Nintendo has had enough of pirates and the websites that enable them, like EmuParadise. After shutting down a handful of sites and a Game Boy Advance emulator on GitHub in July, the publisher has seemingly done the work to convince EmuParadise to shut down. This massive online library of downloadable old games started 18 years ago, and up until this moment it hosted nearly complete libraries of games for various consoles that you could download and play on emulators.
Playing ROMs, as these game files are often referred to as, on an emulator exists in a legal gray area, but distributing these copyrighted works for download on the internet is obviously and clearly illegal. But Nintendo and other publishers have mostly avoided investing resources in tracking down and enforcing its legal right in many of these cases over the last couple of decades. For Nintendo, however, something has changed, and it is cracking down. And EmuParadise has confirmed that it is going to do what it must to avoid facing legal action.
“We will continue to be passionate retro gamers and will keep doing cool stuff around retro games, but you won’t be able to get your games from here for now,” reads an EmuParadise blog post. “Where we go with this is up to us and up to you.”
If you search EmuParadise’s library for games now, you’ll find that the site has already scrubbed away most of them for every system. WarioWare for the Game Boy Advance is gone, but so is Blackthorne for the 32X.
The site’s blog goes on to say that it didn’t want to risk disastrous consequences for itself or any of the team members who helped build the site.
“We run EmuParadise for the love of retro games and for you to be able to revisit those good times,” reads the blog. “Unfortunately, it’s not possible right now to do so in a way that makes everyone happy and keeps us out of trouble. This is an extremely emotional decision for me after running this site for so many years. But I believe it is the right thing for us at this point of time.”
I’ve reached out to Nintendo for a comment, and I’ll update this post if it provides any statement.
The publisher’s crackdown comes at an odd time for its retro catalogue. Nintendo has made a lot of money selling its NES Classic Edition and Super NES Classic Edition systems, which are mini throwback consoles that come with a couple dozen built-in games. But it has left its classic offerings off of Switch up to this point. It has promised to begin releasing some older NES games as part of its Nintendo Switch Online subscription service later this year, but it still hasn’t provided many details about that.
As someone who has used EmuParadise and purchased retro games directly from Nintendo, I’m sad about this development. It was nice to know that if I ever wanted to try a game out for research or just because I felt like it, EmuParadise provided a way to do so. It was reliable and safe, and now I’m left wondering how I’ll track down some of the lesser known games. Maybe Nintendo has an answer to that, but I’m not counting on that.