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  • A developer was working on a C64 port of Super Mario Bros for seven years, and Nintendo took it down in four days.
  • The company’s legal team has failed to distinguish between what constitutes a marketing chance and what is really a competition threat.
  • There’s a backlash from Nintendo’s “classic” community, criticizing the company for money-grabbing tactics.

Nintendo does not intend to allow anyone else to cash out on the nostalgia that overflows their products, no matter how old they may be. Rights are rights, and the Japanese video game company is very aggressively defending their ownership and has been doing so in this past couple of years with vigor. This time, the victim is developer ZeroPaige who spent seven years creating a port of Super Mario Bros. for the Commodore 64 computer, an 8-bit machine that is considered a milestone to home computing. While C64 was a Guinness Record highest-selling model of all times (released in ‘82), nowadays it is only used by “a handful” of computer hobbyists.

Still, Nintendo will have none of this, as letting a developer port their games to an old and obsolete platform could pass the wrong message to others, and soon they’d have to fight on multiple fronts. They could have taken a different approach, embracing the developer’s hard work and maybe even taking advantage of the hype through a well set-up marketing stunt that would promote the fact that someone spent so much time and effort to combine two loved entities from the past. It could be used as an example of the company’s strong gaming legacy, and its power to inspire even today, like a warm nostalgia heart that refuses to stop beating even after all those years.

But no. The file that ZeroPaige had just uploaded to the hosting platform was dully removed, and the Commodore Computer Club that hosted it as well received a DMCA takedown notice from Nintendo. This means that only those who were quick enough to get it in the four days that it stayed there have it right now. Of course, torrents are already sharing the disk image, but P2P file-sharing is a different story.

ZeroPaige did something that others thought would be impossible, porting the 1985 Super Mario Bros. Fron the NES to the C64 hardware, with turbo functionalities and 2 SID support (sound interface). People are already praising the developer for what he did, reporting relatively smooth gameplay, and excellent hardware compatibility, both in the real thing and on emulators. The way Nintendo treated this work though, they are hurting their own image, making the generations that grew loving their brand seeing it from a very different perspective right now.

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image_source: csdb.dk

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