Nintendo is well-known for being a litigious company. The effort poured into modding, emulating, or riffing on Nintendo games always carries the risk that the project will always be taken out by legal threats or action by Nintendo. And sure, there are legal requirements to defend your IP or you risk losing the rights, but many feel that Nintendo is notorious for an aggressive defense of their rights. And it looks like that trend is continuing with Super Mario 64, of all things.
Earlier this month, a PC port of Super Mario 64 appeared that could run the classic game in 4K and be modded with other graphical improvements. Now, according to a notice obtained by TorrentFreak, Nintendo has struck down said port. Wildwood Law Group is representing Nintendo in an effort to stop work on the fan project and have it pulled from sites hosting the files.
“The fan-made port, which was first shared on social media sites this weekend, was made possible by a 2019 recompilation project which saw fans reverse engineer the game’s source code,” wrote VGC, who first reported the news.
Nintendo has been infamous for its attempts to police all manner of content relating to their games. The company tried to tightly control videos made with their content, leading to many streamers and YouTubers boycotting their games and refusing to cover them. Nintendo has worked to relax this policy of aggressive rights defense in some cases, like shutting down the Creators Program. But, they clearly will not allow gamers to use their source code.
These kinds of fan games are always a risky prospect, as there’s almost a guarantee that the company behind the original IP will hit them with legal action of some kind.
Nintendo has also notoriously pursued emulation and ROMs of their games, but this is a very different beast. And with the PC port of Super Mario 64 had full support for modern resolutions all the way up to 4K, as well as support for ultra-widescreen monitors, and even sported support for modern controllers.
Now before you get your hopes up, this doesn’t mean that Nintendo is cutting the project off at the knees to make room for their own port of Super Mario 64 or any other game. It’s more than likely that the execs just don’t want the game out there on PC. It would be nice to have the N64 classic on modern hardware, but no rumblings have been heard suggesting such a project is in the works.