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The Contra Game You've Never Played

Contra: Rogue Corps is set to release in September 2019, and unless you work at Konami, you've likely not gotten your hands on it yet. But did you know there's another Contra game you might not have played? A Contra that is lost to all but those who own a really old smartphone or an even older arcade cabinet? There is.

The game is called Contra: Evolution, and it is, for all intents and purposes, an upgraded version of the very first Contra. It sports crisp HD graphics, additional playable characters, and — in the mobile version — microtransactions. Because you can't have a mobile game without those. Actually, these days, you can barely have a video game anywhere without those. But that's beside the point.

Contra: Evolution first debuted on Chinese mobile phones in 2010 before making its way to arcades in the country in 2011. And yes, believe it or not, Contra: Evolution did come West at one point, shipping on both iOS and Android in 2013. Unfortunately, Konami pulled support for the title in 2015, and it vanished from both app stores, which means the only way you can play Contra: Evolution now is by searching far and wide for an Android version you can sideload, or by playing on one of the arcade cabinets made for China.

Good news, though: there just happens to be an arcade in the United States that has a legit Contra: Evolution cabinet. Galloping Ghost Arcade — based in Brookfield, Ill. — managed to secure one after a lengthy search, posting in August 2019 that it had managed to find a dealer in China who was willing to sell. So if you make your way to Illinois and want to play a Contra arcade game most haven't even heard of, the Galloping Ghost Arcade in Brookfield has what you're looking for.

The next game in the Contra seriesContra: Rogue Corps, arrives on Sept. 24, 2019 for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.