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wedgew
Tue Aug 09 16 09:57am
Rating: 1 (Updated 2 times)

First I think we need to be clear on what this game is. It isn't akin to a fan-fic. It is a remake of an existing game. The literary parallel would be a novel which re-tells the same story as an existing novel, but maybe changes a few of the details.

Second, there are three separate questions that sometimes get mashed together.
1. Is Nintendo within their legal rights to take the game down?
2. Is Nintendo wise to take the game down?
3. How do I personally feel about them taking it down?

Regarding 1, of course they are. The game is an unlicensed unauthorized remake of an existing copyrighted game.

Regarding 2, there are several factors to consider. Legal consequences and precedent of taking down vs leaving up. Monetary consequences of taking down vs leaving up. Fan reaction to taking down vs leaving up. And the impact of taking down vs leaving up when it comes to people who in the future might want to remake an existing game.

As a business, they have to look at all of those factors, and weigh them appropriately.

-On the legal side, as DonnieDarko420 and NoseofWario pointed out, leaving the game up would make fighting such copyright infringements more difficult in the future.

-On the monetary side, the developer of the remake wasn't getting any money, sure. But people were able to essentially get a game that Nintendo is currently selling for free. Of course there's no way to know how many sales of the GB original would have been lost with the remake available for free, so here they have to make their best guess. (And it might be that the loss of sales would be negligible. On the other hand, one must grant that it's at least theoretically possible that sales would have increased due to gamers heeding the developer's advice. But history suggests that's unlikely.)

-In terms of fan reaction, of course they realized that in this day and age some people would think it cold and heartless to take the game down, and others would be ok with it. The question there is how much that fan reaction will impact their business (i.e., how many people will be so mad at Nintendo that they stop purchasing their products).

-And lastly when it comes to the impact on future unlicensed-remake-developers, what is likely to happen if they leave the game up? It will encourage others to make their own unlicensed remakes. What is Nintendo, as a business, going to think about that? Especially since they themselves have been known to do their own official remakes. What happens when they're wanting to do a remake of, I don't know, Super Mario Land, but right before they're ready to release it some developer on the Internet releases his own remake...for free? But, one might say, what if they go the other route and purchase the game from him and sell it? Aside from the legal issues that might present, that approach would seem to encourage unsolicited remakes. The message, unintended thought it may be, would be "if you make a re-make of Nintendo game well enough, Nintendo will buy it from you." So you essentially create a new type of prospecting. Rather than "go to San Fransisco and pan for gold" it's "remake a Nintendo game and see if they'll buy it from you."

Again, when looking at that second question, Nintendo has to consider all those factors (and probably others I'm not thinking of).

Regarding 3, that's where all the drama seems to be coming in at. Some people personally emotionally do not like what Nintendo has done, and others are ok with it. Of course, no one has to like what Nintendo has done. But we would do well to acknowledge that what we're dealing with there is our emotional response.

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