Nintendo’s games are some of the best around. Mario, Link, Samus and others have provided several decades’ worth of imagination and adventure to millions of people around the world, inspiring and influencing many of the most prominent game developers now.
But unless you work for Nintendo, you better not make your own games with those characters.
According to a report from Kotaku, the indie game hosting site Game Jolt had to pull 562 fan-made games after receiving legal notices from Nintendo.
Game Jolt has enacted a system where the developers of games that were targeted by Nintendo can keep them hidden, accessible only to them. None of the myriad “Super Mario Bros.” and “The Legend of Zelda” tribute games that were previously on the site can be played or downloaded in any official capacity because of this.
This comes after Nintendo has been particularly litigious with fan-made games using their properties in recent years. In the past month or so, prominent fan-made “Pokémon” and “Metroid” games have been released to great fanfare and pulled from the internet in a matter of days.
Nintendo obviously has a right and an obligation to protect their properties, as letting legions of fan-made Mario games exist would dilute the brand, so to speak. Still, it’d be nice if there was a way for those people to share their work with the internet instead of hiding it.