from the slow-clap dept
We have long chronicled the aggressive IP enforcement tactics and behavior of video game giant Nintendo. There have been so many stories specifically about Nintendo’s animosity towards its fans when those fans express their fandom by creating fan-games that any regular reader here will be familiar with at least some of them. While gaming company responses towards fan-games are certainly more of a spectrum than something black and white, Nintendo probably takes the crown for the least permissive gaming company for this sort of thing. So much so, in fact, that we highlighted its former chief rival, Sega, when it took the opposite tact with folks making Sonic the Hedgehog fan-games.
Well, someone out there took the time to create a parody news article about Sega doing a heel-turn on this in a way that seems mostly dedicated to skewering Nintendo for its aggressive, anti-fan behavior. The headline for the comedy post is, appropriately, “Sega Announces They Will Be Using Fan-Game Creators To Develop New Sonic Lawsuit.”
Let’s dive in.
Sega announced today that, after a down-period of creativity in its staple Sonic franchise, the company will be reaching out to fan game developers to create new and exciting lawsuits.
“For years, people have said that Sega’s Sonic games lack that magic from the original games, while fan games have become impressive standalone titles,” said Sonic team leader Takashi Iizuka. “We worked with fans to make Sonic Mania and then everybody was all like ‘oh I guess the fans are better than Sega at making their own game,’ so now we’re switching up the strategy, because fuck you guys. From now on, we have to go full Nintendo and sue these fuckers for every single penny they’ve got. These people have spent their own time and money creating beautiful, loving tributes to Sonic games, and they thought they could just get away with it. Sonic Team is honored to take these longtime fans, some of them even just kids, and drag them kicking and screaming behind bars where they belong.”
“Go full Nintendo.” Sega and Nintendo have taken starkly different paths interacting with their most dedicated fans and this fictional post is essentially poking fun at the latter by satirizing what it would look like if Sega got aggressive. More to the point, it does a useful job of pointing out, given that all of this is not true and done for comedic purposes, that Nintendo could exert less control and allow its fans to express themselves if it wanted to. If Sega can do it, so can Nintendo.
But Nintendo doesn’t want to do this. It values strict IP control over everything else, even as many argue doing so is against its own monetary interests.
Go to the link for one fun fictional comment from a Sega fan being put into the back of a squad car, but I couldn’t let this post be written without including the final paragraph from the post, because it’s just so, so good.
Despite the lawsuit, Sega admitted they were incredibly thankful for the fan designer’s unique, exciting ideas for Sonic games that they could completely ignore for the next decade. They then announced their new game Werewolf Sonic 2: Sorry, Fuckers will be arriving in 2023.
While this is all quite funny, it’s also frustrating trying to understand why in the world Nintendo is willing to endure being the butt of these particular jokes, not to mention the negative aspects of its reputation, just because it wants to squash its own fanbase. In nearly all cases, the company gains nothing and loses at least some measure of goodwill and respect. Put another way, if you took this parody article and replaced every reference to Sega with Nintendo, it wouldn’t be that far off from reality.
Why a beloved gaming company wants that for itself is an open question.