Maybe it’s about time I explained this whole “Dream and Friends” thing.
Capcom’s DuckTales for the NES is my favorite video game. Everything about it is perfect, and nothing will ever surpass it.
It wasn’t always perfect, though. DuckTales went through a number of changes during development, as seen in a prototype version discovered several years back. The core gameplay mechanics and level design were largely finalized by the time the beta edition made its way to reviewers and strategy guide authors, but it was hampered by some minor issues and awkward dialogue that hadn’t yet been fully localized.
This in-progress version of DuckTales is fascinating, and it remains one of my favorite prototype discoveries to date. It’s interesting to see how minor tweaks to a mostly finished product made it so much more memorable and impactful. The iconic Moon level theme was sped up for the retail release, for instance (an unquestionable change for the better), and the rewritten dialogue is instantly recognizable for kids who grew up watching The Disney Afternoon.
My favorite difference between the prototype and retail versions of DuckTales is the ending, in which Scrooge McDuck claims that for all his adventuring, for all his discoveries, and for all his wealth, the most important treasure of all is…
Happily, the prototype version’s ending text was translated for DuckTales’ Japanese release, which concludes with the “DREAM AND FRIENDS” line, still in English. The Japanese version of DuckTales, by the way, is titled “Wanpaku Duck Yume Bouken,” or “Naughty Duck Dream Adventure,” which is just wonderful.
Here’s a somewhat speedy, non-tool assisted playthrough of the prototype version of DuckTales. I’m not a speedrunner by any means (I’m sure it’s been done faster), but I’m pretty happy with the results.
2012 is over, and things are looking up. Pursue your dream, and treasure your friends.