An abstract background with Static Shock and the text of the title

I am an amateur digital archivist. In my Plex Home Media Server is a collection of TV commercials I grew up with, and I actively try to grow that collection when I find high quality recordings from my childhood media. I do it for nostalgia, but also for preservation. It is easy to assume the things we grew up with will always be around if we ever want to go back and experience them again, but that is not always the case. A shocking amount of content, especially in the early 2000’s was destroyed or lost simply due to the fact that it was when we began to transition to digital media.

Luckily, when we do find “missing” content, we have the Internet Archive as a safe-haven for content that would otherwise be lost to time. Although we should not rely on this single source forever, it’s a great way to find and share content between others who can also archive it locally, today.

But what do you do when you are searching for something that is not on the Internet Archive? What if you are searching for something that was never even released?

Static Shock for Gameboy Advance

Game box art for the Static Shock GBA game

In May 2004, a video game based on the popular DC animated series Static Shock was set to be released for the Gameboy Advance. Growing up, Static Shock was one of my favorite cartoons, but I must admit, I do not remember any mention of this game, and that might be for good reason. Though some users online have reported remembering seeing ads for this game, it was never actually released. For one reason or another (potentially financial issues), the game was cancelled and an official version never made it to stores.

And this wasn’t a game that was cancelled while in development, it was either complete for very near complete. The game was even reviewed by Nintendo Power, or at least that’s what a few people on the internet claimed. Luckily, the Internet Archive has the full collection of every Nintendo Power magazine ever released, so I was able to confirm this. On the Internet Archive you can perform a full-text search, which is where I was able to find this review from March 2004, just two months before the game was supposed to release.

Review from 5 writers at Nintndo Power, rating about 4/5

The Search For Static Shock

It’s hard to know for sure when exactly the internet community became interested in this game in particular but there were no doubt a number of excited fans eagerly awaiting this game’s release, and likely noticed the lack of games on the shelves. But for most, that would be the end of the story, and the game would be forgotten. But not everyone would forget.

If you Google now, you’ll find reddit threads from around 9 years ago of users re-discovering that the game had never released, and a few members remember seeing ads for the game. On the topic of preservation, it’s very likely people were talking about this game elsewhere, maybe on internet forums or other now defunct sites, but it becomes increasingly difficult to track down these conversations as time goes on. But at this time, as far as we can see, no one has ever played the game, or had any reason to believe that maybe it could one day be found.

Perhaps even more frustrating for fans of Static Shock to this day, the character has never had much content beyond the original animated series. There was a short-lived comic series, and a few appearances in other DC comics, but no other video games, movies, or TV shows. If someone were to find a copy of this game, it would be an extremely rare jewel for fans of a series that already has very little content.

Resurfaced Review

As the years go by without much to go on other than comments of memories and a few scans from Nintendo Power magazine, until, in 2019 a small YouTube channel @G4ZDTechTV was uploading curated archived videos from G4 and TechTV and re-discovered this review with gameplay footage.

In true 2000’s gamer-tv style, the review takes place in a subway for some reason. In truth, this video has been seen less than six-thousand times, but the timing will be interesting as we will see more content begin to surface around this time. You can read in the comments of the YouTube video users writing they would kill to play this game, others asking where they can get it, disappointingly being told it was never released for otherwise found. Still, no hope for playing this game.

An Unlisted YouTube Video From A Developer? is an old-school comic book news site from 1995 that is still around and active today, with a large community forum. Earlier just this year, barely noticed by anyone, user skyvolt2000 drops an absolute bomb, and I am not even sure if they are aware of what they have shared.

CBR forum comment linking to a video

We do not know who skyvolt2000 is, or how they obtained this YouTube link, but this appeared to be the first and only time this video has been shared publicly, that Google is aware of at this time (or so I thought). Being unlisted, the only way to find this video, is with the link, it is not searchable. At the time of writing this post, this video has 225 views, and user skyvolt, claims this was posted by a developer of the game.

Digging deeper I searched rather than for the video url, just the id at the end of the video “EufWGcflwjQ”, and we can find one reference even older as a comment on a post from 2008, a user comments in 2021 a link to the unlisted video, this time a short link, which is why it didn’t come up originally. A full two years earlier, is this the origin of this link going “public”. The commenter leaves a name, but is otherwise an anonymous profile. They leave what appears to be another clue as well, possibly a musical artist who worked on the game ‘Kai Walter’.

Kai Walter mentioned as a music artist.

Who is Igor and how did they obtain the link to the video? Why did they mention the music artist? Is it possible they and Skyvolt are the same user? There are gaps in sources, but these tips keep adding up, and surprisingly, providing good leads. Kai does not appear to have any public profiles that include the ability to contact them, but we will keep this in mind for later.

Insider Preview Build

insider preview build 17.6.2003, i dont know how “complete” the game was and how much levels / maps already were included, sorry.

The video appears to have been uploaded almost exactly 3 years ago, December 15th, 2020, and shows a GameBoy Advance Emulator on what appears to be a Windows Vista machine, playing a preview build of Static Shock. Is it possible this is the version that was sent to reviewers? It’s hard to say, anyone who would have reviewed the game would not have emulated it, it would have come from a preview version of the game that could legitimately be played in the GameBoy hardware. So I think it is safe to say that this footage must be showing either a dump of that review build, or a custom build from the source code directly. Either way, we are now either 1 or 2 people removed from the ultimate source of this game, and most importantly we know it exists.

If you take a closer look at the name of the channel this was uploaded to “PVCF’s DevKid for Cryengine 1.4”, that is a bit of a long name, but we saw earlier in a comment that this channel was possibly owned by the musical artist for the game. If we search Kai Walter we can find his SounCloud! Where we can confirm, his artist name is PVCF!

So PVCF is Kai Walter, who worked on the music for Static Shock for GBA, and as recently as 3 years ago, it appears he either had a copy of some build of the game, or possibly, they could unfortunately just have an old screen recording of their work. But we have connected more dots and verified the source of the video.

Reaching Out

In one of the few comments on the video, a user asks if the uploader could share the ROM, and the uploader states

sorry bro, i’m not allowed to publish this rom / game. but you may ask (Mr. Sczepansky), it’s his Decision.

And unfortunately, a few people have reported emailing this address and not receiving a response. But, we did get two fairly significant clues from this comment. However, I feel like documenting my next steps would begin to invade on personal privacy, so I will leave it the details at that.

I have attempted to reach out to who I believe is Mr. Sczepansky via another method and briefly explained I would love to ask them a few questions. If they do not respond, I have a small list of other people I will be reaching out to.

Part 2?

It has been almost 20 years since the intended release date of this game, and it never left the minds of a small community of dedicated fans who are determined to find what little precious content there is for this franchise. I am not sure if we will ever get our hands on this game, but it’s a fascinating treasure hunt currently underway, its location is known, and I am excited to see where it goes.

Have a tip or comment to share? contact me here.

P.S. Flash Games

While we are searching for the unreleased GBA game, it is still possible to play two Flash games that were released somewhere around the same time, and have been preserved through emulation.

The Flashpoint project is an open-source project that aims to archive preserve Flash games and animations and provides an excellent interface for downloading and playing them. You can download the Flashpoint launcher here, and play find the two Static Shock games in the database here


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