Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Why Some Remakes Are No Longer Available

You may have noticed that some of the remakes I wrote are no longer available. Here's the deal...

Back in April I received an email from Mike Singleton - of "Lords of Midnight" fame - asking me to take down the 2 remakes of his games that I had ported to Android. I've had the Game Boy Advance versions of these up for some years but now Mike is creating an iOS version and it's understandable that he wants exclusivity of his own work - Android is too close to home here. A bit of a shame, but there you go.

In his email, he points out the following:
A word of advice also - it seems you have also made some versions of Elite. I know for a fact that David Braben is very sensitive about his copyright in this, so be very careful.
In order to avoid any more problems I decided to pull down my Elite remakes too. In fact it felt good to know that I wouldn't see any more support emails asking for bug fixes ;-)

I believe that GBA and Nintendo DS remakes have flown under the radar as they are niche platforms. Android and iPhone are higher profile since they are mainstream and seem to be more "legit".
For example, in order to run homebrew on the GBA/DS you already need a piece of hardware that is associated with unauthorized copies of Nintendo games. Whereas the same remakes are easily downloadable by anyone for free from the app store without any extra hardware.

As it stands if I use the material from the original games (graphics, models, game data), then it is a textbook copyright infringement. The rest is then a matter of time until the copyright holder happens to notice and asks me to take the game down. I think changing art assets, place name text and not naming it the same as the original are a minimum for this not to happen. But then a remake loses its charm. Plus I'm pretty crap at art anyway :-)

The current status is that I've left my "Chaos" remake up on the Android store, plus the GBA remakes whose copyright seems to be in a state of limbo. I don't think anyone would care about the rights to Castle Master anymore, and Cyclone's author was last seen designing toys for Fisher Price. Julian Gollop has been quoted as saying he has released his early games to the public domain, so Chaos should be OK. He is still actively creating new games - I bought the rather underrated Ghost Recon game on the 3DS that he produced - so maybe even this is risky.

Anyway that's the story. At least I can say "it was all my own fault", not like poor ant512 who recently had to pull down his Earth Shaker remake - he sensibly asked permission from the original author - because the Boulder Dash copyright holders don't want anyone to make a 2D game involving dirt, rocks and diamonds but them.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous6:38 pm

    For those who do not know, Mike Singleton passed away recently..... http://www.icemark.com/blog/archives/2012/10/16/night-has-fallen/


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