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Nintendo Continues to Play Emulation Whack-a-Mole

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By Nelson Schneider - 03/17/24 at 03:38 PM CT

A couple weeks ago, Nintendo made one of its heavy-handed legal moves, in which it sued the developers of the Nintendo Switch emulator, Yuzu, so hard that they took down their website and purged their Github. It’s unsurprising that The Big N was triggered by the existence of Yuzu, considering how hard their fanboys ‘spurged-out when a Yuzu icon appeared in an official Steam Deck promotional video from Valve. And, as we all know, Nintendo has a long, bleak history of clamping down on anyone enjoying their past library of titles without doing things THEIR WAY.

Of course, Nintendo is a flailing giant trying to swat at fleas. They may crush one flea so thoroughly that it is erased from existence… but that does nothing to the thousands of other fleas in the swarm.

Thus, it should come as no surprise that another team of emulation developers has already taken up the torch dropped by the Yuzu team. The provocatively-named Suyu emulator will pick up right where Yuzu left off, thanks to the fact that Yuzu was Open-Source Software, and all of its codebase was free to download up until the very second the team deprecated their Github repository.

I love the drama surrounding this perpetual game of Cat-and-Mouse involving Big Industrial Gaming and its variety of Corporate Publishers who seem to believe that “copyright is a human right,” a statement that includes so many contrivances it’s fundamentally disconnected from reality. Some team of smart, dedicated people create an emulator, usually with the end goal of Games Preservation in a world where console makers inevitably abandon their old hardware and software after roughly 10 years (coincidentally, the same length of time copyright used to be). The Corporate Overlord who “owns” the IP “rights” flexes their legal muscle. The emulation team under the microscope goes to ground… while two more pop into existence to take its place.

Nintendo is quite literally playing a perpetual game of Whack-a-Mole, however, instead of short-sighted rodents, the targets of Nintendo’s perpetual ire more closely resemble the Lernaean Hydra of Classical mythology. Nintendo is trying to kill emulation without “cauterizing the stumps,” so to speak. And in doing so, they serve only to anger a sizable segment of the gaming public, making it more likely that they will be targeted again… and again… and again.

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View Nick's Profile


Wrote on03/18/24 at 06:35 PM CT

If Nintendo only realized if they weren't trying to hardware lock their games... they would sell a lot more of them if other platforms could play them. I think it still holds true that Nintendo doesn't make any money off of their hardware, so why not focus on being a game publisher?

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