Biggest unfulfilled promises in gaming

Above: Like playing a Pixar movie, right?

Unparalleled 3D real-time and pre-rendered technology

Rare and Midway promoted N64’s awesome new tech - then known as the Nintendo Ultra 64 - in the arcades with Killer Instinct and Cruis’n USA respectively. Both featured impressive pre-rendered 3D that drove interest in Nintendo’s new console through the roof. Problem was the hardware used for the cabinets differed completely from the finalized hardware in the N64.

Above: What the N64 could render best

Nintendo incorrectly assumed they would be able to produce CG on par with supercomputers and as we know today that is obviously not the case. Lower tech for the N64 meant developers had to become creative with the way they textured environments. Conker’s Bad Fur Day and Factor 5’s Star Wars games demonstrated perhaps the most resourceful way to push N64’s power past the usual offering of muddy-looking worlds and rigid polygons.

Banjo-Kazooie, Banjo-Tooie, and the N64

A feature called Stop 'n’ Swop, where collecting hidden eggs in Banjo-Kazooie would enable you to reach new areas in Banjo-Tooie through a cart swapping technique.


Chalk this unfulfilled promise up to hardware revisions. Released in 1998, the ending to Banjo-Kazooie featured two hidden eggs and an ice key on a screen entitled “Stop 'n’ Swop,” enticing players to scour the game in order to find the concealed treasures. A little while later, some hackers discovered some cheat codes to unlock a total of six eggs found on the cart.

In the time between BK’s release and the release of the sequel, Banjo-Tooie, Rare employees were questioned about the new feature, yet they kept mum on the issue. Finally in 2000, BT was released and contained - without involvement from the previous game - three eggs and an ice key, enabling players to unlock extra items. So… what was the feature again?

Above: Don’t look so smug

Interestingly and maddeningly, Rare never once explained what “Stop n’ Swop” was supposed to be, even going so far as to contain joking references in Grabbed by the Ghoulies and Banjo-Pilot. In 2008, MTV spoke with lead engineer at Rare, Salvatore Fileccia, who claimed the intended feature would enable you to swap between the two cartridges with a window of ten seconds, but that newer hardware revisions of the N64 reduced the window to one second, making everything useless.

The feature actually appeared in the XBLA Banjo-Kazooie and Nuts & Bolts through saved data, but that’s not nearly as cool as switching cartridges.