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Nintendo and attacks on ROM sharing/emulation

2 emeralds8 replies145 views
created 12/13/2018 11:54 am by AGTRigorMortis
last reply 12/14/2018 3:14 am
I have to say I agree with PCWorld on this one

I'm disappointed by Nintendo's actions towards file sharing, when the gamer community have actually done a far better job at preserving video game history than Nintendo and other companies themselves.

Sega allowed Atgames to produce unworthy and atrocious Genesis/Mega Drive clones with crappy, inaccurate emulation that sound nothing like the original, while people who developed open source emulators, like Steve Snake's Kega Fusion, is so close to the original hardware you can't really tell the difference unless you're a purist snob and a programmer.

Nintendo released some high quality licensed clones such as the SNES and NES mini consoles, but compared to the actual game library that existed for the original versions of those systems, there isn't much on them. 30 games on NES and only 20 on SNES.

Yes Virtual Console still exists on the 3DS and Wii U, but for how long? they're shutting that down on Wii in 2019, so there's very good reason to believe that Nintendo will not be hosting eshop and VC on 3DS forever, it's guaranteed that too will suffer the same fate someday.

Look, I understand a company has to protect their intellectual properties, but attacking websites that are hosting games that were made for discontinued hardware achieves nothing, all it's doing is further proving how toxic Nintendo is when it comes to retro games and that they along with various other companies are unwilling to put in the effort into preserving the back catalogue themselves.

If Nintendo keeps attacking ROM sharing websites, they will almost certainly lose customers in the end, I'm not the only one, I have friends who feel the same, and there's lots of other people on forums who don't like Nintendo's attitude towards this either, see the Polygon forum.

Nintendo needs to put some thought into this matter and stop appealing to emotion.
Because of the internet, retro gaming is here to stay, perhaps for the remainder of human existence, either legally or illegally, this is a fact. Nintendo needs to embrace emulation and retro gaming, not try to destroy it.
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Level 6 : Apprentice Miner

8 replies

12/14/2018 3:14 am
Level 6 : Apprentice Miner
And for the record for those reading this thread.

I own legal licenses/copies of the games in my collection
I've got a decent collection of Virtual Console games on my Wii U and 3DS, and I also purchased the NES and SNES mini. But all I'm saying is I see both sides of the argument when it comes to ROM sharing websites.

Wii Virtual Console is shutting down in 2019, so it's quite obvious that Nintendo don't intend on making their retro games available for purchase and download indefinitely.
12/13/2018 6:06 pm
Level 23 : Expert Artist
From the way a friend of mine from Xbox LIVE(Who is a huge Godzilla fan) who grew up in Japan while his family served the US Military on the Okinawa Military Installation explained Japanese Copyright to me, apparently when a company in Japan has it's IP threatened and it finds out, it has to take action to correct it or it loses the copyright and other rights to said IP. He explained this is why Toho was so suehappy and whenever anything even somewhat representing Godzilla showed up and he found out, he was quick to sue, to protect his IP.

Unfortunately, Nintendo is doing the same and this isn't the only example of it. Look at what happened with the Super Mario Bros. X project when Super Mario Maker came out. For those who don't know, Super Mario Bros. X was a PC game editor that allowed you to make your own Super Mario 2, 3, and World Levels with ALL of the game elements from all the games included. Nintendo went after it because of the IP ordeal as well as that they proclaimed that SMBX threatened Super Mario Maker's profits.

Did Nintendo have all of the elements to work with in Super Mario Maker? No, they did not. People have requested many things, such as the Athletic Theme from Super Mario World, larger levels, and other missing elements that were from Super Mario World and Super Mario Bros. Some people were also upset that you had to unlock some of the elements to use as well. If SMBX threatened Super Mario Maker's profits, it is because SMBX was downright better, having more capabilities, more elements to work with, no level size limit, and everything was available from the getgo.

So, Nintendo is trying to protect it's IP again unfortunately. Now I have seen some people do some amazing things with ROMs and emulators. The largest example I can think of is Vinny from Vinesauce, who uses them to create corruptions and showcase other people's corruptions and has had seven annual events raising money for a charitable cause with them (For sick children).

Also, digital preservation of the games is important (Down to the way they played), as not everybody is going to have the physical hardware to play said games, and some older games nowadays go for Triple Digit Values (Earthbound is a fantastic example). Also, digitally preserving these games extends their lifetime and also allows for Speedruns to be performed as well by Speedrunning communities who use ROMs and Emulators. ROMs and Emulators also aren't limited to a small handful of games either, so if ROMs and Emulators threaten the profits of the Mini NES and SNES, once again, it is because ROMs and Emulators have more capabilities, more options, longer lifespan, and aren't anywhere as limited. I'm starting to see a pattern here. People want more and when Nintendo releases a legal variant, they attack the illegal variant and give their fanbase less with the legal variant.

So while it is illegal and Nintendo is protecting it's IP, it gives Nintendo some room to improve if they decide to do so and that is a big if. Also keep in mind Nintendo also goes after content played on Youtube as well to make an attempt to claim it for their own profit, so in that case, follow what Jim Sterling has shown in one of his videos in order to create a Copyright Deadlock where Nintendo of America puts a claim on the video as well as Nintendo of Japan. This way, more than one source tries to claim it and it deadlocks profit for the video, preventing Nintendo as a whole from earning profit from one's video.

Even Vinny from Vinesauce's videos get targeted quite a bit and taken down. He has been saying a lot more lately in his videos "Nintendo, please don't kill." to get across to Nintendo not to try to take down his video. Super Mario 64 Chaos Edition was just reuploaded a couple of days ago after being taken down.

Also, why isn't Nintendo reaching out to people who do use their IP to make custom games and content to try to hire them if they do good enough of a job? It would be a great way to grow as a company and show that they do care about their fanbase and their creativity. This would be a better alternative to a Cease and Desist on fanbase content, especially if it is of quality.
12/13/2018 4:38 pm
Level 6 : Apprentice Crafter
Still salty they took down EMUparadise
12/14/2018 2:48 am
Level 6 : Apprentice Miner
The point is Nintendo and other companies need to come up with solutions if they want people to purchase these games legally. Gamecube doesn't exist on eshop yet, and on the Nintendo Switch all they have are NES games, SNES if you count that one game that you got as a bonus for purchasing Dragonball FighterZ by Bandai Namco Entertainment, which wasn't Nintendo's IP to start with.

Otherwise they are not making a sound argument as to why people shouldn't download their ROM's illegally. The fact is a lot of these old games in the form of cartridges are becoming rare, and the publishers and developers do not financially benefit from preowned sales, only new sales.
12/13/2018 6:12 pm
Level 51 : Grandmaster Grump
If you don't aggressively defend your copywritten content, you're setting a legal precedent for your company that you don't really care. This can mean losing cases where someone is doing something they know is bad for bad reasons and they're likely to use those precedents you set against you.
12/14/2018 3:01 am
Level 6 : Apprentice Miner
Theft is wrong not because content is being copied
it's wrong because it deprives the rightful owners of that belonging and causes financial hardship for them.

If something isn't being sold anymore, then how is it damaging to the company that owns it if it is being digitally distributed even illegally on the internet? that literally makes no sense. This is where they lose the ethical argument, you can't steal something that wasn't there in the first place.

and this is the case for content that is discontinued, i.e outdated console games.
Virtual Console on Wii is shutting down in year 2019, making it impossible to rebuy or download those.

If Nintendo and other companies want to stop piracy, then the most effective way to do that is to make these products available for purchase again through some digital distribution, and so far on the Nintendo Switch they've done a poor job of it, it's one of the complaints about their online besides the lack of voice chat.

This isn't about defending piracy
it's about common sense and having realistic expectations.
12/13/2018 5:21 pm
Level 2 : Apprentice Miner
I mean, it IS illegal. I find it odd to see someone saying they understand a company's need to protect it's IP and then going on to say that the same company needs to embrace the unauthorized use, alteration and redistribution of that IP. Nintendo owns those games, the images and code associated with them, and it has built an empire off them. Sure it would be nice if they made something public-use and let people change and re-make it however they want but once you give away mario you're no longer the only person who has mario so keeping even IP protected even when written for 'obsolete' products is still important since that original code and original images served as the foundation for all the derivative work that came after.

If Nintendo allowed a people to make a retro mario game inevitably someone would make the 'best' possible emulation and would rise popularity for how well it preserves and maintains the game. The thing is this person isn't becoming famous for something they created, they're only gaining notoriety because of what Nintendo created. Maybe the person even gives the game away for free and just gets paid by add revenue for their downloads, or traffic on their site- it doesn't matter: they're still profiting from Nintendo's IP. Even if the person made no monetary gain whatsoever (Gave it away free, no adds or download revenue) it still wouldn't be in Nintendo's best interest to allow it since the popularity generated by the emulator would probably be enough for a fledgling game designer to draw attention to some of their other products- competition created through the use of their own IP.

I've been playing video games since before any system could even be called retro and this has always been the nature of the beast. I have never known of any major game distributor to authorize, accept or allow changes to its product. I used to love doing stuff like hacking Goldeneye to try to add multiplayer co-op but even back then I knew I wasn't really allowed to be doing that and even when I succeed I never shared with more than a couple of friends because it's illegal. This isn't just the gaming industry though, Apple has been known to check for unapproved hardware and brick a phone if you got a cracked screen replaced by someone else and I can remember one case where Disney
shut down a day care center and drove it into bankruptcy for having a painting of the Disney Princesses on it's wall. Saying they shouldn't be shutting down websites that share pirated ROMs is like saying that the police shouldn't shut down pirate sites for movies- that's what they do, enforce the law.

Now don't get me wrong, I love emulators. I have a hacked Wii sitting next to me with hundreds of games on it from Atari-n64 but I also accept the fact that I've violated the terms of use for this Wii and if something goes wrong I'll get no support from Nintendo. The games on that Wii are unauthorized redistributions of several different companies' IP and I really don't expect them to be okay with it, I did it because I wanted to. I feel like if anything we need to accept the fact the we are the counter-culture, no different than a movie pirate, and start using VPNs to download from decentralized networks just like other pirates.
12/14/2018 2:40 am
Level 6 : Apprentice Miner
"I mean, it IS illegal. I find it odd to see someone saying they understand a company's need to protect it's IP and then going on to say that the same company needs to embrace the unauthorized use, alteration and redistribution of that IP. Nintendo owns those games, the images and code associated with them, and it has built an empire off them."

You do realise that Virtual Console is emulation too right? I hope you do, because that's exactly the method they were using in order to get old generation console games to work on 3DS and Wii U. Yes that version of emulation and all the ROMs on VC are legal, but that still is consistent with the point I made about embracing emulation.

Nintendo and the other companies associated with them aren't embracing this, if they were, then Virtual Console and all the content that exists on it would be on the Nintendo Switch. Instead we're only getting something like 3 or 4 NES games a month on Nintendo Online subscription.

as for the cries about it being illegal to pirate games for discontinued products, appeal to emotion. Nintendo are fighting a losing battle, they have legal grounds to take the sites down, but each time they do, I guarantee you a new one will almost certainly take its place, this has nothing to do with me defending piracy, this is just how the internet works and it always has since file sharing became a thing, and this doesn't take into account all the counterfeit consoles that have pirated ROM's on them being sold on Ebay and Amazon.

Like it or not, gamers have actually done a better job at preserving video game history than Nintendo and other companies. If it wasn't for the ROM sharing websites there's a fairly high chance that many of those ROM's would've ceased to exist once the original cartridges became too rare or all worn out.

You've got to look at both sides of the argument, not just look at it from a legal standpoint. Just because something is illegal doesn't automatically make it unethical or wrong.




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