Enlarge / A scene from Another Metroid 2 Remake, one of many fan games recently taken offline by Nintendo DMCA requests.reader comments 41
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Online game distributor Game Jolt has removed over 500 fan games from its public pages after it says it received a DMCA request from Nintendo, highlighting a more-focused crackdown on such games from the 3DS and Wii U maker.
The DMCA request, which has been republished by Game Jolt in the name of transparency, focuses on fan games that use the characters, names, and locations of the Mario, Zelda, and Pokemon franchises.
The list of affected games ranges from standard copyright and trademark infringement like Mario Minecraft and Pokemon: PewdiePie Edition to more explicitly brand-damaging titles like Mario on Drugs and Pokemon: Death Version.
Game Jolt says affected titles will still be accessible by the creators in a “locked” mode, to ensure no one loses access to their own data.
A Nintendo representative was not immediately available to respond to a request for comment from Ars.
Game makers using legal requests to take down fan-made homages is nothing new in the industry; many such games are halted by cease-and-desist letters before they can even be released, in fact. Nintendo alone has issued takedown requests for dozens of fan games in the last few years, including an intriguing HD remake of Super Mario 64.
But the wide-ranging Game Jolt DMCA notice follows a couple of other takedowns for especially high-profile and anticipated Nintendo-based fan games in recent weeks.
They also come on top of a hardline stance from Nintendo on other uses of its games online, from strict limits on monetization of its games on YouTube to exerted authority over use of its titles in public tournaments.
Last month, Nintendo took action to shut down Pokemon Uranium, a fan game that had just been released after nine years of community effort. “After receiving more than 1,500,000 downloads of our game, we have been notified of multiple takedown notices from lawyers representing Nintendo of America,” the creators said in a statement. “While we have not personally been contacted, it’s clear what their wishes are, and we respect those wishes deeply.”
At a glance, Pokemon Uranium is pretty hard to distinguish from an official Nintendo release.
Also last month, Another Metroid 2 Remake (AM2R) was finally released online a full eight years after it was first announced. Just a few days later, the game’s creator was hit with DMCA requests on all of his official download hosts (though the game can still be found elsewhere online).
Despite that request, AM2R‘s creator, who goes by DoctorM64 online, said he was committed to continuing to update the game for people who did manage to download a copy.
In fact, he had already made one such update available through his website.
But today, after a further DMCA request sent to his personal e-mail, DoctorM64 announced that “there will be no more AM2R updates and no more releases under any platform.”
Speaking to Ars Technica, DoctorM64 said that while he “knew that any form of legal action was a possibility” during his years working on the game, he was still surprised when his hosts got hit with DMCA requests so soon after the long-awaited initial release. “The game became very popular in 2008, and I expected a similar amount of attention upon release.
I also expected the same amount of legal issues as in 2008: none.”
DoctorM64 told Ars he’s considering using the knowledge gained from AM2R to work on a completely new, non-infringing project.
And despite the headaches from Nintendo, DoctorM64 said he harbors no ill will toward a company that he says is just protecting its work. “Please, don’t hate Nintendo for all of this,” he wrote in a blog post. “It’s their legal obligation to protect their IP.”
“Nintendo is a company with a very orthodox view on IP management,” DoctorM64 told Ars. “I like to think that some day, Nintendo might realize how fans and YouTubers can be beneficial for their brands.”