It’s been a pretty good time for fan games. We’ve had a full scale remake of Metroid 2 and an amazing tribute to Sonic the Hedgehog. Only one of these games has been taken down by corporate forces. Last week, the Game Grumps played Green Hill Paradise Act 2. Sega noticed. And gave a big thumbs up.
Instead of rallying lawyers or striking the Game Grumps and Green Hill Paradise Act 2's team with a copyright claim under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, official Sega social media outreach actively encouraged fans to make more games and content.
On the other side of this coin is Nintendo. They took down Metroid 2 remake AM2R, were hitting enough download sites that the creators of Pokemon Uranium felt they needed to take their game down, placed a strike against the fan mash up No Mario’s Sky and even removed hundreds of fan titles from Game Jolt. Now, the Game Jolt matter was a bit fraught. The site was making advertisement revenue while hosting those particular games. Still, the difference is night and day when it comes to fan games overall.
Sega’s latest dunk on their litigious competition shows a massive difference in how fan content is approached and I think they’ve got it right. Games Green Hill Paradise Act 2 like generate interest in properties and encourage passionate engagement with their franchise. They’ve even brought fans in to work on projects. Christian Whitehead, a long time fan, is now a programmer on Sonic Mania.
Now, I’m not saying that Nintendo doesn’t have a right to protect their characters and trademarks. But Sega’s showing an alternate approach and I think a certain plumber could learn a thing or two from the blue hedgehog.