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Prerelease:Pokémon Snap

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This page details prerelease information and/or media for Pokémon Snap.

Pokémon Snap was originally developed for the Nintendo 64DD, before later being moved onto a regular N64 cartridge after the 64DD's constant delays. The game had notable differences in its 64DD days: different levels, HUDs, Pokémon models and animations, and the presence of Ekans which isn't in the final game.

Development Timeline


  • Spring: A game about taking pictures, titled Jack and the Beanstalk, starts development for the Nintendo 64DD.


  • Spring: The concept is retooled into being about taking pictures of Pokémon.
  • November 21-23: Pokémon Snap is announced at Spaceworld '97 for the 64DD, with an expected release date of Fall 1998.[1]


  • Unknown: Promotional material is released of the 64DD version.[2][3][4]
  • Unknown: Development shifts to being on an N64 cartridge due to the 64DD's release being delayed.


  • March 21: Pokémon Snap is released in Japan.
  • June 30: Pokémon Snap is released in North America.


  • March: Pokémon Snap is released in Australia.
  • September 25: Pokémon Snap is released in Europe.


Pokémon Snap, according to former Nintendo president Satoru Iwata, first started development as an unrelated project named Jack and the Beanstalk. Very little is known about this iteration aside from it being about taking pictures, though it may have made use of the 64DD's special features (like the clock for example) and may have had some connection to the fairy tale of the same name.

The dev team working on it was codenamed "Jack and Beans" (which explains the presence of a "Jack and Beans" logo in the final game's intro). However, according to Iwata, said dev team realized that there wasn't any real goal or motivation to play the game, and as such ended up turning the project into a Pokémon-based game to give it some appeal.

(Source: Iwata Asks)

Scrapped Songs

A level oriented around Ghost-type Pokémon was planned at one point, but was ultimately scrapped, perhaps because it was deemed impractical, with only three Ghost-type Pokémon existing as of Generation 1 (Gastly, Haunter, and Gengar). Only Haunter would make its way into the final game, being found in the Tunnel stage. However, two songs exist for this level, both composed by Ikuko Mimori and released on her website. Below is a translation of her comments regarding the two songs:

Unused Songs

Fantasic Horror
comment: This is a stage song that was discarded for various circumstances. (Silent Prayer)
※Sound source is Nintendo 64.

Theme of the Horror Boss
comment: This is a boss stage song that was discarded for various circumstances. 
※Sound source is Nintendo 64.

The music track that was intended to play in the cut Ghost level, named "Fantasic Horror".

The second music track, this one called "Theme of the Horror Boss" which was supposedly intended for some type of "boss" in the level. It is rather unclear what "boss" could refer to, as no boss fights are in the final game, aside from the Mew stage.

(Source: Ikuko Mimori's website)

Concept Art

Shown in the German version of the Pokémon Snap Official Strategy Guide are a few interesting pieces of concept art:

Concept Art Final
Pokemonsnap ConceptArtIsland.png Pokemonsnap InGameFinalIsland.png.png
(Source: Dr. Lava, @AlexxEhrlich)

A sketch of Pokémon Island which has quite a few interesting differences:

  • A long column of smoke is seen emerging from the volcano, which isn't seen in the final in-game map. The volcano is actually seen smoking in-game, in the Volcano level.
  • An island is also seen in the distance, also missing in the final game. It's also possible this was an early sketch of the island, or of a level.
  • The layout of the Beach is slightly different, lacking the rails (instead showing a faint dirt path), and having some sort of lighthouse-like building near the beach. Moreover, the bay area shows a cave entrance which is missing entirely in the final game.
  • The entrance to the Tunnel shows some rails which are missing in the final game.
  • The lava pools in the Volcano level are missing in this sketch.
  • The entrance to the Cave level near the River area is missing in this sketch.
  • The Valley level appears to be clearly visible here, while in the final game the river can't be seen and only Mt. Dugtrio can be seen.
  • What appears to be a village can be seen around the end of the River and Volcano levels, with a path leading from the village to the beach. While this location is nowhere to be found in the final game, a slope sits where the path stood on the map, and in the Beach level a path leading up the hill is faintly seen at the start of the level. This village, if abandoned, may have been the setting for the scrapped Ghost level, which could be supported by the presence of a church, as bells can be heard in the level's main theme.
  • Some Pokémon can be seen on the map, with a Charizard flying around the top of the volcano, and a Psyduck next to the River. Interestingly, the Beach shows a Shellder and a Dewgong swimming in the sea, while in the final game Shellder is only found in the River level, and Dewgong is nowhere to be seen.

(Source: Dr. Lava, @AlexxEhrlich)

Two sketches are also in the guide, showing two levels which don't seem to resemble any of the ones in the final game:

The first one appears to be set in a gloomy field with tall grass, a dead tree, and what appears to be a full moon in the sky. Also seen in this sketch are two tall rock formations each having a path spiraling around them, their sides lined with holes from which Pokémon would have more than likely emerged. Given the rather bleak atmosphere, it's possible that it may have been the scrapped Ghost level, though it could have also been just as much a completely unrelated level concept.

The other sketch depicts what appears to be a river with giant holly leaf-shaped plants growing alongside alongside a rather strangely rounded dead tree-like plant. An alternate route blocked by a spiky rock is also visible. This may have been reworked in the final game as the River level, as it also features a river and an alternate route that is blocked off.

To do:
Analyze the other concept art below, and please credit both Dr. Lava and @AlexxEhrlich (Twitter).

(Source: Dr. Lava, @AlexxEhrlich)

64DD Version

The video game review website IGN once had on their server a video showcasing footage of a 64DD-era build circa 1998, and while the original was deleted, a copy was uncovered and uploaded to YouTube in 2006, albeit in rather poor quality and without sound. While the audio for this video was lost, bits and pieces of the audio (namely the camera clicks) can be heard in some parts of programs covering video game news. Additionally, a few screenshots from the build showcased here were shown in some gaming magazines.

Audiovisual Differences

Pre-release Final
Pokemonsnap LogoPrerelease.jpg Pokemonsnap LogoFinal.png.png

The logo is different, the characters being colored dark blue instead of red and lacking any shading/gradient. The roll of camera film is also wider and appears to be a darker shade of yellow. The unrolled band of film where "Pocket Monsters Snap" is written also seems to lack the golden part of its gradient and has different smaller dents along its edges, along with the font being taller and the text itself taking more place in the band.

Pre-release Final
Pokemonsnap FilmPrerelease.png.png Pokemonsnap FilmFinal.png

The HUD displaying the number of photos you can still take is different, being placed on the left side of the screen instead of the right. The film roll is slightly taller, and the extremity of the film band is slightly curvy and visible as opposed to straight and hidden offscreen. It appears that in this build only six pictures could be taken, and the film would "roll up" with each picture taken, shortening the length of the visible film strip and hiding the numbers for the exposures used.

Pre-release Final
Pokemonsnap ItemsPrerelease.png Pokemonsnap ItemsFinal.png

The item selection slot is less refined here. First, the order of the items is different, being Pokéflute / Pester Ball / Apple instead of Pester Ball / Apple / Pokéflute. Secondly, the Pester Ball seems to act like some kind of rock, which is supported by its early graphic. The Apple also has a different graphic. Last thing to note is that they weren't each their own unique buttons, instead all sitting in a semi-transparent white bar with a dark blue circle highlighting the current object selected.

The "Z" button to use the camera view and the "A" button which would normally appear (indicating which button to press to snap a picture) aren't shown.

Pre-release Final
Pokemonsnap CameraPrerelease.png Pokemon-Snap-Squirtle.png

The design of the camera's screen is more complex in this version, and the screen realistically flickers when taking a picture. In comparison, in the final game only the center of the Poké Ball cursor lights up after a picture hass been taken.

Pre-release Final (Camera Check) Final (Pokémon Album)
Pokemonsnap CameraCheckPrerelease.png Pokemonsnap CameraCheckFinal.png.png Pokemonsnap PhotoAlbumFinal.png

The design of the Camera Check is completely different here, appearing as a wooden spiral album as opposed to the "digital" look seen in the final game. This version also lacks the Oak's Mark / Album Mark and the "To Prof.Oak" options, and in their place are a white rectangle with the text ピカチュウ (Pikachu) as well as a blue button with a white arrow in it and the text もどる (Back). This early design may have inspired the appearance of the Pokémon Album.

"Back" later became "To Prof.Oak", and the "Pikachu" text may have evolved into the "[Number] pictures of [POKÉMON] have been takenǃ" text which appears when you are hovering over a picture of a Pokémon that appears in other photos, here for example the final game would have said "4 pictures of PIKACHU have been takenǃ".

Pre-release (Early) Pre-release (Later) Final Pokémon Album
Pokemonsnap SelectionCameraCheckPrerelease.jpg Pokemonsnap LaterCameraCheckPrerelease.jpg Pokemonsnap SelectionCameraCheckFinal.jpg

A later design for the early Camera Check's photo selection. The text in the picture here says アルバムに いれる (Put in the Album) and the green pop-up underneath it translates to インデックスに もどる (Return to Index). The sentence in the text box is partially covered by the IGN logo, but the sentence "じゃじんって むずかしいなあ。" ("Ah, this picture looks so difficult!") can still be read. Please note that the translation may not be accurate, due to some kanjis being obscured.

Pre-release Final
Pokemonsnap photos.jpg Pokemonsnap CameraCheckFinal.png.png

An early design for the Camera Check completely different from the one seen in the final game or the IGN video. This version notably displays 12 pictures at a time instead of 6 and resembles an open book. The three options here are しゃしんをみる (Look at a picture), リトライ (Retry), and けんきゅうじょへ (To the Laboratory). The four squares above them translate to しんしゅ (New Species), じかん (Time), しゅるい (Type / Category), and のとり99まい (99 Remaining).

Gameplay Differences

Pre-release Final
Pokemonsnap FilmVariantPrerelease.jpg Pokemonsnap FilmFinal.png
  • The HUD displaying the number of photos you could still take worked differently. The film band would indeed slowly scroll open the more pictures you take, revealing numbers from 6 to 1. While what happens when the band reaches "0" is never shown, at 0:48 you can see it start to retract, potentially loading a new band. That way, maybe the game used to work by 10 bands of 6 pictures, instead of the much simpler final HUD which simply displays a counter going from 60 to 0 decreasing each time you take a picture.
  • As mentioned earlier, you have to manually select the item you would like to use from the item slot, instead of having each item being mapped to a certain button on the controller.


  • The photo menu was significantly different to the final.
  • A strip of film with the number "/120" appears in these two screenshots. It may have been used as a counter limit for taking photos.

Early Environments

The level seen in this video is unlike anything in the final game, both in terms of design and Pokémon distribution, and the fact the footage is disorganized doesn't really help with identifying the placement of each. The following is a possible "map" of this level; the text in bold is just suppositionː

Timestamps Description Pokémon Encountered
The level starts in the plain and the player drives through it for a bit.
0:03 - 0:07 The player drives through a small plain with a few firs, some bushes, and a cream-colored path.
The player continues through the plain.
0:26 - 0:32 A plain with a few bushes, a cream-colored path, and a small bridge leading up into an area with some firs. Encounter with a Bulbasaur.
0:08 - 0:14 The player drives up a bridge into a forest with a green path.
The player continues into a thicker part of the forest.
0:14 - 0:18 The player leaves the thicker part of the forest and enters a small clearing. Encounter with a Mankey.
0:33 - 0:41 The player leaves the thicker part of the forest and enters a small clearing. Encounter with a Snorlax.
0:19 - 0:25 A clearing with a few bushes, some firs, and a cream-colored path. Encounter with an Ekans.
0:50 - 0:57 A clearing with a few bushes, some firs behind us, and a cream-colored path. Encounter with a Squirtle.
The player continues into the clearing before entering a thick forest again.
0:42 - 0:49 The player leaves the forest by crossing a small river/water-filled ravine via a bridge. Encounter with a Pidgey.
The player enters the savannah and drives through it a little.
0:57 - 1:01 A savannah with a few trees, some bushes, yellowish grass, and a cream-colored path. Encounter with two Pikachu.
1:02 - 1:09 A savannah with a few bushes, some trees, yellowish grass, and a cream-colored path. Encounter with two Meowth.
The player keeps driving through the savannah and eventually reaches the end of the level.

It is interesting to note that this level really conveys the idea of a safari trip, with part of the level being set in a savannah. Maybe this stage was simply a proof of concept or a test level used to convey the goal of the game to the public/press. As a side note, Sandshrew was found in the savannah part of the level according to pre-release screenshots.

Early Pokémon

Throughout the game's development, certain Pokémon had a few differences when compared to their final counterpart, either in terms of appearance or behaviorː

  • Ekans is present, whereas it's nowhere to be found in the final version. If it was present in the final, it would make for a total of 64 Pokémon in the game.
  • Snorlax can be seen standing up and striking a pose for the camera, which is never seen in the final.
  • A Pidgey can be seen standing on the ground before flying off, whereas they are always seen flying in the final game.
  • Meowth has a different, rather silly walk cycle.
Pre-release Final
Pokemonsnap SquirtlePrerelease.png SnapSquirtleClubNintendo.png Pokemon-Snap-Squirtle.png
  • This screenshot shows Squirtle with a facial expression never seen in the final game. The design of the eye texture appears to be different from the final one, with the pupils being longer and the irises being smaller.
Pre-release Final
Pokemonsnap PikachuPrerelease.jpg Pokemonsnap PikachuFinal.png
  • This screenshot shows Pikachu with a facial expression never seen in the final game.
Pre-release Final
Pokemonsnap pikachusclose.jpg SnapPikachuClubNintendo.png Pokemonsnap PikachuFinal.png
  • A closer look at what appears to be an early model of Pikachu where the brown part of the tail reaches higher than in the final game.