Good morning, and welcome to what feels like the 1097th episode of “Nintendo Gets Some Cool Shit Taken Off The Internet.” Only this time we’re not even talking about a tribute game or piece of fan art, but a harmless old book.
Last week we shared some images of the Super Mario 64 Complete Clear Guide Book, a tome released in Japan alongside the game, that was notable for the fact that—instead of just telling players where to go—a series of incredible real-world dioramas were commissioned to serve as 3D maps. It was cool, we all enjoyed it.
To be clear, this book was released in 1996. In Japan. It was never released in the West, has never been released anywhere since, and has not been commercially available for decades. The only way you can purchase a copy, if you have the cash, is to spend hundreds on one via resale on eBay or Yahoo, from which Nintendo wouldn’t see any proceeds. Oh, and also these scans weren’t making anyone a cent.
It would have been the easiest thing in the world for Nintendo to leave this be, to let Mario fans enjoy this thing they never had the chance to enjoy before. Having high-quality scans uploaded to the public domain wasn’t just for recreation, either; it was preserving the book’s contents and making them publicly accessible long after the opportunity to purchase the book directly had disappeared.
But nope! Nintendo of America sent a takedown notice earlier today to the Internet Archive, where the scans were being hosted, who then passed it into the scan’s uploader, Comfort Food Video Games. CFVG sent me this statement after the takedown which pretty much sums the whole situation up:
Sadly archive.org sent me their usual takedown notice email telling me Nintendo of America challenged the copyright of the scan and it was removed. Frankly I’d love to challenge the legitimacy of that and how Nintendo of America would have anything to do with a Nintendo of Japan licensed Gem Books guide from 1995 but I can’t really fight the Nintendo legal team here. It’s incredibly disappointing.
While I fully understand protecting one’s IP and copyrights I didn’t think I was hurting anyone by scanning and uploading a 27 year old guide that is extremely out of print. Truthfully I think it helps Nintendo while only hurting the people selling this guide for literal hundreds of dollars. All I wanted to do was spread my love of this incredible guide and to a larger extent my love for the company.
I’m a rookie to the video game preservation scene but I can’t think of anything more depressing than how it’s a bunch of hard working people spending their free time and money painstakingly archiving and preserving history while major corporations like Nintendo are doing nothing to help. In fact they’re actively hindering the cause.
Nintendo, please, stop doing this.