For seven years, Nintendo fan Zeropaige toiled away on a port of Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) classic Super Mario Bros. for the Commodore 64 home computer.
While Zeropaige finally released the port online last week, his accomplishment has ultimately proven to be short-lived.
On April 22nd, Nintendo issued a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown for the port, resulting in its removal from several hosting sites, such as the Vancouver, Washington-based PXC Commodore Club.
Good times. Due to a DMCA takedown notice we had to remove the Super Mario Bros 64 download from our website blog post from 4 days ago. Hopefully everyone enjoys the #Commodore 64 #C64 game who was able to snag it.
— PDX Commodore Club (@c64club) April 22, 2019
The port is particularly noteworthy because the Commodore 64 only has a clock speed of around 1Mhz — roughly 55 percent of the NES’ speed. Therefore, the Commodore 64 is not a system that is designed to run the smooth full-screen scrolling found in titles like Super Mario Bros.
Nintendo has yet to publicly comment on the matter. However, the company has traditionally been strict about fan projects involving its intellectual property (IP).
In September 2016, Nintendo ordered DMCA takedowns of over 500 fan games based on its properties. A promising 10-years-in-making Metroid II fan remake was also shut down. The company has even ordered the removal of game mods, including one that added online play to Super Mario 64.
Nintendo’s frequent issuing of DMCA notices even led Sonic the Hedgehog publisher Sega to respond by expressing its support for fan-driven projects based on its games. Further, Sega eventually brought on a team of fans to develop Sonic Mania, which released in 2017 and went on to become a commercial success and the highest-rated Sonic game in 25 years.
Outside of a seeming desire to closely protect its IP, Nintendo has also been pushing retro gaming in its own ways, so it likely sees these fan efforts as a form of competition.
In addition to its NES Classic and SNES Classic mini consoles, which come pre-installed with beloved old-school titles like Super Mario Bros., Nintendo has been using retro games as a selling point for its Switch Online service. Those with a paying subscription to Switch Online are able to access a growing catalogue of digital NES games, Super Mario Bros. included.
In the meantime, check out what Zeropaige’s Commodore 64 port of Super Mario Bros. looks like: