|Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Beta|
|Developer|| Sonic Team|
Sega Technical Institute
|Console||Sega Mega Drive|
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Beta (also known as the Simon Wai Prototype) is a widely distributed prototype of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for the Sega Mega Drive, which features an array of incomplete zones. It was found by Simon Wai on a Chinese website.
This particular prototype of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is one of the most popular examples of a prototype video game making its way to the public through piracy. However, this is official Sega software, albeit with some common pirate modifications (removal of logo/copyright info).
The prototype was pirated onto cartridges after the Super Magic Drive copier came onto the market, which was the main device that helped in starting up piracy of Mega Drive games in Asia and South America. According to Yuji Naka, the prototype was stolen at a New York toy fair in 1992. It was then pirated and sold several months before the final game was released, making its way onto the market in Asia and even rental shops in Brazil.
Despite its piracy in 1992, it wasn't until May 1999 when Simon Wai found the ROM on a Chinese Geocities page that the prototype's existence became more widely known, which led to him creating a website documenting the ROM and its differences from the final game.
- The ROM Wai found was titled MD8123.smd, the syntax for games dumped by the Super Magic Drive: "MD" for a Mega Drive game, "8" for an 8-megabit cartridge, "123" as the 123rd ROM dumped with that specific copier, and "smd" an acronym for Super Magic Drive.
- The dumped ROM may not have come directly from a pirate (or the original) cartridge, but rather a floppy disk containing a dump from a pirate cartridge (or an altered dump of the original cartridge) made for the Super Magic Drive. Back when the copier was sold, retailers would often sell games along with it in this fashion.
- The pirates removed the SEGA logo that would normally appear at the start of the game, although it still appears after beating Emerald Hill Zone.
- A prototype Sonic 2 was played twice on the Nickelodeon game show Nick Arcade in 1992 (hence known as the "Nick Arcade prototype"). This was earlier than the Wai prototype, and was built directly off of Sonic 1. Both prototypes and several near-final, post-Wai prototypes have been dumped and made available online.