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About 2 and a half weeks ago, we at Retro Game Network were very excited to bring you the news that a Virtual Boy port of the game “Faceball” (originally called “MIDI Maze”), was finally going to be getting a limited fan based cartridge release sometime this year, after a copy of the prototype was made available. We recently learned thanks to our friends at both RetroCollect and the Planet Virtual Boy forums, that a physical cartridge release will no longer happen, however the game ROM has been made available online for immediate download. We have the story for you under the cut.

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A few months ago, a person who calls himself  “Mr. G” had announced on the Planet Virtual Boy forums that he had obtained a copy of the unreleased prototype, and very quickly offered a lot of details and many screenshots from the ROM. However, a fellow Planet Virtual Boy contributor known as “Bigmak” wanted to see the game be shared to fans of the system, and ultimately purchased the game, and for the next few months, all the way up to recently, was in the process of releasing the program to the general public, by offering physical copies of the game, to help pay for the cost of obtaining the cartridge, rumored to be quite expensive. After cartridge inventory was exhausted, he would then offer the ROM online at no cost to the players.

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Bigmak mentioned on the Planet Virtual Boy forums, his reasoning for discontinuing the physical cartridge project:

“Before this goes any further…I will NOT be releasing this game in cart for sale in any way. I thought it would be nice for people who donate to help cover the cost of the release to get a piece of the game..a physical piece. But, I’ve had many emails/pms explaining how illegal it would be for me to gain anything from a physical release. I have been told that if i attempt a cart release of the prototype rom, emails and phone calls will be made and at that point..things get messy… I have 50 carts with the rom on them..I will devise a system to give these carts out for free. I will accept donations to help cover the cost of the prototype release..but in no way/shape or form will it mean you will be getting a physical copy of the game.”

So it seems that fans of the system itself, the ones that should have been the most happy with a physical cartridge release possibility, are actually in reality, part of the reason that the project was scrapped, with electronic mail and instant message communications. It’s really a shame that it’s gotten to this level, especially on a system with such a limited library. Responses on the Planet Virtual Boy forums show a lot of sadness and disappointment, and with good reason.

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While a copy of the ROM has since been made available for download, our friends at RetroCollect made a notation on their website, which I feel is important to bring to your attention as well. It seems that the ROM image has some problems playing on an emulator program on a computer. Apparently, when played in this fashion, “distorted music” and “flickering walls” appear to occur. However, when using a Virtual Boy flash cartridge such as the Flashboy on actual Virtual Boy hardware, the ROM seems to be playable as normal.

ROM Download: http://www.planetvb.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid=361