their hands on the demo, which was given to them by an anonymous source. The full demo is now currently being translated and data-mined.

This is incredibly rare, as Japanese beta demos of games are hard to come by, often lost to history due to translation issues and closely protected archives. Rarer still for a high profile game such as Pokemon. In fact, many released Japanese games go undocumented due to the language and cultural barriers, things that groups like The Cutting Room Floor and Hidden Palace work to address.

The leaked demo was originally planned to be kept under wraps while the team worked on the data mine and translation. Unfortunately, word of the demo’s leak already hit the internet, prompting the team to publish their current findings in a massive spreadsheet.

“It was leaked, a group of people (us) picked it up and were going to keep it under wraps until we could document it properly.” stated team member GlitterBerri. “But someone else leaked it publicly on 4chan earlier today, so we had to show our hand. So we opted to publish the spreadsheet in view mode, at least, and make the TCRF page we were working on public so others could add to it. ”

It should be noted that the team involved in the data mining has stated the leaker was an outsider not involved with the data mining.

The mining itself is still on schedule for a full release of an English demo in about a month. In the meantime, the spreadsheet showcases a ton of information being uncovered about the beta version of Pokemon Gold and Silver for the first time publicly.  Some tabs include images and translations for maps and items, a complete list of moves and base data, and of course, a look at the Pokemon themselves.

pokemon gold and silver spaceworld beta 1997 sprites

The full ripped sprites from the demo.

All of the new Pokemon have been given translated names, but some of the data has been officially scrubbed from the demo.

“The Pokemon names in the Translation column on the Pokemon sheet are not official localizations, since obviously, GameFreak scrapped them before the development process ever got to the localization stage,” noted GlitterBerri. “However, insofar as it is possible, they are faithful localizations of the Japanese names, constructed from the same root components. [For] example: the shark Pokemon’s name is “ikari”, which is a pun on the words “anchor” and “rage” in Japanese, therefore, the English name is “Anchorage”. There are also some pretty simplistic names, like “tsuinzu”, the first form of Girafarig, is just “Twins” in English, or “Twinz” for the translation.”

The team did note the risks of their work being leaked so quickly to the public. “We were hoping to finish our documentation and translation before the news broke, just in case of [Nintendo].” stated GlitterBerri, referring to Nintendo typically sending cease and desist letters to fan-made rom projects. “Hopefully the leak won’t cause any trouble for GF if they were planning on reusing these old designs or ideas and now feel they can’t.”

Work on the project is expected to take a month to complete, but if successful, it will be a fully playable, translated version of the SpaceWorld demo into the wild for all to play.

What are your thoughts on this story? Please leave your comments below.  

More About This Game

Robert Grosso

Staff Writer

A game playing, college teaching, erudite-minded scholar who happens to write some articles every so often. Have worked as a journalist, critic, educator and blogger for over five years now, with articles published (as user editorials) on Game Revolution and Giant Bomb as well as a contributor for the websites Angry Bananas and Blistered Thumbs. Now making TechRaptor my home.