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The Happy Gilmore Video Game You'll Never Get To Play

Back towards the turn of the millennium, when software developers could still run down to the corner store and buy the video game license rights to a blockbuster movie for a shiny nickel, there was an idea: A "Happy Gilmore" game, developed by Digital Eclipse, the company that would go on to slingshot about a dozen Gameboy Color adaptations of Disney and Marvel properties into the collective atmosphere in the early 2000s.

This unrealized masterpiece was unearthed recently by Mike Mika, a game development jack-of-all-trades who was working with Digital Eclipse at the time. Mika showed off an old concept flyer for the "Happy Gilmore" game on his Twitter page on July 15, 2021, 25 years and change after the movie hit theaters in February of 1996. "It should have been greenlit," he mused, "because it was a great idea."

So what would the game have been, exactly? Two and a half decades on, it's hard to know exactly, but Mika did drop some scintillating clues at what might have been.

The price was wrong for a Happy Gilmore game

Mike Mika described the "Happy Gilmore" game, touted as an Xbox exclusive and putting its development somewhere around the year 2001, as a "hybrid fighting and golf game." The exact setup wasn't explored in his Twitter thread, but commenters who pointed out the similarities to 1990's "Ninja Golf" were met with validation — apparently, the studio's tech director had worked on the cult classic pile of Atari weirdness, and the game's fight-your-way-to-the-ball premise was "totally an inspiration." Aside from that, a few other tidbits were dropped. Apparently, characters like Abraham Lincoln and the gator that took Chubbs' hand would be unlockable. No word on Mr. Larson, the guy with the nail in his head, but we can dream.

So what happened? Was this a classic case of a Hollywood ego getting in the way of a great idea? Not at all, according to Mika. Adam Sandler, to his recollection, "was on the periphery of it all- super supportive." They even teamed up to make the "Little Nicky" game for Gameboy Color in 2000, so the relationship was there. It seems like this was just one of those projects that didn't pan out. Still, hope springs eternal, and maybe one day a studio will pick up where Digital Eclipse left off, allowing a generation of gamers to putt, tackle, and throttle Bob Barker for as long as it takes to get to their happy place.