Spooked By Nintendo, Popular ROM Site 'Changes' After 18 Years

Illustration for article titled Spooked By Nintendo, Popular ROM Site Changes After 18 Years

EmuParadise, one of the world’s longest-running and most popular emulator communities, announced today that in the face of recent legal action against pirate sites it will be “changing, in effect ceasing to offer ROM versions of Nintendo’s (and any other company’s) old classics.

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MasJ, the site’s founder, says:

It’s not worth it for us to risk potentially disastrous consequences. I cannot in good conscience risk the futures of our team members who have contributed to the site through the years. We run EmuParadise for the love of retro games and for you to be able to revisit those good times. Unfortunately, it’s not possible right now to do so in a way that makes everyone happy and keeps us out of trouble.

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EmuParadise has been running since 2000, and it’s a good bet many of you have visited the site from time to time (it’s easily one of the most popular ROM and emulator destinations online) to download a classic game from your childhood that you felt like catching up with again.

While the site isn’t technically closing down, it is ceasing to distribute ROMs of other people’s games:

Thus, we have decided to make a new start. We will continue to be passionate retro gamers and will keep doing cool stuff around retro games. But you won’t be able to get your games from here for now. Where we go with this is up to us and up to you.

You can’t blame MasJ, or his team members, for reacting like this. Jacob Mathias, the owner of LoveROMs, currently stands to lose millions if a court decides in Nintendo’s favour, and while old video games are cool and fun, hosting some on a website is not a hill anyone wants to financially die upon.

Yet it’s hard not to also feel sadness at this trend, if not a little anger. Yeah, playing these games for free is technically illegal, but companies like Nintendo have been so bad at making their back catalogues easily available that ROM sites have long been providing a level of service that video game publishers have been unable (or unwilling) to match.

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It’s kinda like the music piracy argument from the 2000s, when record labels fought a losing battle against consumers who preferred the convenience and accessibility that piracy provided. Only it’s hard picturing companies like Nintendo and Sega ever reconciling that a Spotify/Netflix-type service for their back catalogues is the answer to their current legal crusade.

Also worth noting is the preservation benefits sites like EmuParadise provide, which Frank Cifaldi puts so well here (please read the whole thread).

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You can read MasJ’s full statement here.

Luke Plunkett is a Senior Editor based in Canberra, Australia. He has written a book on cosplay, designed a game about airplanes, and also runs cosplay.kotaku.com.

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DISCUSSION

whee234whoo
WhoDatNinja

People really need to archive important data because it will, indeed, be impossible in the future to get this type of stuff. Which hurts us more than helps companies that barely even try to profit off legacy hardware/software through legacy offerings. Republicans have already started the assault and not even on gray areas like this but common sense neutrality areas. GET YOUR DATA NOW FOLKS!

The SNES and NES Classic are nice and all but they use a crappy scanline filter instead of CRT with signal aberrations. Like an NTSC TV outputting halation and less than perfect signals. It really makes a difference.

unfiltered vs crt filter with moderate aberrations (and I didn’t even tweak it to zone it in better):

The second image looks a lot closer to what my CRT outputs in a real “classic” setup. Thank god for Retroarch!

If you want to go really nostalgic you can really make NES games look like they did on your basement TV:

no filter vs old and rough tv crt

And if you wanted to you could get rid of the curvation or make things even grittier, blurier, etc.

To say nothing of emulation, “piracy” being great at preserving data. We lost a lot of interesting Arcade games due to no one preserving them in time. Can you imagine, 100 years from now, losing some NES and SNES classics because some licensing fell between the cracks, files were lost and physical cartridges all burned out or were destroyed? (World wars get rid of A LOT of possessions you never thought would go away, to say nothing of physical degradation)

RIP Emuparadise. (Not many went there just for the “community” alone)  RIP, for now at least, fair use as it should be.