The plan for legendary games publisher, Atari, to release a video game for the Atari 5200 called Superman III. The game would have tied into the movie of the same name, which starred comedian Richard Pryor and some guy called Christopher Reeve.
OH. SO WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED?
The game would have been loosely based on some of the storyline of the movie (there was a storyline in Superman III?); in particular Superman’s battle against an evil supercomputer built by Pryor’s character Gus Gorman. In the game Superman would have flown around the computer as it tried to destroy the city of Metropolis, dodging Kryptonite rays and trying to stop it from bringing down a bunch of buildings. Each level would have been the same, but every time Superman completed a stage of the game the difficulty would have increased, allowing the game to continue the same format until the player died of boredom. Probably.
BUT WHAT DID HAPPEN?
A prototype of the game was produced, as was artwork for the game’s packaging, but the actual game itself never materialised in stores and the prototype never saw the light of day. The prototype wasn’t alone though, as a test version of the game for the 800XL was also produced (and did see the light of day), which pretty much detailed how the game would have worked. This version also never made it in to shops, mostly because it was derivative of other games and failed to move beyond the testing stages. However a sub-department of Atari did create a video game sequence for Superman III, which appeared towards the end of the movie involving Superman’s battle with the Supercomputer. This sequence saw Superman ‘pixelated’ for a few seconds as his airborne battle with the computer was displayed on a view screen. These scenes were made purely for inclusion in the movie and were not taken from a game tie-in, which caused some confusion amongst fans who presumed they were. In fact the sequence was far more advanced than any of the graphics seen on home computer systems of the time and certainly would have put the finished versions of both the 5200 and the 800XL to shame. This was probably another reason why it was never released.
WAS THIS SUCH A BAD THING?
It depends on how you look at it. On one hand the Superman III game looked pretty sucky and if it had been released then kids hoping for something similar to the computer game-sequence in the movie would have been disappointed. However on the other hand any kids actually wanting to play anything based on Superman III were clearly idiots and they deserved what they got!
BUT WHAT IF?
If Superman III had been released then kids would have been duped into buying a game that was a poor imitation of what they had believed they were getting. This would have led to kids everywhere learning that life isn’t exactly always what they had hoped. This would have been a lesson learned at a much earlier age than normal, which would have created a generation of ‘adult kids’. From here each generation of kids would have grown up quicker than the previous one and the result would have been the eradication of Santa Claus, who would have no longer had a place in the world where kids are adults. Of course this would have only been the beginning and shortly after Mickey Mouse, the Easter Bunny and Jimmy Saville would have been deemed obsolete too. Finally Superman himself would have been consigned to the scrapheap, meaning he would have been the reason for his own destruction...
...although if you think about it the release of Superman III almost did this anyway!