Nintendo Slays The Threat From Modded Nintendo Games For The Commodore 64

from the nintendon't dept

Any review of the recent posts we've done on gaming giant Nintendo would certainly reveal a disappointing trend. That trend appears to be the company, which has always maintained an aggressively tight grip on its IP, upping its efforts to take down all kinds of ROM sites, fan-made games, and gaming leaks. Gamers here may also already be aware that there is something of an odd fascination in gaming communities with the Commodore 64, an 8-bit gaming computer created way back in 1982 and discontinued in the early 90s. There are thriving modding and porting communities dedicated to figuring out how to get the C64 to do things it was never intended to do.

Which perhaps makes it surprising that it was only in the last week or so that someone figured out how to get a working C64 to be able to play a port of the original Super Mario Bros. The whole enterprise appears to have nothing to do with wanting to play an illicit copy of the 80s game and everything instead to do with a community of enthusiasts simply tinkering and seeing what could be pulled off for fun. Getting Mario on a Commodore apparently took something like seven years and was hailed as an achievement by the Commodore community. Reactions such as the below are indicative of the responses.

What an achievement. It runs great on my C128D, with slowdowns on the later, more busy levels. But overall, really really impressive.

You get the idea. Much better, it appears, than Nintendo does, which of course waited for the release of years of enthusiastic work before DMCAing everything it could find about this release.

Links to the image squirreled away on hosting platforms started to go down, with the suspicion that the Japanese gaming giant was behind the deletions. Seven years of hard work taken down with a few lines of text. Early this morning, the Commodore Computer Club revealed that it too had been hit with a copyright notice, effectively confirming that Nintendo was behind the action against Super Mario Bros. 64.

It doesn’t really come as a surprise that Nintendo has targeted the project. The company has been extremely busy in recent months taking down sites that offer ROMs that infringe on its copyrights. Furthermore, Super Mario Bros. is also available on its Game Boy, Wii U, and Switch platforms, so the ….erm….Commodore 64…is also a market threat.

No, it absolutely is not a threat. This is plainly ridiculous. We can stipulate all we want that Nintendo is within its rights to issue these takedowns... but why? Seriously, what the hell is the point of taking down this labor of love and geek enthusiasm? Does Nintendo truly suspect there are tons of people out there who have been sitting by with their Commodore 64s, or their emulators, just waiting for this release of Super Mario Bros. in order to play it, instead of buying it on one of Nintendo's current generation consoles?

No, of course not. This was tinkering for the sake of tinkering. Or perhaps for some bragging rights. Whatever all of this is, it's not a threat to sales of Super Mario Bros.

But Nintendo's going to Nintendo, I suppose. Because, gamers, as I keep telling you, Nintendo hates you.

Filed Under: commodore 64, dmca, fans, super mario bros
Companies: nintendo


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  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 1 May 2019 @ 7:18pm

    Memo to Nintendo:

    Just because you can does not mean you should.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Gary (profile), 1 May 2019 @ 7:22pm

    Threat to Sales

    Well I can say with certainty that I'm not going to buy a legit copy of Super Mario now. So that's -1 sales gained.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 May 2019 @ 7:56pm

      Re: Threat to Sales

      Well I can say with certainty that I'm not going to buy a legit copy of Super Mario now. So that's -1 sales gained.

      "See, this person refuses to buy our products because of the infringement! This is why we need stronger protections Mr.Congressman." - Nintendo.

      Be careful with stating crap like that.

      The copyright lobby will happily twist it to suit their needs in Congress. After all, the fact you refuse to cough up money for their releases is proof that they aren't protected enough.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 2 May 2019 @ 3:46am

      Re: Threat to Sales

      So the temporary availability of an illegitimate copy of Super Mario has cost Nintendo a customer. Can you blame them for wanting to nip further attempts in the bud, before even making news? By making an example of that reckless copier?

      You don't need to answer that. Because Nintendo's legal department already did.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Daydream, 1 May 2019 @ 7:50pm

    Oh my god.

    Oh. My. God.

    I just realised; this is anti-marketing. I'm a Nintendo fan, I have shirts and a hat and three Nintendo consoles set up in front of my TV, but after reading stuff like this, I'm ashamed and I don't want to buy any more Nintendo games (at least, not until they're discounted).

    Somehow, somewhere along the way, someone convinced the Nintendo company and its subsidiaries to pay lots of money to reduce their brand awareness and popularity in the eyes of the consumer.

    It's brilliant! Twisted genius, I say! It's paying for the privilege of being robbed! I don't know if I've seen anything like it!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 2 May 2019 @ 8:07am

      Re:

      The concept is called "legal department". Once you have a payroll for legal matters, the severity of legal matters that will get picked up depends on the payroll and workload rather than the expected return value. So depending on the size of the legal department, they will not just bother with the low-hanging fruit.

      Horses provide an example of how this works, I think goats do too. If you want to have some vegetation area cleared out (and that included brambles, nettles and other basically inedible stuff), corral it off and put more horses on it (which doesn't take all that much) than it can support sustainably. They will move from eating the grass to tearing out the roots and eating those and then to just eating or tearing out the inedible stuff. After a surprisingly short period of time, there is nothing growing there anymore: it's just barren earth, and as long as there is the respective minimal amount of lifestock there, it will be maintained that way.

      That's quite similar to what happens when you overestimate the size of a legal department fit for grazing on a green pasture. They don't stop when it would make sense to do so for their own sake but when there is nothing left except barren earth. Which they continue to scour for any sign of green.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Bamboo Harvester (profile), 2 May 2019 @ 12:13pm

        Re: Re:

        Sheep are lawnmowers, goats are hedge trimmers.

        A pair of old bellwethers on an acre of overgrown property will completely denude it in a month or so. Even the bark off trees...

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 1 May 2019 @ 7:56pm

    Something something laser like focus on how things used to be...

    If they get it to work on the C64, next they will get it running on an iPod, then on that indestructable nokia phone!!!!!

    The leaps and bounds their legal team takes should scare normal people... its like they all think in 'Butterfly Effect' about how everything results in Nintendo ending up a smoking crater as all of their games are running on unapproved devices!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Bloof (profile), 1 May 2019 @ 9:41pm

    The developer knew this was the likely outcome to creating an unauthorised clone. Like it or not, Nintendo have to defend their IP when they're made aware of infringement even if it's just a fan game. If they don't they'll have a harder time doing so against more serious commercial infringement.

    It's a broken system, but here we are... Boo Nintendo for not wanting to jeopardise their properties that are in constant use that provide most of their income, right?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Killercool (profile), 1 May 2019 @ 10:35pm

      Re:

      ...No. No, you are wrong. I will state this simply, just in case you are actually ignorant, and not willfully spreading misinformation:

      Nobody, NOBODY, is required to defend their copyright to retain ownership of it. Everyone in the world can pirate Nintendo games for decades, and as long as it's within the allotted copyright time limit, Nintendo will be able to halt production and distribution of copies, and sue for actual damages (only their statutory damages will -maybe- be blocked).

      As for the trademark, just like the Mouse, there is NO THREAT to their trademark. Nintendo is in NO DANGER of becoming generic. Almost everyone in the world born since 1960, and most born before that, know that Mario is a Nintendo property. Even villagers in Africa with literal grass huts know Mario and Nintendo.

      And all of this would be moot if Nintendo was willing to write a letter to the modder, giving a limited-purpose license for the mod. That would invalidate any problems, and the project by this insatiable fan would still exist. Instead, they have chipped away at their fan base and it's enthusiasm once again.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Ben (profile), 2 May 2019 @ 2:53am

        Re: Re:

        Indeed, if Nintendo were to grant such a limited purpose license, it would be to their credit, and would create a considerably larger positive reputational effect that the damage they seem willing to suffer by their continued obsession with C&Ds.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 May 2019 @ 5:31am

      Re:

      "The developer knew this was the likely outcome to creating an unauthorised clone"

      Because we all need to get permission from our overlords before we do anything, anything at all, even blowing your nose needs permission. Now get with it you worthless scum.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    tom a sparks (profile), 1 May 2019 @ 10:47pm

    Hang on should the original be out of copyright by now if the laws had not been f*ck with

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 2 May 2019 @ 5:22am

      If copyright terms were still 28 years long, every NES game made before 1991 would be in the public domain by now…which would make archiving them a breeze, rather than the potential legal nightmare that it is right now.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 2 May 2019 @ 8:42am

        Re:

        every NES game made before 1991 would be in the public domain by now…which would make archiving them a breeze

        It mostly is a breeze, even if it's not legal. Every published game is well distributed. There's no danger of them being lost. Occasionally a ZIP file of (mostly) everything pops up; you just have to grab it before the Nintendo lawyers find out.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Friendly Advisor Board, 5 May 2019 @ 1:03pm

          Re: Re:

          There are entire torrents with full romsets from a respective console. All you usually have to type in into your favorite site is the console name.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 May 2019 @ 5:06am

    Theres no one playing c64 games or mods featuring mario
    that have not had a chance to buy it on nintendo
    consoles.
    Nintendo Takes down every fan made game that features their ip or company owned characters.
    Every system has had fans making mario
    type games apart from the ps4, and xbox1.
    Its like music companys saying we lost x billion cos of piracey.
    The nintendo switch is a big hit, its the no 1 selling console in some countrys.
    Some fans making a mario clone has no effect on the sales
    of nintendo games.
    Fans and programmers making mods for pc games
    have been shown to increase sales of the original game.
    Nintendo has changed its policy of game streaming
    and closed down its streaming partners program,
    they are the last company to wake up and realise
    fans streaming your game increases sales and is a form of free advertising.
    Maybe in a few years they,ll realise fan made clones
    have no impact on their sales .

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 May 2019 @ 5:15am

    Nintendon't

    Nintendon't play dat!

    Nintendo's efforts to stamp out emulation remind me of Prince's efforts to keep his music off of youtube

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Michael, 2 May 2019 @ 5:19am

    I was just about to go out and buy a new Wii when I saw this and have decided that I will instead buy a Commodore 64.
    While the C64 does nothing else the Wii can do, I was really only interested in Super Mario Brothers.

    Does anyone know if there is a Commodore store in the Mall?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 May 2019 @ 6:11am

    what am I missing?

    You manufacture and sell Candy Apples at your store
    People like Candy Apples and your sells are strong
    Why not also sell Candy Apples at other stores since some people don't like your store (haters call your store "too baby-ish")?

    The question is:
    As long as Nintendo is the only one making Mario (quality control), why not sell Mario in other stores (Steam, PSN, Xbox Live)? Wouldn't your sells be greater if you could reach more consumers by selling in more locations?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JoeCool (profile), 2 May 2019 @ 6:53am

      Re: what am I missing?

      Your analogy sucks. Here's a better one: I love Ferrari's - I love them so much I made a model of one for my kid's Hot Wheels track and posted how to do it online for other people who love Ferrari's. But then Ferrari came along and took down my web page on how to make a crappy Hot Wheel Ferrari because it might interfere with their sales of Ferrari's.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 2 May 2019 @ 10:19am

        Re: Re: what am I missing?

        You misunderstood my question.
        My analogy isn't an example of the current situation with Nintendo shutting down emulators/sites. My analogy simply asks why limit game sales to one store/distributor.
        You have no answer...carry on...

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          JoeCool (profile), 2 May 2019 @ 12:21pm

          Re: Re: Re: what am I missing?

          Your question had nothing to do with the article, and it's still not a good question. Nintendo does sell games and consoles through other stores; at least physical sales. Downloads go through Nintendo because they don't need anyone else for purely data-only sales.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 2 May 2019 @ 1:22pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: what am I missing?

            If you bothered to read, you'd see I mentioned "Mario".
            Is Mario a console? Nope. READ, THINK, then respond.
            Microsoft (for example) doesn't need anyone else for "purely data-only sales", but if you buy Sunset Overdrive from Amazon and Microsoft also gets a cut of that sale, then some profit is still better than no profit.
            getit?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 2 May 2019 @ 1:26pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: what am I missing?

              Nintendo should give the people what they want and sell their 1st party games on other consoles instead of only allowing them to be played on Nintendo hardware.
              I bet multiple sales on multiple platforms is more profitable than multiple sales on only 1 platform.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 May 2019 @ 7:44am

    No. My Plan is ruined. I stocked piled hundreds of commodore 64s waiting on these results.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 May 2019 @ 9:04am

    Nintendo is currently an actively user-hostile gaming company. It has always opposed emulation and hacking when those have both preserved games for future generations and made games once unknown now accessible and translated for play.

    Nintendo is a capitalist company, not a benevolent art publishing house or something, so it's understandable they'd attempt to act in their own best interests. The problem is, they're doing the exact opposite by attacking the fans who have maintained interest in their franchises with this sort of thing, and are actively alienating people from the Nintendo brand. Sadly, they likely realize they can get away with it as even bad companies will get financial support from people wanting to play their exclusive franchises (and wanting to play them early instead of having to wait for emulation to catch up). Vote with your wallet, people.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rekrul, 2 May 2019 @ 9:27am

    Gamers here may also already be aware that there is something of an odd fascination in gaming communities with the Commodore 64, an 8-bit gaming computer created way back in 1982 and discontinued in the early 90s. There are thriving modding and porting communities dedicated to figuring out how to get the C64 to do things it was never intended to do.

    The same thing is true of the Atari 2600, Colecovision, ZX Spectrum, Atari 8-bit line...

    You get the idea. Much better, it appears, than Nintendo does, which of course waited for the release of years of enthusiastic work before DMCAing everything it could find about this release.

    They probably would have stomped down on it sooner if they were aware of it. As far as I know, ZeroPaige only posted on the Lemon64 forum with a few WIP screenshots and videos. It probably flew under Nintendo's radar until it got released and people started talking about it.

    Seriously, what the hell is the point of taking down this labor of love and geek enthusiasm?

    They may have gotten it taken down from a few sites, but it will always be available. If not openly, then copied privately. This was a big deal and probably every active C64 fan now has a copy of it safely archived. Just ask in a retro forum and someone will have a copy of it. I don't even really like SMB and I made sure to download a copy.

    Gee, I wonder if they're going to go after the Donkey Kong Jr. port from a few years ago too...

    Because, gamers, as I keep telling you, Nintendo hates you.

    In the immortal words of Martin Riggs; "Hate 'em back. Works for me." :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 May 2019 @ 10:29am

      Re:

      If I were the owner of a hot product, I'd rather be paid a percentage of each and every sale (regardless of the store), than be the only seller. I think Microsoft agrees with their whole "Play Anywhere" and "Gamepass" approach. I've been gaming since the Atari 2600 and I currently have a PS4 and a Switch, so don't call me a fanboi.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Craig Maloney, 2 May 2019 @ 7:12pm

    Fans: Stop giving companies free labor - they don't want it

    I posted this back with the CBS lawsuit, and it bears repeating now:

    http://decafbad.net/2018/09/29/fans-stop-giving-companies-free-labor--they-dont-want-it/

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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