As any budding fan game developer knows, the worst thing that can happen to a project is the IP owner sending a cease and desist notice to shut it down. It happened to Chrono Resurrection. It nearly killed the whole ROM hacking scene for Chrono Trigger. And heck, not a day goes by without some MMORPG private server being taken offline.
But how about for Nintendo fan projects? Well, it turns out that quite a surprising number of those get shut down for ‘legal’ reasons too. Whether it’s Full Screen Mario, Zelda 30 Tribute or Super Mario Remaker, the company certainly isn’t shy about shutting down projects that might hurt their bottom line. So let’s look at some of the many Nintendo fan works screwed over by cease and desists, DMCA notices or other Nintendo legal action…
The Legend of Zelda: The Hero of Time Movie – January 2010
First up, let’s head back to what may well be the first ever Nintendo fan work shut down by Nintendo. The Hero of Time was a Zelda movie that was in production during the early 2000s, and was known for being one of the first live action movies based on the series. Hosted on the Legends and Adventure forums, the project was going to offer a new story set in Hyrule with familiar species like the Gorons and Zoras playing important parts.
Unfortunately, the movie’s creators made a fatal mistake when it came time to release the movie. Why?
Because they tried to sell tickets to showings of the film in actual cinemas.
This got Nintendo’s attention, and give the company credit, they weren’t too harsh on it. In fact, they agreed to license the movie for a few weeks or so, up until the end of the year in fact. Once that time was over, the project stopped and any chance of things like DVDs or live showings went wth it.. Unfortunately, the next project wasn’t quite so lucky…
Super Mario Bros X – April 2011
That project being Super Mario Bros X, a fan game and game maker tool for the Mario series. Designed as a cross between Super Mario All Stars and Super Mario World (with Zelda and Metroid elements added in later), the game let people make their own Mario games in the form of ‘episodes’, with custom graphics and music.
Again, another fatal flaw came up. Namely the domain name, which creator Redigit had chosen as ‘SuperMarioBrothers.org’. This name made it awfully easy for Nintendo to say the game was competing with their own products, and they eventually sent a cease and desist notice in 2011. The result was that the original videos and posts about the game were taken down, and the domain eventually transferred to Nintendo themselves.
Above: As you can clearly see on the Whois listing.
However, a lot of people saw this as suspicious. Hence up popped a conspiracy theory that Redigit had faked the legal notice himself to get away from Super Mario Bros X to work on Terraria. This wasn’t the truth (for obvious reasons, the domain is owned by Nintendo now) but Redigit doesn’t have a great reputation because of it regardless.
Still, Super Mario Bros X wasn’t dead for good. Just months later, forums and fan sites had popped up for the game, and those have stayed active to this very day. Heck, development has even restarted under the guidance of the community, with plugins like LunaDLL acting like stopgaps.
This wasn’t the case of the next project though.
Full Screen Mario – November 2013
Which wasn’t something that Nintendo’s legal team was all too pleased about. After all, Full Screen Mario was a carbon copy of SMB 1. You know, that game Nintendo was selling on Virtual Console.
So on November 1st 2013, the project got DMCAed. The game was immediately replaced with a ‘Full Screen Takedown Notice’ page, and the project has been dead ever since. But this wasn’t the only fan remake hit by Nintendo’s lawyers…
Super Mario 64 HD (Bob-omb Battlefield Version) – March 2015
Because a few years later, a fan called Roystan Ross posted a HD remake of Super Mario 64 called Super Mario 64 HD. It wasn’t a full remake (only containing Bob-omb Battlefield and no full missions), but it was enough to excite the internet. And with things like a Gold Mario form unlocked for getting all the coins, it soon became a big thing on Youtube and other video sharing sites:
No, it wasn’t THE Super Mario 64 HD. That was a separate fan project, as seen below:
Above: Not the original trailer
But it was enough for a lot of people, and Nintendo thought it was best to send a copyright infringement notice anyway. As a result, the project is no longer available to download on the developers website.
That was also enough for the other Mario 64 HD team to take the trailer private, go into hiding and keep their own project on the down low for a while. So Nintendo took down one fan remake, and then managed to scare the developers of the other fan remake into vanishing off the internet in response. But demakes weren’t safe from this either…
The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time 2D – May 2015
Which brings us to the Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time 2D, Edition 2,000,199. That title’s probably not much of an exaggeration, since the idea of a 2D Ocarina of Time has been done to death over the last ten or so years. We’ve had Zelda 1 style versions, Minish Cap style versions, an Oracle series style version… and fates ranging from a faked death via car accident to team feuds to another team getting hit by a legal notice. But we’re talking about the current Ocarina of Time 2D game.
The one shown in this trailer:
It was quite an impressive project. From detailed Link to the Past style sprites to redone bosses and dungeons to even an online multiplayer mode, the Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time 2D was shaping up to be a great game.
Until in May 2015, the download link was taken offline with a DMCA notice in its place.
But hey, it wasn’t the end of the world. Surprisingly, Nintendo only ever went after the download on Dropbox, not the website or its social media channels. Hence as of today, the game is still in development, plans for a version 2 are ongoing and there’s even talk of a deal with Nintendo to license the IP and make it official. Pretty good, compared to the next item on the list.
Zelda Anime (Zeldamotion) – July 2015
That being an anime adaptation of the Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past. Launched as a Kickstarter project by Aeipathy Industries (that was probably a mistake in itself), the series was going to adapt the SNES classic into an anime series. You may recognise it from this MSU-1 mod for the game (which used part of the first episode as an intro):
Either way, the fact a group of fans were trying to collect money for a Zelda adaptation didn’t sit well with the Nintendo lawyers. So as promptly as it went up, the Kickstarter got taken down and the project was cancelled as a result.
If you often listen to gaming music on Youtube, you may have came across an interesting user by the name of ‘GiIvaSunner’. This user would post parody versions of Nintendo songs, like Gerudo Valley or Dire Dire Docks. These would then either gradually mix into another theme (often The Flintstones theme song), or simply be replaced by something else.
Like this version of Super Mario 64’s slider theme:
Unfortunately, someone didn’t like channel very much. The result? Youtube has terminated it for ‘violating the terms of service’. Vague, isn’t it? What’s more, it’s not clear how exactly it breaks any rules. The original GilvaSunner likes the parody channel and finds it funny:
And also made his own parody video for April Fools Day (with the fake uploading real music rips instead):
Above: A more glorious remix you’ve never heard
People in general like the remixes and haven’t complained about ‘being misled’ or anything similar. They’re popular on sites like the Nintendo Music subreddit. It just makes no sense that this account would be shut down, given that everyone’s fine with it and its likely fair use.
Still, there is one silver lining (or maybe ‘gilva lining). This guy is going to be appealing against this decision:
So for people out there who liked these parody videos, you’ll get more of them soon. Even if Google and Youtube are being idiots and shutting down accounts for no real reason whatsoever. You can also download them on Bandcamp here:
GilvaSunner’s Highest Quality Video Game Rips: Volume 1 – Bandcamp
But what do you think? Did you subscribe to this GilvaSunner imposter? And do you find his fake versions of Nintendo songs amusing?
Sometimes, glitches in video games are just your typical ‘glitch’ stuff. Like going out of bounds or dying in some weird way. Other times, they’re incredibly interesting to the point a fair bit of the game has been remade on the fly, like those glitches used in ‘beat Super Mario World without jumping videos’.
And then… there’s this. To put it simply, speedrunner SethBling has used a glitch in the game to remotely write the code for Flappy Bird to the ROM… then switch Super Mario World to the new game.
Live on Twitch. In other words, he basically changed Super Mario World to Flappy Bird mid level via injecting custom code into the game through a glitch. Here’s a video of it happening:
All I can say here is wow, this is just insane. I mean, I’ve seen some crazy glitches before, but rewriting a game to change into something else while it’s running? That’s one hell of a glitch you’ve got right there, and a ridiculous amount of time and dedication to pull it off.
Makes me wonder how long it’ll be till someone replaces Super Mario World with a Super Mario World ROM hack live on air. I mean, it’s presumably possible, right? And damn, can you imagine how strange it’d be if you say, transformed a basic Super Mario World ROM into Brutal Mario via this kind of code injection? You’d certainly make everyone’s jaw drop even further.
But what do you think about this? Are you surprised that someone can edit Super Mario World into a Flappy Bird clone by running a code injection glitch on the game while it’s running? And what do you think their next ‘project’ should be now?
SethBling’s Twitch Archive for This Run
Must have lost a few points recently, since my count was wrong. Never the less, updated.
When it comes to the gaming media, the quality of the journalism is… not very good. From lazy stories taken off social media sites to uncontrollable rumour mongering and even outright attacks on their audience, gaming journalism is to real journalism what the average tabloid is to the BBC. And just like the tabloid newspapers its quality is inspired by, the world of gaming journalism has its cliches too.
So let’s look at them all! Here are the nine laziest cliches in gaming journalism!
Video Games in Real Life
Let’s start with the most ‘harmless’ one first. Namely, video games in real life.
This was somewhat of an interesting idea… round about the time the internet started becoming a thing. So, about 1990 then. When a bunch of bored college students dressing up like video game characters was somehow a new and innovative piece of ‘comedy’ genius.
Unfortunately, since then, it’s just became way overused. For example, how many attempts at recreating Mario Kart in real life have there been?
Far too many, as you can see in the tons of real life Mario Kart videos shown above. And the thing is, just about every series on the planet has been recreated like this. Mario platformers, the Legend of Zelda, Pokemon, Metroid, Super Smash Bros, Mega Man…
It’s not interesting any more, and is completely overused as an article subject. Please find something else to write about. Just not…
Classic Games Remade in the Unreal Engine
These silly remakes. Okay, there have been some cool looking Unreal Engine remakes for popular games. Like this one of Clock Town in The Legend of Zelda Majora’s Mask:
Or a surprisingly high amount of this Super Mario 64 Unreal Engine remake/test video:
But the vast majority of these remakes just aren’t very interesting. They’re not trying to be anything like a game, they’re just the same old bland field with a few character models chucked in for the sake of it. For example:
I get it. You can buy a bunch of assets for the engine, and find some character models from popular video games in a similar style. But they’re not interesting in any way. Anyone can make this sort of thing, it’s not special.
Talking of overused ideas, the next one is getting a bit old as well…
Video Game Marriage Proposals
It’s like rule 5963 of the internet; if a work allows user generated content, someone has used it for a marriage proposal. It’s like some sort of geeky ‘tradition’, propose to your one true love (who just happens to care about video games for some reason) through an edited video game level.
It’s happened in Super Mario World:
And Super Mario Bros 3:
It’s happened in New Super Mario Bros Wii:
Either way, it’s getting a bit old hat by this point. Indeed, it makes me want to see either:
1. Someone actually divorce someone through an edited video game. Forget a marriage, imagine someone breaking up in the form of a custom level filled with dangerous traps and angry messages. Now that WOULD make for an interesting video.
2. The person being proposed to being an actual level designer/ROM hacker, who promptly chews out the creator for their shoddy level design. Because let’s face it, almost all of these levels are designed in the laziest, most uninspired ways possible, and laden with sprite spam and cutoff. It’d be rather funny to see someone like levelengine pick one of these hacks up, utterly annihilate with a bad score in a video review and then stick it next to Hammer Brother Demo 3 and Link’s Adventure on a worst ROM hacks of all time list.
Either way, the marriage proposals are getting a bit tired now. Time to try something new! Like, the very opposite of the next cliche on the list:
The Top Two Million X of All Time
Because if there’s anything the internet likes more than jokes and memes and ‘heartwarming’ Youtube videos, it’s lists. So if there’s a topic related to video games in any way at all, there will be hundreds upon hundreds of lists about it.
Like the top ten hardest or top ten easiest bosses. That seems pretty common.
Above: There’s a good chance this guy will be on the easy bosses list. Along with Gohma and Cloud ‘n Candy.
Or lists about random subjects no one really cares about. Top ten cats in gaming? Oh sure, that’s actually surprisingly (or should I say ‘purrsprisingly’) common:
Above: Given how much the internet loves cats, this should surprise no one.
But the worst (and obviously most common of all) tends to be the inevitable list of ‘best games ever made’. Trust me here, every single journalist on the planet seems to have written a version of this list. And guess what? They’re all completely useless.
This is because of two obvious reasons:
1. Games are different from each other in just about every way, so even the best games of all time by Metacritic score are usually not comparable. Can you really say that the Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time:
Can be objectively compared to Super Mario Galaxy?
Above: Can you spot all the beta elements in this trailer?
Cause they’re both good. Just good in different ways, and appeal to different people. Additionally, no one will ever actually play every game ever made. It’s impossible, there are simply too many of them. So how you can REALLY say what’s the best game? Or for that matter, what’s worst?
And that’s not even getting into today’s sorry excuse for a ‘media’, which wear their political biases on their sleeve and will happily give scores based on how ‘moral’ they think a game is rather than how good it actually is. So next to games people actually like, you get the odd walking simulator and boring Twine game that mostly only appeals to insane Tumblr users. But more on that later, the point is that top whatever lists just don’t work, and they’ve been done to death by now. Please think of something else to write!
Above: Also, you’re reading a top nine gaming journalism cliches article. I’m a hypocrite, aren’t I?
Although it should be your own work…
Press Releases as News
Which in simple terms, means something that takes effort to write.
It mostly certainly does not mean ‘copying and pasting press releases into a WordPress post’. Journalism is not ‘being paid to press CTRL + C and CTRL + V in quick succession’. It’s meant to be about doing research. Providing a balanced look at the events of the day. Standing up for people who otherwise have no voice. Finding interesting things your readers actually need to know.
Above: This is better than your ‘article’
Copying press releases and acting like corporate yes men is nothing like that. In fact, if that’s the kind of thing you like doing so much, maybe your boss should just pay your salary to the company’s marketing team. After all, they did the hard work of actually writing the press release and providing the screenshots!
Above: Some stats from Reed show that the industry is very aware of this, since apparently the average gaming journalist salary is even lower at about $28,000 (£19,000) a year…
But even regurgitated fact sheets are better than posting…
Remember a while back, how we said the fan made Ocarina of Time 2D game was dead due to being shut down by Nintendo?
Well, it’s fair to say that we jumped the gun a bit with that post. Why? Because just a month or so ago, a new trailer was posted for the project showing all manner of new areas and features, like Goron City, Dodongo’s Cavern and Darunia’s dancing! Here’s the video showing all this in action:
So the game’s not really dead, and development is still ongoing over at the official forum. Heck, even the download page has been updated, albeit with a note that the demo is ‘coming this winter’!
However, we do not know when this new demo will be released. The video? Says nothing about it. The forum topic? Merely mentions that the demo will be available sometime soon and that the game is still in development.
And the rumoured Christmas Day release date? Well, seems like that didn’t pan out, regardless of a certain optimistic comment by a site admin:
I’m not saying v.20 will release on Christmas, but also I’m not saying it won’t.
Either way, The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time 2D is still in development, and another demo will be released at some point in the foreseeable future. Seems like you can’t keep a good Zelda fan game down!
V2.0 Trailer – Ocarina of Time 2D Forums