Space World was a video game trade show that was hosted by Nintendo from the years 1989 to 2001, often to unveil the company's new consoles or handheld devices. In 1997, an early playable demo of the first sequel in the now gigantic Pokémon franchise was unveiled. This early form of Pokémon Gold and Silver was full of monster designs that otherwise never saw the light of day.
That is until May 26, 2018, when an anonymous user suddenly released ROMs of the demo online. The data was mined by users at The Cutting Room Floor to reveal these lost treasures. With a brand new Pokémon game released comes new designs for fans to argue over—but let's take a look at some might-have-beens that we would've loved to see in a game.
The lost demo revealed the sprites for these Pokémon, but artist Rachel Briggs took it upon herself to create Sugomori-style artwork for these forgotten 'mons. The first is a Pokémon named Taaban and is clearly based on the shell of a horned turban snail. But more than that, it's obviously a standalone Pokémon for the form of Shellder attached to a Slowbro's tail.
It's unclear if it's a separate evolution for Shellder, or if it would have been a branching evolution of Slowpoke instead. The poor thing also looks so sad; what happened to make it lose its Slowbro?
The unused design for Twinz is very reminiscent of Gastly—little conjoined ghostly orbs surrounded by a strange pink fog. But it wasn't a Ghost-type. In fact, it was a dual Dark/Normal-type Pokémon, perhaps representing some kind of good/evil split. The little guys look fun and mischievous, and as such their evolution probably would have been very controversial.
Because as you can see, Twinz was originally the pre-evolved form of a beta Girafarig with two fully developed heads. The light/dark contrast is more evident in Girafarig's design, though it's unclear why exactly these spirits turn into a two-headed giraffe.
8 Beta Octillery
The design for beta Octillery is so much more visually interesting that the form of Octillery we have. There's nothing wrong with a sleepy-eyed red octopus, of course. But turning it into a tank with a little military helmet and tentacles for treads is significantly cooler. It's also always great to see Pokémon with usual eye designs, since often they just default to typical anime eyes.
The beta form of Remoraid is pretty different from its final form because it's indisputably clear it's based on a handgun, making the relationship between these to Pokémon clearer, but it's not as interesting as Octillery's original form.
Before we had Tangrowth, apparently two new additions for the Tangela line were scrapped. The pre-evolution, Monja, has a charmingly fae quality about it while still being an alien vine-tentacle monster.
Its one big eye is cute and the curls in its vine are somehow childlike. Evolved form, Jaranra, doesn't actually seem too similar to the Pokémon that took its place. Tangrowth has the large powerful presence of some overgrown monolith. Jaranra instead looks like a devilish trickster, like something that will lure you into the dark woods and string you up in vines to save you for later.
Originally the middle evolution of a three part Water Pokémon line, Ikari was perhaps reworked into Sharpedo in later games. However, we only speculate that because they're both sharks with only half a body; otherwise they don't bear too much resemblance to one another.
Ikari has a simpler shark design compared to Sharpedo's more industrial, unnatural look. The biggest difference is obviously that the back half of Ikari's body is composed entirely of anchor and chain, which is a fun visual. It was probably Water/Steel, compared to Sharpedo's Water/Dark.
5 Beta Hitmontop
This weird beta Hitmontop is way weirder and cooler than the version that was released in the games. It has the same general concept of being a Fighting Pokémon that spins like a top, but it really went out there with the monstrousness of the design.
Its thick springy legs are only the tip of the iceberg. It has three eyes, including one in its "head" giving it a cyclops vibe and little blobby arms it seems to only use to maintain focus or balance. This looks like a creature that evolved to always be spinning and teetering on its single point.
Norowara is a little woven bear-shaped doll that someone apparently made to curse someone. It isn't just based on a voodoo doll; they went the extra yard and shoved a massive iron nail right through the middle of its body. But it's not worried! Look as its smiling face.
It began trying to evolve into its second form, Kyonpan, as early as level two, but would only learn its devastating signature move at level 99, forcing trainers to repeatedly deny this tormented spirit its freedom to unlock it. Kyonpan seems to be based on both a panda bear and a kind of Chinese "hopping vampire" known as Jiangshi.
3 Beta Scizor
This one's conflicting, because the final version of Scizor has that sleek red exoskeleton that really makes it pop and better conveys its Steel typing. But elements of beta Scizor are also really cool. It not only keeps the great draconic shape of Scyther's head, but it also emphasizes the false eyes on its claws, making the entire design feel more threatening and organic.
The throughline from Scyther to Scizor is easier to follow between the evolutions. Maybe if they had colored beta Scizor red, we could have the best of both worlds.
2 Beta Pichu
Well, see, here Game Freak simply made a mistake. We mean, there's nothing inherently wrong with the final version of Pichu. It's pretty cute. But obviously we were meant to get Orb Pichu, with its weird little flipper limbs and charming blank expression.
The final version of Pichu feels like another attack against Fat Pikachu, which Game Freak has gradually been stealing from us generation to generation. Let the Pikachu line be round!
This little thing is perfect. Some indistinct being with unnerving glowing eyes all wrapped up in the disembodied pelt of a wolf-like creature. The name implies it's some kind of werewolf Pokémon, which leaves it open to interpretation exactly what is lurking underneath all that fur.
It's cute and spooky at the same time. Its evolution, Warwolf, loses some of that unique charm (the glowing eyes!) but gives it larger tusks and claws to make it an imposing furry monster.