Hand-drawn game guides fan project halted after Nintendo request – Update

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A Kickstarter campaign for hand-drawn game guides has been halted at the hands of Nintendo. The Japanese game company contacted the creator of the fan project, who subsequently canceled the campaign.

A month after the Kickstarter campaign kicked off, the project had already raised more than $322,000, while the target amount was just $20,000. The artist, Philip Summers, wrote that he hoped to avoid ‘possible legal problems’, but that unfortunately he was unable to do so. Nintendo filed a takedown request alleging copyright infringement. Summers subsequently canceled the campaign.

Summers nevertheless calls the past month “great.” “It was a great ride and I’m thankful for it anyway.” The project, which he described on his Kickstarter page as “carefully drawn and handwritten guides to classic games,” was already well advanced. Guides for Metroid, The Legend of Zelda, Contra and Ninja Gaiden were in the works.

Nintendo often has fan projects taken offline. For example, it has several times had a whole series of fan games removed from community site Game Jolt. An online archive of old Nintendo magazines has also been taken off the internet after a summons from the game company. In the past, Nintendo has also stopped the publication of an unofficial NES book that was also funded via Kickstarter. The book used real photos from Nintendo games, while Summers’ project consists solely of homemade drawings.

Update, Tuesday 7 September, 10.25 am: The initiator clarifies in an update on his Kickstarter page that there was no question of a summons, but only of a lawyer who contacted the artist. Based on that conversation, he decided to cancel the project himself. Summers also reports that this does not have to mean the end of the initiative. “Hopefully we can put the campaign back online soon, this time with approval.”

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