Purple Yoshi Tech Demo (lost Game Boy Advance tech demo; existence unconfirmed; 2000)

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Purple yoshi tech demo.jpeg

The screenshot of the tech demo.

Status: Existence Unconfirmed

In August 2000 an image featuring a notably off-model Yoshi the Dinosaur was posted on IGN's website. At least resembling a screenshot from a longer tech demo, presumably for the then-upcoming Game Boy Advance, it shows a 3D rendering of the popular Nintendo mascot as bright purple, with a red crest and wearing dark green sneakers - a striking departure from the canonical apple-green dino with an orange crest and sneakers. He is seen from a third-person forward perspective, moving along a forest path. Blue and red spider-like creatures - apparently also new designs - face him as he stretches his tongue out at one, ready to capture or eat it. A target on that creature along with a prominent counter and other graphics add to the impression of gameplay in progress.

The Search[edit | edit source]

In 2014 Lost Media YouTuber LSuperSonicQ discovered the screenshot on a Spaceworld 2000 image website and uploaded it onto his blog.[1] On further investigation in 2018 he also found it on an Ars Technica forum page from August 14th, 2000, along with a Lost Levels forum page of similar vintage providing links to two separate sources for the image.[2]

The second link in the Lost Levels post led to what seems most likely to be the original and official source of the image, an archived IGN Boards forum page, where a pixelated version had been used to lure users into signing up for the Handheld Boards in order to see the clear version. The blurb on the signup page ran as follows:

"It's a game screen of some sort, sent to us by our Japanese correspondent. The resolution is exactly that of the Game Boy Advance, and it's possible it might be of an as-yet unannounced GBA game featuring a certain Nintendo dinosaur. Or it might just be a mock-up some Japanese publication created as what a GBA game could look like."

Unfortunately, the matching Handheld Boards forum thread containing the clear image was not archived, and it is unknown what if any additional context it provided.[3] Given the tone of contemporary references and reposts, however, the missing reveal post could not have been much more specific than the teaser - although they do at least seem to have confirmed the image was not entirely fake. For that matter it's highly unlikely that IGN would pull that sort of stunt in a post meant to hype themselves as a fan resource.

The other Lost Levels forum link led to a reference on a now-defunct fansite, Super Mario 128 Central, which in turn had sourced the image from another, unofficial post to the IGN Boards fan forum by a user named SolarGamer. This user had also cited a 'Japanese source', and had this to say about the image's origins:

"That is right! There is finally a high-quality Game Boy Advance screenshot...And as you can see it is of Yoshi!!... While there is no word on what exactly this game is, it looks a little like "Yoshi's Safari" for the SNES..."[4]

According to the Super Mario 128 Central post, admins there had subsequently reached out to SolarGamer but they had proved unable to provide any further useful information.

The 128 Central blog post does also point out that a purple Yoshi - albeit wearing brown not green sneakers - is briefly seen in Super Mario Sunshine, which would be released for the Nintendo GameCube only a couple of years later. Since the Game Boy Advance turned out not to be capable of rendering 3D graphics at the resolution seen in the image, either at launch or in subsequent upgrades,[5] it's plausible that the image might actually have been pulled from an early demo of a console game, or eventually been incorporated into one.

Status[edit | edit source]

The ultimate source of the purple Yoshi image has never surfaced, making it impossible to confirm whether it was actually part of a longer demo. No game has been found that contains not only this specific Yoshi model but the blue-and-red spider-monsters and other surrounding graphics.

Despite the overtly promotional tone and exclusivity surrounding the image, no further info was ever provided by Nintendo or anyone affiliated. On balance, it seems most likely that the image was either lifted from a very preliminary tech demo or mocked up by someone within the Nintendo PR offices to encourage fan speculation around the GBA's release, and never intended to reflect an actual upcoming GBA game.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

LSuperSonicQ's video on the subject.

See Also[edit | edit source]

External Links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]