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Super 3D Noah's Ark (also known as Super Noah's Ark 3D or Super 3-D Noah's Ark) is a 1994 video game, originally developed and published by Wisdom Tree and released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and DOS, and later re-released on Steam for Microsoft Windows, macOS and GNU/Linux.
Super 3D Noah's Ark is the only unlicensed Super Nintendo Entertainment System video game ever released. To play this game a second SNES cartridge must be attached to the top of the Super 3D Noah's Ark cart and then inserted into a SNES, much like how SEGA's Sonic the Hedgehog 3 attached to the Sonic & Knuckles cart. Rumor has it that id Software gave the Wolfenstein 3D's source code to Wisdom Tree as retribution against Nintendo for making them remove all of the gore from that game. id Software maintains that Wisdom Tree paid a fair price for the code.
The game that would eventually become Super 3D Noah's Ark was originally conceived as a licensed game based on the movie Hellraiser, a movie that Wisdom Tree founder Dan Lawton was a great fan of. Wisdom Tree acquired the game rights to Hellraiser for $50,000, along with a license to use the Wolfenstein 3D game engine from id Software, believing that the fast, violent action of Wolfenstein would be a good match for the mood of the film. Development initially began on the Nintendo Entertainment System, with Wisdom Tree intending to ship the game on a special cartridge that came equipped with a co-processor that could increase the system's RAM and processing speed several times over.
Eventually, the Hellraiser game concept was abandoned due to several issues: the hardware of the NES was found unsuitable because of its low colour palette and the addition of a co-processor would have made the cartridge far too expensive for consumers. By the time the first prototype was finished, Doom had already been released, so developing for the NES was considered a lost cause. In addition, the management at Wisdom Tree decided that developing and publishing a horror-themed game would clash with their religious, family-friendly image. With these factors in mind, Wisdom Tree decided to let their Hellraiser license expire, transfer development to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, and redesign the game with a Christian theme, eventually coming up with a game about Noah's Ark.
As the game was not officially sanctioned by Nintendo, Wisdom Tree devised a pass-through system similar to the Game Genie to bypass the system's copy protection, where the player had to insert an officially licensed SNES game into the cartridge slot on top of the Super 3D Noah's Ark cartridge.
Connection to id Software
According to rumours, id Software, angered with Nintendo of America's censorship in the SNES version of Wolfenstein 3D, gave the source code for that game to Wisdom Tree as a type of revenge for the company to make an unofficial clone to mock them. In fact, Wisdom Tree purchased the license to the engine themselves from id Software, who considered Wisdom Tree just another licensor for their technology. The game was not a commercial success and is ultimately considered a clone of Wolfenstein 3D. It was most commonly sold in Christian bookstores.
Super 3D Noah's Ark is an action-packed romp aboard Noah's Ark. You control Noah has he attempts to put the restless and horny animals to sleep with his abundant supply of food, but watch out; if the animals bite you too much you'll die. Nah, just kiddin', that would scare the kids. Instead of dying, when you get a game over in this game you fall asleep! Oh Noes!
- Super 3D Noah's Ark on Steam
- Super 3D Noah's Ark on SteamDB
- Super 3D Noah's Ark at Encyclopedia Obscura
- Information on Super 3D Noah's Ark and Wisdom Tree
- About Color Dreams/Wisdom Tree