Missing magazines and Metroid mutations: Nintendo’s not the bad guy

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Another well-meaning and ultra-loving creative fan endeavor, another black eye for Nintendo.

AM2R (Another Metroid 2 Remake) is a monumental achievement: a full re-creation, and next-level re-imagining, of the Game Boy’s Metroid II: Return of Samus. It’s something fans have been praying for these many years.


But it was too beautiful to live. Because it wasn’t made by, or sanctioned by, Nintendo. The original NES Metroid’s 30th anniversary had barely passed (with barely a whimper) beforeĀ AM2R was removed from its download hosts in response to copyright notices issued by Nintendo’s lawyers.

Nintendo is fully within their rights to aggressively defend their intellectual property. And they do so, often — enduring withering criticism for it, every time. They take the most flak, it seems, because they go after fan creations that the company isn’t “doing anything with anyway.”

But, consider this: AM2R wasn’t a secret. Its development was well chronicled. Nintendo gets ripped for waiting until just after its release to issue a takedown. (Nintendo also gets ripped for not doing what fans consider to be enough to celebrate Metroid’s 30th, and for scheduling a much-maligned new entry in the series for release this month that dares to depart from traditional elements of Metroid games).

But the people most likely to download the game had already snagged it before the hammer fell (and it’s still out there, for those who know where to look).

Likewise, many scanned issues of Nintendo Power magazine were available at the Internet Archive for months, only coming to the attention of the masses in the last week or so — and then they were gone. A great many people had already managed to download the files they wanted from that collection.

Metroid II: Return of Samus
Metroid II: Return of Samus

So Nintendo’s actions may be the most — and the least — that they could do. They don’t have to defend their copyright — it’s trademarks that must be actively maintained, but a company like this has other reasons to want to be seen taking action. Now they’ve done their due diligence for their shareholders without really harming the very people who they are seen to target. Those left cursing Nintendo the loudest are the ones who would be doing so anyway, for any reason they can find.

Maybe AM2R’s (re)creator should have focused on an original creation — but we know that Metroid II inspired them deeply to learn by doing, and there’s nothing really wrong with that. Sorry, fringe-dwellers: No one’s in the wrong here. It’s tempting to see everything as polarizing, but our world is far more complex than the Game Boy’s monochrome display or once-bare corridors of SR388.

AM2R’s (re)creator may have said it best, in a blog post addressing the copyright notices:

“Please, don’t hate Nintendo for all of this. It’s their legal obligation to protect their IP. Instead of sending hate mail, get the original M2 from the eShop. Show them that 2D adventure platformers are still a thing people want.”

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