Nintendo Sics Lawyers To Take Down Fan-Made FPS 'Pokemon' Game Footage

from the nintendon't dept

At this point, posts about Nintendo getting fan-made games or content removed from the internet over IP concerns are evergreen. Nobody should be surprised by this shit any more, though you should still be either very angry about it, or at least disappointed. The company is almost a caricature of an IP maximalist company: anything and everything that even comes close to touching its IP gets thrown at the company lawyers to deal with. It’s bad enough to be parodied by the general public. This is where I remind you that companies like Nintendo have a wide spectrum of avenues for responding to fanworks. Depending on the IP in question, the company could do any of the following besides going legal: let fans have their fun, issue zero-dollar or cheap licenses to fans to legitimize their work, or incorporate fanworks into official releases by either licensing or employing these fans. Plenty of other companies have taken these routes, or others, and have survived just fine. Nintendo never does this.

And so, here we are again with Nintendo getting footage of an unreleased fan-game disappeared from the internet, citing copyright. In this instance, one fan made a first person shooter game in the Unreal Engine so you can go hunting Pokémon as violently as possible.

For the past month, Reddit user Dragon_GameDev2 has been working on a side project imagining a PC Pokémon game, built using Unreal Engine, that you played in first-person.

While your thoughts may now be drifting towards something resembling Pokemon Snap, Dragon_GameDev2 had more violent plans for this game. He instead showed off some videos where players were dropped into a Pokémon-filled landscape, given modern firearms, and set free to hunt (and defend themselves from) as many of the pocket monsters as they liked.

Now, were it not for Nintendo’s reputation, someone might be able to convince me that the bloody, violent murder of video game Pokémon might have been the impetus for Nintendo’s actions here. After all, the Pokémon series is very much not in the style of Doom or Quake. But that reputation does exist and I don’t believe for a second that the violence depicted here has anything to do with the takedowns.

Those takedowns, by the way, are not of the game itself. Rather, images and videos of the game being played that were shared on the internet is what was disappeared. Can Nintendo do this legally? Probably, though I could certainly make a fair use argument for it. Perhaps not a perfect one, but an argument nonetheless. But again, the question isn’t so much can Nintendo do stuff like this, but should it?

This sucks, just like it always does, because unlike many other major international companies, Nintendo seems utterly unwilling—or even unable—to differentiate between commercial projects that infringe on their copyrights and fan-made playthings that are free and made for fun.

That, of course, is nonsense. Nintendo absolutely can make this differentiation. It chooses not to. Don’t take that agency away from a company that worked quite hard to build a reputation for itself for absolutely hating its fans’ attempt to express their fandom.

Nintendo isn’t confused. Nintendo hates you. Or, at least, it hates what some of you do in the name of your love for the company.

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Comments on “Nintendo Sics Lawyers To Take Down Fan-Made FPS 'Pokemon' Game Footage”

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This comment has been deemed funny by the community.
Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

The humor of that comment has a half-life of about 2 seconds. Even then, that humor is a far cry from what we usually tag as “funny” around these parts. After all, the Techdirt commentariat has a golden eye for the best of the best. Marking the funniest posts as such is something of a call of duty for us around here. That said, I won’t leave you left for dead⁠—you’ll get a Funny vote from me.

This comment has been deemed funny by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

The effectiveness of the puns in this comment is rocket leagues ahead of anything else for at least a fortnite! I wish I could be as clever but minecraft is less refined… I should just stop and take a deep breathe of the wild and accept my mediocrity.

This comment has been deemed funny by the community.
Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I am something of a vanguard in that regard, I admit. But the commentariat as a whole is, by and far, a veritable league of legends in their own right. That said, I do have to remain humble⁠—earthbound, you might say⁠—so I don’t metaphorically fly too close to the sun like that kid Icarus.

Anonymous Coward says:

The #1 rule for indie projects that use someone else’s IP is to never advertise it until it’s done and then release it into the wild quietly so multiple sources can grab and seed a copy before the lawyers get wind of it and shut it down. Unfortunately, this means it’s beneficial not to put your real name on it or any name that is traceable to you, especially if you want to be able to release updates.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

What you always have to remember is that most people don’t know or care about what’s happening here. Every single disappointed tech nerd and mod fan could boycott them for life, and they wouldn’t see a noticeable dent in sales figures.

This is a serious issue for people who care about both the misuse of copyright and the creation of art, but for the average consumer it’s not even on their radar.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I suppose so, it’s not like the major publishers are going to want to risk getting on Nintendo’s bad side by pointing out how much they hate their fans so I could see a good amount of honest ignorance, it just gets annoying reading story after story of them backhanding their biggest fans only to have people tripping over themselves to give the company money.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

The problem I’m trying to get at is that it doesn’t matter what articles those publications decide to run. The mainstream Nintendo audience are not going to read them. The people who automatically buy the new Mario and Pokemon, or the parents/grandparents who default to Nintendo because they’re kid friendly would understand the issue even if you explained to them face to face what a big deal it is.

So, even if people who do read this stuff did a full boycott, Nintendo wouldn’t notice.

Name the issue – DRM, vendor lock-in, right to repair, section 230, etc. – it’s not just that people don’t care until they are directly affected. Most people just don’t know anything about the conversations we’re having, so it’s not going to affect their purchasing habits.

We are living in a world where Mars is facing a lawsuit about child slavery related to its cocoa supply, and the only thing that got any kind of attention is them deciding to rebrand its characters so that Tucker Carlson can whine about how he’s not as sexually attracted to them as he used to be. Why would you think that overzealous application of copyright laws against fans would make a dent in the mainstream that would lead to lost sales?

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3

the only thing that got any kind of attention is them deciding to rebrand its characters so that Tucker Carlson can whine about how he’s not as sexually attracted to them as he used to be

In a tiny bit of fairness, Tucker Carlson openly fretting to a national TV audience about the fuckability of an anthropomorphic piece of candy is objectively hilarious.

(Mars totally deserves more attention for the child labor thing, though.)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

So, even if people who do read this stuff did a full boycott, Nintendo wouldn’t notice.

That’s not so clear to me. A lot of "ordinary" people watch videos of people playing video games, whether for entertainment or to learn how to play those games. If the people making those videos boycotted Nintendo and told everyone why, I think they could have some notable impact. Remember the SOPA blackouts? They didn’t convince ordinary people to stop funding the MAFIAA who were pushing the laws, but they did have an impact.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

"A lot of "ordinary" people watch videos of people playing video games, whether for entertainment or to learn how to play those games"

A lot, but not a significant majority, at least as far as I’m aware. A blackout wouldn’t affect people who never watch the videos, and it’s unlikely to truly affect people whose only exposure to gaming is when they pick up the new new Mario/Zelda/Pokemon game.

Such activity would be good, but I doubt it would have a large impact, especially on a subject like this where it’s trivially easy to spin it to make the fans look like the bad guys to people who don’t follow such things (literally, all they need to do is equate them to counterfeiters. Not true, but easy to do without a great deal of mainstream comeback).

Wyrm (profile) says:

> This sucks, just like it always does, because unlike many other major international companies, Nintendo seems utterly unwilling—or even unable—to differentiate between commercial projects that infringe on their copyrights and fan-made playthings that are free and made for fun.

That, of course, is nonsense. Nintendo absolutely can make this differentiation. It chooses not to.

That’s exactly what the source said: "unwilling" is their first choice or words.

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