With a huge stable of iconic, beloved characters, Nintendo has some of the most passionate fans around. The latest game in the “The Legend of Zelda” series generated astronomical levels of social media buzz, dwarfing the new “Call of Duty” and “God of War” games that were showcased at the same event earlier this year.
It makes sense, then, that some of those fans would be inspired to make games of their own using some of their favorite Nintendo characters. If Nintendo isn’t going to make a proper new “Metroid” game, why not do it myself?
Unfortunately for those people, copyright laws exist, and Nintendo infamously isn’t shy about using them, as a couple of fan games found out recently. Here are some of the biggest fan projects that were shut down due to the threat of legal action from Nintendo:
- Cartoon Network
A combination of “Pokémon” and massively multiplayer online games like “World of Warcraft” seems like a no-brainer, but Nintendo has never shown any interest in making one themselves. When a group of fans developed one in 2010, they were hit with cease-and-desist letters.
“Pokénet” looked and played like the classic Pokémon RPGs, allowing players to catch, trade, and evolve their pocket monsters across the regions from the first two generations of Pokémon. The major difference was that other players were running around the world, too.
A cursory Google search for “Pokémon MMO” indicates that plenty of fans are still trying their hands at making one.
“Super Mario 64” HD Remake
- Roystan Ross
“Super Mario 64” is rightly lauded as one of the greatest video games ever made, so it’s only natural that people would want to bring it to a new generation of fans. In 2015, a developer named Roystan Ross recreated the first level of the game using modern graphics, released it as a free download, and was hit with copyright infringement notices.
All you could do in the build Ross released was run around the level and jump on Goombas, as none of the mission objectives from the original game were included. Still, that was enough for Nintendo to slam the door on it, which Ross admitted was an understandable move.
However, there’s still some gameplay footage on YouTube. That should give you a good idea of what the inevitable “Super Mario 64” official remake will look like.
- Dream Mix
2015’s “Super Mario Maker” is the best game on the Wii U, with a ferociously fun level creation tool that allows anyone to slap together a “Super Mario Bros.” level in minutes. Some fans decided that a similar game that lets players create their own “The Legend of Zelda” dungeons would be great, too, and got to work on “Zelda Maker.”
After realizing “Zelda Maker” wouldn’t last long with Nintendo’s stringent copyright protection, the creators of the game changed things up. It’s now “Legend Maker,” a Patreon-funded game with the same basic ideas that just so happens to look and play a lot like “Zelda” without using any copyrighted characters.
“Full Screen Mario”
- Full Screen Mario
Speaking of “Super Mario Maker,” one fan’s attempt at making a Mario game with a level editor met its end before Nintendo’s version was even announced. “Full Screen Mario” was a version of the original “Super Mario Bros.” that could be played in an internet browser, with a random level generator and a level editor.
Its creator, Josh Goldberg, was asked to remove it in 2013, less than a year before “Super Mario Maker” was officially unveiled, leading Goldberg to speculate that his popular game influenced Nintendo. The game can actually still be found online if you look hard enough (it’s easy), but Goldberg’s original creation is long gone.
“Zelda 30 Tribute”
Earlier this year, a couple of big “The Legend of Zelda” fans released a free, browser-based remake of the original game in the series with spruced up 3D graphics, as a tribute to its 30th anniversary. You can probably guess how the rest of this story goes.
The developers said they knew this would probably happen and there were no hard feelings when they were asked to remove the game from the internet.
“AM2R” (or “Another Metroid II Remake”) was, as you can imagine, a remake of “Metroid II.” It’s arguably the least well-known game in the popular series, as it was only available on the original GameBoy until it was ported to the 3DS more than 20 years later.
The remake featured significantly upgraded visuals and modern gameplay fixes from the more recent games in the series. It was just released last week, but it’s already been served with takedown notices.
The game’s creator says they will continue to update the game as they see fit, but there are no more official ways for you to download it.
- Pokémon Uranium
“Pokémon Uranium” is one of the most ambitious fan projects to receive this treatment, as the two-person development team spend nine years creating an all-new Pokémon RPG with dozens of hours of content and 150 new Pokémon to collect.
Within days of its release, official download links for the game were removed. The developers said they weren’t personally contacted by Nintendo, but they knew the writing was on the wall and respected the license holder’s wishes.
This came after more than 1.5 million people downloaded the game. The developers do plan to update the game as necessary even though it’s not officially available anymore.