Nintendo files multimillion-dollar lawsuit against ROM website, RomUniverse

Instro

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,661
I don't know about other companies, but the claims about Nintendo being caught downloading ROMs are overstated, based solely on their Wii VC release of Super Mario Bros using the same headered ROM format that the unauthorized emulator scene developed. A simple 16 byte header that gives the size of the PRG and CHR data and has flags about things like what mapper hardware is used in the cart. They used the format because it was practical and they had experience using it with their own emulation already. There's a lot of details in Krvavi Abadas' posts in this thread: https://www.resetera.com/threads/tomohiro-kawase-mightve-been-hired-by-nintendo-to-put-rom-headers-into-vc-updated-dec-1-2018.64755/
My post was more intended to explain the joke being made, not delve into the theories and surrounding discussion on whether or not it's true. I don't think anyone should really care if Nintendo did, or did not, source some ROMs from outside the company.
 

iamaustrian

Member
Nov 27, 2017
1,039
Good. Let em burn.
Just don't fucking steal stuff. It's not that complicated

side note: I see Era's handing out the usual "3 days Ban"-slap on the wrist..
 

Radeo

Banned
Apr 26, 2019
1,305
Don't usually agree with era's view on roms but the membership thing is really fucking stupid and slimy so fuck those guys lmao
 

trashtabby

Member
Oct 25, 2017
878
There are a lot of games that I'd be surprised would have a fanbase if it wasn't for roms being easily available. Or do you think the majority of Europeans who played Super Mario RPG (before its Wii VC release at least) played it by importing it?

And while I don't know about re-releases not happening without piracy, there absolutely are plenty of games that wouldn't exist without ROMs making games more easily available. How likely do you think it is Toby Fox dumped his own Earthbound rom to make a rom hack out of before he went on to make Undertale? How many game developers wouldn't have been inspired to work on games if it weren't for them playing roms as a kid? Would Sonic Mania exist without assets and roms of Sonic games being easily available, thus allowing the rom hacking and fangame communities to thrive, which the game's developers came from?

Plenty of fanbases for older games wouldn't be nearly as big as they are without piracy.
 
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Sixthhokage1

Member
Nov 14, 2018
9
Ft Worth, TX
Nintendo doesn't really give a shit about sites that aren't offering Nintendo ROMs, and Coolrom took down all their Nintendo system ROMs back in like 2014 (I don't think it was ever publicized if they got a formal C&D notice or what).
 

Niosai

Member
Oct 28, 2017
998
Did...people actually pay for this? Like, they won't pay for a video game, but they'll pay to pirate the same video game???
 

Aldo

Member
Mar 19, 2019
136
Not familiar with the site, I guess nobody really bought the subscription as most ROMs can be downloaded in a couple of seconds even with low bandwidth.
 

higemaru

Member
Nov 30, 2017
1,680
User Banned (7 days): Justifying piracy, history of severe infractions
Lol I played Eartbound on a legit cartridge back when it was originally released because my cousin bought it. Hell I was even able to buy my own copy from a retro game store in 2003 for $60. It’s only recently that game got stupid expensive.

Without hard data it’s stupid to assume old games are popular because people pirated them. Games like Earthbound and Panzer Dragoon Saga are known through reputation. Reputations those games earned from people playing the original copies in the first place.

I’ve never played Panzer Dragoon Saga myself, despite owning a Saturn at the time of it’s release but I’d day one buy a re-release or remaster due to it’s reputation as a great RPG and my love for the series in general.
That’s sweet. I played earthbound for the first time on an emulator in 2006. I also have a physical copy that my sister purchased in 1999 that I played in 2010. I was also part of a 30+ member forum community of people who mostly played emulated games. We were all teenagers or in our early 20s, you think we had money to buy shit? So there’s roughly 20 people right there who pirated Earthbound. Here’s a hint, most people pirated Earthbound because most people weren’t going to pay $60 for Earthbound in 2003, let alone $50+ going forward.

Also it’s been stupid expensive since like 2009. I’ve been following racketboy for long enough to remember their rarest SNES games list and while EB rated low on rarity, it still averaged about $100-$150 in 2009.
 

TimeFire

Avenger
Nov 26, 2017
4,953
Brazil
that's a disproven myth, but of course it'll never die and will always come up
"yeah nintendo where will you get your roms if your shut down rom sites?"
Do you have a source on that? It seems interesting. A quick google search just returned an Eurogamer video proving it's right so I guess there was some development on that
 

Lant_War

The Fallen
Jul 14, 2018
9,945
Lol I played Eartbound on a legit cartridge back when it was originally released because my cousin bought it. Hell I was even able to buy my own copy from a retro game store in 2003 for $60. It’s only recently that game got stupid expensive.

Without hard data it’s stupid to assume old games are popular because people pirated them. Games like Earthbound and Panzer Dragoon Saga are known through reputation. Reputations those games earned from people playing the original copies in the first place.

I’ve never played Panzer Dragoon Saga myself, despite owning a Saturn at the time of it’s release but I’d day one buy a re-release or remaster due to it’s reputation as a great RPG and my love for the series in general.
For how constantly people bring up Panzer Dragoon Saga as an argument to allow piracy, you'd think the remake is going to be the biggest game of the year lol.
 

jett

Community Resettler
Member
Oct 25, 2017
19,127
lol this website even has a subscription service? That's really bold.
 

Meatwad

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
1,804
USA
That’s sweet. I played earthbound for the first time on an emulator in 2006. I also have a physical copy that my sister purchased in 1999 that I played in 2010. I was also part of a 30+ member forum community of people who mostly played emulated games. We were all teenagers or in our early 20s, you think we had money to buy shit? So there’s roughly 20 people right there who pirated Earthbound. Here’s a hint, most people pirated Earthbound because most people weren’t going to pay $60 for Earthbound in 2003, let alone $50+ going forward.

Also it’s been stupid expensive since like 2009. I’ve been following racketboy for long enough to remember their rarest SNES games list and while EB rated low on rarity, it still averaged about $100-$150 in 2009.
Counterpoint: Little Samson, This is an NES game that goes for $1,000 + for a loose cart on ebay. It was released late in the NES lifespan and by all accounts by people who played it is a great game. A hidden gem if you will. Yet there are no dedicated fansites, there's no fan groups lobbying for ports and remakes and remasters.

Surely a ton of people must have emulated this game found out how good it was and are now clamoring for some legal way to purchase it on modern consoles right? Nah nobody gives a shit, it has no reputation to precede it, It made zero impact when it came out and it makes zero impact now. The only reason it's so expensive in the first place is because of it's rarity and NES collectors trying to obtain full sets of games. Very few people care for the game itself.

If emulation is supposed to help raise awareness for great games locked behind absurd collector paywalls then it has done jack shit for Little Samson. Maybe it will show up on NES Online app one of these days but there's certainly no fan pressure for it to do so.
 

trashtabby

Member
Oct 25, 2017
878
Counterpoint: Little Samson, This is an NES game that goes for $1,000 + for a loose cart on ebay. It was released late in the NES lifespan and by all accounts by people who played it is a great game. A hidden gem if you will. Yet there are no dedicated fansites, there's no fan groups lobbying for ports and remakes and remasters.

Surely a ton of people must have emulated this game found out how good it was and are now clamoring for some legal way to purchase it on modern consoles right? Nah nobody gives a shit, it has no reputation to precede it, It made zero impact when it came out and it makes zero impact now. The only reason it's so expensive in the first place is because of it's rarity and NES collectors trying to obtain full sets of games. Very few people care for the game itself.

If emulation is supposed to help raise awareness for great games locked behind absurd collector paywalls then it has done jack shit for Little Samson. Maybe it will show up on NES Online app one of these days but there's certainly no fan pressure for it to do so.
One of the rarest NES games ever made, one that didn't get much promotion at release, not having a dedicated fansite or fanbase isn't really a good argument for "games don't get attention cause of emulation". And unlike Earthbound, it's not like the game itself stands out that much. It's pretty much a Mega Man game with some extra gimmicks. Even if it wasn't rare, it's not something that'd likely get much attention. Much like how something like Vice: Project Doom didn't.
 
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Kthulhu

Member
Oct 25, 2017
9,926
In this case I don't have any sympathy for the site owners. It's one thing if you host stuff for preservation but if all you want is money then frankly you're asking to go down.
 

mael

Avenger
Nov 3, 2017
7,554
Good for you. I don’t live in your country and I don’t have a gamespot to go to. We have ebgames but none of them exist around.
My point is we're talking about a game that sold tens of millions of copies and they're still readily available that a quick trip to your local store or amazon would easily give anyone seeking these games an option.

Think about music piracy. Right or wrong it went down when options like iTunes came out and offered an alternative. I just wish more developers had these options for their back catalogue and some more consumer friendly practises.
I mean we're not in 2007 anymore, MSFT is offering a way to access most of its library online.
Sony has a way to access their catalog on multiple devices but since they are heavily reliant on 3rd parties, it's complicated to get everything you want (I can tell you I'm throwing a party is squareEnix ever make Romancing Saga ps2 available without having to wip out my old ps2).
Nintendo is providing a way to access a significant part of their library for more than a decade now.
If there's a company that understand the value of their properties, it's certainly them.
People were laughing when Iwata talked about companies devaluing their properties and he was proven right when people couldn't pay Nintendo enough to access their greatest titles.
Truth of the matter, even pirates can't justify putting up a hosting service for Nintendo products if it doesn't include Nintendo's best and greatest titles that are still easily accessible legally.
It's even true for 3rd parties, Bethesda is making sure anyone can play Skyrim on a literal toaster but the lesser known origin of that franchise? No is interested in providing that game and there is certainly not a big demand to get it as well.
It was also true for music and movies, you will see a million torrent to get the Avengers or the Beatles but you'll be damned if you can find a proper version of a Max Pécas or a long lost album from that one group that didn't light the charts in 77.
As it is access to the big things people love and want are already easily available.
Out of their entire library since the NES I'd argue that the only hole they have is GameCube where they haven't found a proper way to provide a satisfying way to access the games.

Since La Joconde (or as it's more recognizably known, the Mona Lisa) is a work in the public domain, anyone is free to make reproductions and derivatives of it. You can pick up prints of it starting at less than $20 on Amazon. If you want to make a point about needing to suck it up and deal with art being inaccessible, this was probably not a good piece for that point.
Very true, there's a lot of more recent work I could have used.
This one popped in my head for no reason.
 

Celine

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,778
It always puzzle me who confuse preservation with public availability, the two aren't the same thing.
It's also common to think that preserving something is just "holding on the item" when in reality there is often a lot of work done to obtain the item and everything related to it and then to properly preserve it (doing backups, a lot of them) and document about it (investigations and studies about the subject, studies on the lives of the authors and how the work was created and so on).
Work that is always for free and made out of passion.

Why History Needs Software Piracy - Benj Edwards

a primer for anyone who actually wants to talk out the potential pros and cons of software piracy but is worried about stepping on Era’s pro-corporate toes

anyway, this site (the ROM site) is gross and antithetical to what I consider the point of ROM sites to be.

also, anyone who thinks earthbound got re-released on virtual console because of smash brothers of all things has no sense of time, didn’t follow the story of its re-release at all, and is just an overall dummy talking out of their ass. It got there through dedicated fans repeatedly saying that they wanted it until Nintendo finally listened. My guess is that most of the fans weren’t playing the original SNES cart which begs the question...how did they play it🤔
Doing multiple backups and making sure those backups are distributed are key factors for long term preservation.
It's just that, in my little experience (not related to game/software preservation), it's preferable to share with a small group of people who really care about the matter instead of making everything public.

While there is a real issue of more obscure games risking to be lost in time, I have no sympathy for website that illegally upload romset and call it a day, without any care or any additional work for the purpose of profiting off ad revenue.
If you want to preserve something you often act in a grey area but you rarely distribute everything for ad revenue or direct money (it's not profits why someone decide to invest time and resource for preserving something).
 
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Celine

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,778
Counterpoint: Little Samson.
Great game.
The reason why there is less people clamoring for Little Samson compared to Earthbound is that one was made by Takeru/Taito while the other by Hal/Ape Inc/Nintendo.
Nintendo games enjoy more exposition by the virtue of being linked to Nintendo which is a company that always cared to keep relevant and rekindle their legacy.
If one looks at Switch top sellers, most of them have roots that can be traced back to the '80s and '90s.
Even japanese only Nintendo obscurities like The Mysterious Murasame Castle have enjoyed more exposure than Little Samson.
 

Meatwad

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
1,804
USA
Great game.
The reason why there is less people clamoring for Little Samson compared to Earthbound is that one was made by Takeru/Taito while the other by Hal/Ape Inc/Nintendo.
Nintendo games enjoy more exposition by the virtue of being linked to Nintendo which is a company that always cared to keep relevant and rekindle their legacy.
If one looks at Switch top sellers, most of them have roots that can be traced back to the '80s and '90s.
Even japanese only Nintendo obscurities like The Mysterious Murasame Castle have enjoyed more exposure than Little Samson.
Yeah my point was that is has no prestigious reputation so nobody cares. If the argument is that people only care about Earthbound because they played it on an emulator then more people should care about Little Samson as well.

Fact is because of it's pedigree and quality Earthbound managed to attract a small but dedicated fanbase. A lot of people probably played EB on an emulator but they did so after hearing good things from fans evangelizing it. Earthbound wasn't some no name game that somebody just stumbled upon while pirating a bunch of ROMS

So the claim that emulation makes niche games popular is specious at best.
 

Ritoo

Member
Jun 5, 2018
85
Now that specific site have on front page this message

"Heard about the lawsuit? Want to help defend RomUniverse and your rights? Please consider donating."
 

Cisce

Community Resettler
Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,381
For how constantly people bring up Panzer Dragoon Saga as an argument to allow piracy, you'd think the remake is going to be the biggest game of the year lol.
they're not remaking Saga, they're remaking the original Panzer Dragoon that you can still play and purchase today through Panzer Dragoon Orta for Xbox via Xbox 360/Xbox One BC.

I'm pretty sure that Saga being re-released though would have a lot of fanfare.
 

Lant_War

The Fallen
Jul 14, 2018
9,945
they're not remaking Saga, they're remaking the original Panzer Dragoon that you can still play and purchase today through Panzer Dragoon Orta for Xbox via Xbox 360/Xbox One BC.

I'm pretty sure that Saga being re-released though would have a lot of fanfare.
Seems pretty obvious that to get Saga you need to buy the other ones.