Nintendo sure guard the keys to the Mushroom Kingdom closely. While Sega actively encourage Sonic tribute games, Nintendo don’t waste any time slapping promising-looking titles that use their IP with a cease-and-desist letter, and lately they've been on a tear.
Even though many of the developers' properties are currently lying dormant, Nintendo have recently shut down many fan-made games that are tapping into nostalgia for these sleepy franchises. Just earlier this month, the Japanese giant cracked down on over 500 different creations made by passionate fans and hosted over on Gamejolt – including titles that range from the wicked to the ridiculous (Waluigi Revenge 2 anyone? Mario BMX?).
Most of these won’t be missed, if we’re honest, but Nintendo have also targeted higher-profile fan creations, such as a Metroid 2 remake and a brand new fan-made Pokémon instalment, both of which have been shut down due to legal threats. They’re not the first, and they won’t be the last – here are a handful of the promising fan-made ideas that have been smacked down into legal oblivion. RIP.
We’ve had Pokémon games to take on the go for over 20 years, and we’ve been treated to Pokémon GO on our mobile phones too, but fans around the world have been crying out for a MMORPG-style title ever since World of Warcraft pushed online RPGs into the mainstream. One such fan-made title, Pokénet, tried to make that a reality over five years ago; as many as 7,000 players joined together to hunt for over 250 different types of Pokémon, but not for long. The game succumbed to the might of Nintendo’s legal prowess shortly after it was released. Let’s just hope Nintendo are really working on a Pokémon MMO for their secretive NX console, as we love the concept, if not the unlicensed IP appropriation.
If you thought an MMO Pokémon game was impressive, the recently shut-down Pokémon Uranium was even more so. Not only was it a brand-new, fully-fledged Pokémon adventure for you to play on your computer, but the development group behind the game had weaved their own intricate storyline and constructed 150 brand-new critters to boot. Plenty of new features were included too, such as the ability to talk to your Pokémon, a new type, as well as online battling and trading too. Of course, it wasn’t meant to be, and Nintendo had the game struck down, forcing the creators to announce that all future development on it will cease.
Another Metroid 2 Remake
You’d have thought Nintendo would've wanted to celebrate the 30th anniversary of one of their most beloved franchises, right? No. The only thing Nintendo did for Metroid in 2016 was, unfortunately, strike down this incredible fan remake of Metroid II: The Return of Samus; a truly Virtual Console-worthy remaster, with updated graphics and gameplay elements. It easily sits next to the most recent 2D games in the series, which are the GBA classics Metroid Zero Mission and Metroid Fusion – unfortunately, we’ve barely seen anything like them since. And no, Federation Force doesn't count.
No Mario’s Sky
Take one part of the ambitious No Man’s Sky and a pinch of plump plumber, and you have this ridiculous – yet well executed – concept once known as No Mario’s Sky. Much like its namesake, No Mario's Sky is all about exploration and survival in a procedurally generated universe, it’s just that this one happens to be in pixellated 2D. Of course, within days of going viral (even appearing on The Colbert Report), Nintendo stepped in and filed a legal complaint against the developers for using their character. The developers, clearly prepared for such an eventuality, responded by changing the name of the game to DMCA’s Sky, and editing the sprites to original creations, the new name a nod towards the DMCA [Digital Millennium Copyright Act] takedown notice the developers received. Bazinga.
Super Mario 64 HD
Super Mario 64 is one of the finest entries in the Mario franchise – not only did it propel Mario into a new, fully three-dimensional world, but it’s an all-around excellent game with marvellous jumping physics and plenty of collectables. Nintendo gave it a refresh in the form of Super Mario 64 DS, but the game’s largely been left dormant for the last decade. Enter amateur game designer Roystan Ross, who began to remake the game in high definition using the Unity engine – and what he did create was impressive. While the project didn’t get further than a few test levels, Nintendo swiftly put a stop to it, leaving you to play the blocky original on the Virtual Console, or if you can dig up a copy of the DS version.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 2D
Perhaps inspired by Zelda II, fans have been re-imagining the classic N64 game Ocarina of Time into 2D for almost as long as the game's been available. This specific 2D project – which was making waves with custom-detailed sprites, redone bosses and dungeons, and even included multiplayer – caught the eye of Nintendo’s lawyers, however. Quicker than Navi can yell, “Hey, Listen!” it was hit by a DMCA request. Well, only a specific Dropbox download link was. In fact, the project’s website still lives on today, and there are plans for development to continue.