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1. Pokémon Uranium
Plenty of Pokémon fans are still cussing that Nintendo had Pokémon Uranium taken down. The game took nine years to develop, featured 150 Pokémon, and took dozens of hours to beat.
Why was Nintendo in the right here? Simply put, the fan game was a little too good, to the point that it was virtually indistinguishable from a “real” Pokémon title. There was a distinct chance this game would detract from sales of official titles, so Nintendo had to take action.
2. Full Screen Mario
The very idea of Full Screen Mario seemed very innovative. For the first time ever, someone had developed a fun battle royale game featuring Mario!
Nintendo seemed petty when they had this game taken down. But when they released their own battle royale game later (Super Mario Bros. 35), their takedown actually made a lot of sense.
3. Mario Party Gloves
Ever wonder why we never see ports of the original Mario Party game? You can blame this one on dumber younger brothers everywhere.
One of the minigames in that original title required players to quickly rotate the Nintendo 64’s thumbstick. Many children ended up using the flat of their palms and injuring themselves. After 90 families complained to the New York AG, Nintendo spent over $80 million dollars to manufacture white gloves to send to players in order to protect their hands.
Nintendo did the right thing to take the legal heat off themselves. But it’s still hard to imagine taking a company to court because your kid hurt themselves playing a video game the wrong way. If this is the case, then Capcom clearly owes me millions of dollars for all those blisters I got doing the fireball motion for Street Fighter II on the SNES D-pad!
4. Nintendo Against the EPA
It’s tough to imagine Nintendo fighting the EPA. But outside of Walter Peck in Ghostbusters, it’s tough to imagine the EPA being the bad guys.
But that’s what happened when the EPA used some music from Yoshi’s Island DS for their own game, Recycle City Challenge. When Nintendo confronted the EPA, they blamed this slip-up on a contractor and quickly removed the music.
5. Crazy Kong Debacle
Nintendo’s infamous legal fight with Universal wasn’t the only time Donkey Kong was featured in their legal actions. The other incident involved a clone of the Donkey Kong game that was legal...right up until it wasn’t.
A company called Falcon had the right to make cloned arcade boards of Donkey Kong for a Japanese audience. But when Elcon Industries Inc. started selling Crazy Kong boards out of Michigan, Nintendo had to step in to protect their IP.
6. Nintendo vs James Burt
Nintendo’s ongoing hatred of ROM sites is always annoying. Why do they care if someone wants to play a 30-year-old game that Nintendo doesn’t even sell anymore?
However, things were different with an Australian man named James Burt. Not only did he get an early copy of New Super Mario Bros (a week early, in fact), he also uploaded to the internet to try to win points with an online hacking group.
Trying to screw Nintendo over before the game is even officially released? Tough to sympathize with the guy!
7. Nintendo Takes On Pokeprincxss
Nintendo’s love/hate relationship with streamers is pretty well-known. But their beef with Pokeprincxss has more than a few shades of gray.
Pokeprincxss is a TikTok star whose name, clothing, and tattoos all reinforce the Pokémon brand. Nintendo sued her and forced her to rebrand, but why did they single this particular streamer out?
As it turns out, she was making a profit by selling third-party Nintendo merchandise in addition to getting famous off of Nintendo’s brand. She also had previous experience in the adult industry and has an OnlyFans account.
Put it all together and Nintendo had to use a lawsuit against her. As it turns out, that attack was super effective!
8. The MariCAR Lawsuit
Everyone who has ever played Mario Kart has eventually had the same thought. “How cool would it be to do this in real life?”
MariCAR was the answer. This was a Tokyo-based go-kart company that allowed drivers to dress up as Mario characters and then speed through Tokyo. Nintendo won their second lawsuit against the company, and we’ve got to sympathize with the Big N. Can you imagine the bad press when someone dressed like Mario inevitably got killed recreating events from the games?
9. Peach’s Untold Tale
Nintendo taking down fan games is always a sad affair. But for certain fan games, getting taken down was something of an inevitability.
That’s the case with Peach’s Untold Tale, a pornographic game featuring Peach from the Mario franchise. Ultimately, it’s not surprising at all that Nintendo wanted to take this game down, though it’s hilarious it took them nearly a decade to take legal action.
The very idea of Pokénet is downright tantalizing. It combined franchise gameplay with MMORPG mechanics and allowed players to connect with each other all over the world.
Sounds great, right? That’s why players were sad when Nintendo had it taken down in 2010. But with the launch of Pokémon Go six years later, it seems clear that creators behind the scenes were trying to figure out a better way to connect fans of the franchise to one another.
11. Keeping the Kong
Most of the time, Nintendo is the aggressor when it comes to lawsuits. But back in the day, Universal actually sued Nintendo over the resemblance between Donkey Kong and King Kong.
Nintendo managed to win this case in a fairly clever way. They cited an earlier lawsuit in which Universal established that the plot of King Kong was in the public domain. The judge ruled that Universal didn’t own King Kong and that even if they did, nobody was likely to confuse the movie monster with Nintendo’s character.
12. Nintendo vs Tengen
It’s easy enough to root against Nintendo when they are interfering with small, fan-made games. But what about when a major corporation slaps Nintendo in the face?
When the NES was the dominant console, Tengen got hold of Nintendo’s lock-out program and used this knowledge to crank out unauthorized games for the system. Nintendo took them to court and eventually won, showing exactly what happens when a major company tries to make a profit by going behind Nintendo’s back.
13. Zelda Maker
What is legally understandable can still be frustrating for fans. And that was the real lesson when Nintendo went after Zelda Maker, a tool that would let fans craft their own Zelda dungeons.
Would most Zelda fans kill for this game? Absolutely, but it would also allow people to recreate and distribute Zelda games for free to millions of people. And while Nintendo wouldn’t let us have Zelda Maker, the creator of that game now has a Patreon-funded version called Legend Maker with none of Nintendo’s characters.
14. Super Mario 64 HD
Fans everywhere were heartbroken when Nintendo took down the Super Mario 64 HD Remake. This was a fan game that would eventually allow players to explore the classic Nintendo 64 game with modern graphics and slick animation.
When Nintendo had the game (which was still in very early development) taken down, many fans didn’t understand why. But when Nintendo released their own HD Super Mario 64 in the Super Mario 3D All-Stars package, it made sense they’d want to clear out the competition.
15. Nintendo vs Gamevice
The Nintendo Switch design is fairly innovative. But a company called Gamevice actually sued Nintendo, claiming that the design of the Switch violates the patent for their own device, the Wikipad.
They eventually withdrew this case before suing Nintendo over more patent violations. Gamevice lost that suit and is now trying to sue over other alleged patent infringements. But looking at the Wikipad and then looking at the Switch, it’s tough to see anything beyond very surface similarities.
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