One of the most mysterious and vaunted secrets of game development has long been the mysterious 1997 build of Pokemon Gold/Silver (back then known only as Pocket Monsters 2). You see, Pokemon Gold/Silver (often considered as the best games in the Pokemon series, and indeed, among the best games ever made, period), had a very turbulent development cycle- and they changed a lot from what they were originally envisioned to be to what they ended up turning up as in the end.
The 1997 Space World demo was one of the earliest looks anyone ever had at the game, but that demo has long since been thought to have been lost to time- until now. Apparently, it has ben found, and within has come a whole lot of insight into what the game was originally going to be. For instance, it now seems that the plan was to have Johto be far bigger than it ended up being (the intention, apparently, was to cover all of Japan), while Kanto at one point was all crammed into a tiny town- I… don’t quite know why. Old trainer sprites seem to have been recycled from Red/Green, and some of the Pokemon we had in the game were significantly different from what we finally got.
You can check out some images from these leaks for yourself below. It’s fantastic, and this is a significant piece of gaming history that now, thankfully, will forever be preserved. If this has made you nostalgic for Pokemon Gold/Silver, there’s some good news- while the original games, released on Gameboy Color, are a bit hard to track down, you can either pick up their remakes, HeartGold/SoulSilver, on Nintendo DS (also playable on Nintendo 3DS), or you can pick up the original Gold/Silver on Nintendo 3DS via Virtual Console.