And Now Comes The Pushback As One ROMs Site Is Challenging Nintendo's Takedown Of ROM Sites
from the rom-com dept
Over the past few weeks, we’ve discussed Nintendo’s tortured relationship with fans of its retro offerings. As a starting point, after years of pretty much ignoring the demand for retro games offered for earlier versions of its consoles, Nintendo finally produced an offering for retro consoles loaded with some but not all of the games from the eight and sixteen bit eras. Before this official offering, Nintendo’s ignoring the market had for years produced a wide range of websites that allowed gamers to engage in their nostalgia by playing old games no longer available via emulators and ROMs of those games. Nintendo’s retro consoles successfully competed with these free games by producing a great product. Despite that success, Nintendo has since gone on a campaign against some of the highest profile ROM sites out there, suing some and allowing that lawsuit to serve as enough of a threat to simply get other sites to voluntarily take Nintendo ROMs down. These sites, which had essentially served to compile and record video game history that Nintendo refused to do itself, suddenly began disappearing.
There was always going to be some kind of a backlash to this. And, now, one site is signaling that its ready to fight Nintendo, going so far as to taunt the company with a forthcoming offering for retro game ROMs.
While these decisions are understandable, not everyone is equally impressed by the show of legal force. The niche pirate site ‘Good Old Downloads,’ for example, sees the ROMs controversy as a good opportunity to expand its catalog. With retro games.
The new section is “coming soon” according to the site’s homepage. While no further details are listed, it is now linked to a Tweet which makes it rather clear what motivated ‘Good Old Downloads’ to add retro-titles. The tweet embeds a video showing recent press coverage of the Nintendo lawsuit and the related shutdowns. Towards the end, it shows a clip from “Age of Ultron” where Thanos’ face is replaced by the site’s logo.
“Fine, I’ll do it myself,” he says.
Now, let’s be clear about a couple of things. First, Good Old Downloads is absolutely a site for pirating video games. It’s unambiguous in that. Nothing in this post is to suggest that what the site is doing is legal, or even morally okay. It isn’t. What should be clear is that the site’s move comes as the we’re still waiting for a settlement between Nintendo and the ROMs site and in the immediate wake of other sites taking their own ROMs down. In other words, this is the first but almost certainly not the last site to dig its heels in and challenge Nintendo’s takedown efforts.
Which is ultimately the point of this post: Nintendo’s focus on putting a genie back in the bottle when that will never happen is both futile and pointless. Pointless because Nintendo is already successfully competing with these ROM sites. And futile because these files are still available roughly everywhere on the internet.
That said, ROMs haven’t been particularly hard to find through traditional pirate sources. For example, shortly after Nintendo announced its lawsuit, one Demonoid user uploaded torrents featuring thousands of ROMs to the site, including tiles belonging to the Japanese game giant.
This isn’t even whac-a-mole. It’s more like trying to fill up the ocean with all the grains of sand on the beach. There’s a great deal of work to be done to keep you busy, but you’ll never achieve your goal. So why bother?