From four down to two, #TheGameAwards' 'Best Fan Creation' category has abruptly halved its original options by removing two fan-favorite titles, #PokemonUranium and #AM2R—Another Metroid 2 Remake—with no word as to why.
And with the event looming over us (it's on tonight, so be there!), surely it can only be Nintendo who have seemingly made a swift strike in dealing with these unofficial fan-made games.
'Pokémon Uranium' & 'AM2R' Removed From The Game Awards
The top dogs at Nintendo have tried taking Pokémon Uranium down before, a move which lead to its devs releasing this statement:
"We have been notified of multiple takedown notices from lawyers representing Nintendo of America (...) while we have not personally been contacted, it’s clear what their wishes are, and we respect those wishes deeply. Therefore, we will no longer provide official download links for the game through our website."
I find this sad in a way as it seems that they were just trying to create something original to give back to the community, and were decent enough to respect Nintendo's wishes and copyright rules when they expressed issue.
If Rules Are Made To Be Broken, Does That Include Copyright?
Weighing up the arguments from both points of view is extremely important in these cases as there is no 'right answer' in my eyes.
Sega seem to think so too:
Yes, fan-made games are super fun and can bolster the community in cool ways, such as AM2R celebrating Metroid's 30th Anniversary when Nintendo didn't themselves.
But, at the same time, fan-made titles can pose a risk to big-name companies. Sales of original titles could dwindle whilst both parties are competing for attention, and, in a more nightmarish possibility, the brand could be tarnished after big-name publishers release their—usually—laboriously-worked upon official games at the same time fans are releasing unpolished half-attempts under the same series title.
Although, polish doesn't seem to be a problem for Pokémon Uranium by the look of their official trailer:
So Should They Still Be Included In The Game Awards?
Simply put, it's not like The Game Awards can do much about this situation without advocating illegal games right in front of the noses of those who want to see them taken down.
Poking the Nintendo bear with an illegally-sourced stick is probably not the way to deal with this.
However, we shouldn't be satisfied with how it was dealt with. There was no official message or anything of the sort. Even if Nintendo don't want to acknowledge these bastard children, they should have respect for the fans who do. And with it should come a simple message saying "we can't let these games be nominated for legal reasons. Apologies to the fans." Is that so hard?
Because, remember, without the fans even their own games wouldn't survive...
What Do We Do Now?
If you're against fan-made games then I guess keep on keepin' on. If you only play the official games and steer clear from the others then it's about all you can do. I guess you could flag up anything illegal with Nintendo, but they seem to be pretty quick on the draw already—as evidenced by this DMCA notice over on GameJolt—so you really needn't worry.
However, if you're all for fan-made games, support them in any way you can — downloads, donations, getting involved in communities, expressing interest on social media. All of these modes of support will give the developers the drive they need to keep making games, no matter how painful it must be for them to see their blood-sweat-tears projects being shut down.
Check out some articles on the better fan-made games here:
- From Fans to Creators: 8 Free Fan Video Game Remakes Better Than the Originals
- 4 Fan Games That Will Amaze You
- The Corporate Axe: Our Most Anticipated Fan Made Games That Were Sadly Shut Down
Do you think fan-made games have a place in gaming world?
Whilst we're on the subject, check out how Pokémon has evolved over the past 20 years in this legendary video!