Is 2021 the year for lost games returning? Noah’s Ark, a NES platformer that was unreleased in the USA (but available in Europe) has just appeared on Steam for Windows. But why? And more importantly, why was it banned in the US? We’re going to attempt to answer both questions.
First, why was it re-released: we don’t know. Piko Interactive has published Noah’s Ark on Steam, adding it to the already huge roster ot retro titles. So, uh… money? (Don’t worry it gets better…)
Second, why was it banned in the USA? Well it seems that Nintendo of America has a ban on games including religious references. Not many games were released in Europe but not the US, which makes this quite an unusual game. Here’s the description, straight from Steam:
Noah has been commanded by God to put two of each animal aboard his ark to save them from the flood. However unhappy people from around the world have captured different animal species, preventing Noah from doing his job. Noah will need to visit these different locations and free the animals from the people holding them captive.
Noah’s Ark is a side scrolling action game. The player, as Noah, must choose which level from several world locations to play. Once in a level, Noah can move left right, duck, jump and fire pellets directly in front of him. These pellets can be used to defeat enemy creatures and uncover hidden items. At the end of each level, Noah will encounter a stronger enemy creature who must be defeated. Noah’s ultimate goal is to rescue the designated captive animals listed for each level.
The unusual thing about this is that while the description and title are quite heavily based on the Old Testament telling of the Great Flood, little else is. The game itself is a simple platformer, with no in-game religious references beyond the main character’s name.
Speaking of Noah, he’s quite the action hero, jumping and, um, shooting his way around the Ark. He can also swim and transform into animals and objects. Displaying in 4:3 mode, Noah’s Ark can be played with an Xbox One controller, but it is a basic gaming experience with save states or even saved high scores.
Check it out if you fancy the game for completion or intrigue, or just watch the clip above.
Gaming since 1984, retro gaming since 2004. Contributes to Linux Format magazine and MakeUseOf.com.