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NCO: Nintendo Crack Operations

Nintendo has threatened lawsuits against many of the key players in Nintendo emulator: Y0SHi with his SNES doc, Jerremy Koot with the now returning SNES '9x, and others. Many feel angry at Nintendo for their actions, although what they are doing seems perfectly reasonable and normal to me.

Okay, I know that both SNES '9x and Y0SHi's document are technically legal -- emulators themselves aren't illegal, and documentation on console systems certainly isn't. Maybe Nintendo doesn't have grounds for a lawsuit, maybe they do. That could be debated.

What I will say is that Nintendo has a darn good reason to try to crack down on emulation: after all, we're the ones taking away from their business. I'll admit that the emulation community is relitively small and we probably don't hurt Nintendo very much; especially since nothing higher than an SNES can possibly be emulated well. Even the better-selling SNES games, such as Yoshi's Island, Star Fox, and Super Mario RPG still can't be emulated yet, even after the games are reduced to being found in pawn shops across the country. Still, we do take away from Nintendo's business, and even though the emulators and the documentation is not in of itself illegal, they are often used for illegal purposes.

In the Sillouete story article (found here), the anonymous author requests that Silhouette not be used for illegal purposes. Yeah, right -- not likely. Even though Silhouette itself is not illegal, heck I know a ton of MacOS users that use it illegially.

And that's how Nintendo has a case. Even though the emulators and the documentation is not in of itself illegal, it is used for illegal purposes. When it is used for such purposes it takes away from the money that Nintendo makes.

For these reasons, I see their actions as being totally reasonable. Sure, I'm against them -- I think it hurts them so little that lawyer bills would cost more than the money they would lose to crack emulation of Nintendo systems altogheter, but their actions in this matter seem to be totally right, just, and reasonable. They are only upholding the law and trying to protect themselves to what they see as a possible threat. We're a possible threat anyway!

I have never played a 32-bit or 64-bit emulator. I'll be testing PSEmu for Duddie pretty soon since I do use Windows 98 (legally, BTW) but I probably won't use it just for hardcore fun. I do use -- and enjoy -- many 8-bit and 16-bit systems, which I emulate with software downloaded from Archaic Ruins and use nearly every day. But doing that takes no money away from Nintendo, since I wouldn't (and couldn't) buy the games from them anyway.

What it all comes down to is that everyone needs to stop saying that Nintendo is evil. They are in this business to make money, a totally reasonable goal, and they see us as a threat to that goal (and sooner or later, we probably will be...). Trying to crack down on emulation is, especially from their point of view, a just and reasonable action.

Besides, if Nintendo stopped making games and systems, there would be nothing from Nintendo for us to emulate anyway, so just stop complaining!

Date: March 16, 1998
Author: Luke Sneeringer

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