Updated 1/6 8:55 p.m. Pacific with comments from developer. Updated 1/5 3:50 p.m. Pacific with comments from legal expert.
Here’s a little something that will get any Nintendo-ite drooling.
A group of fans is creating an HD remake of the Nintendo 64 classic Super Mario 64. As you can see in the video below, the fan remake adds new models and animations to the 1996 platformer.
The group behind the remake says it will release the game on PC, Mac, and Linux platforms. It also says that the project is not for profit, although this doesn’t ensure that Nintendo won’t put a stop to the effort. The company has a history of releasing old games on new platforms, so it may not appreciate a free version of one of its biggest classics existing as a computer download. Nintendo released its own remake of Super Mario 64 for the Nintendo DS in 2004.
Jesse Saiva, who specializes in intellectual property protection at the Gleenberg Glusker firm, told GamesBeat that Nintendo definitely has legal grounds to stop the project. “This is absolutely something Nintendo could take down if they wanted,” Saiva told GamesBeat. “It certainly constitutes copyright infringement (it’s a near direct copy of a protected work) and may also constitute trademark infringement (because they’re using both the name and the well-known ‘brand’ that is the Mario world of characters). I think the more interesting question these days is whether Nintendo will want to take it down, because there’s always a tug of war between wanting to enforce your rights and wanting to foster fan involvement in your brand. It never looks good to go after fans who are just showing their love for your content. If they haven’t already, Nintendo may try to find some middle ground that will preserve their rights while letting these guys continue to do what they’re doing, such as a license with certain restrictions.”
One of the projects developers, Aryok Piñera, told GamesBeat that Nintendo has not contacted them yet. “Well, certainty the collective paranoia about an upcoming cease and desist letter has worried me a little,” Piñera told GamesBeat. “But I’m still motivated cause (sic) nothing has been released to the public, so there’s no damage done for Nintendo, I guess.”
Other fan remakes of classic Nintendo games do exist online, however, including the 2D remake of Ocarina of Time. Still, before Nintendo gets a chance to shut it down, let’s enjoy a look at the Super Mario 64 Fan Remake.
The group is looking for more 3D modelers, animators, and programmers and has created a Facebook page for anyone interested in helping. The Super Mario 64 Fan Remake does not have a release date as of yet.