Spooked By Nintendo, Popular ROM Site ‘Changes’ After 18 Years

Spooked By Nintendo, Popular ROM Site ‘Changes’ After 18 Years

EmuParadise, one of the world’s longest-running and most popular emulator communities, announced 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.

Nintendo Suing Pirate Websites For Millions

On July 19, Nintendo filed suit in an Arizona Federal Court against the operator of two popular retro gaming sites, which had been hosting ROMS of some of the company’s most famous games.

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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.

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.

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).

You can read MasJ’s full statement here.


    • Which, arguably, will turn into a loss of Nintendo, who’s system sellers are almost entirely well-travelled, first-party IPs which bank a huge amount on nostalgia.

  • This is sad, I have to use an emulator these days thanks to both my brick Gameboy and my Advance. This sucks as I still like to go back to the less popular old titles like Battle Network that never made it to the DS store.

  • if there were a legal and convenient way to play these titles, I’d throw money at it. Ever tried buying a physical copy of Snatcher or Panzer Dragoon Saga? Wouldn’t recommend it

  • Nintendo is the proverbial rich kid in the sandpit who will regularly chuck a hissy fit, and who will take all their toys home to make sure that no one else can play.

  • Bad days, nintendo and other consoles should just be happy that people are willing to play games that they no longer support/make. Would they rather people never recall a descent game they made 20+ years ago on consoles that they themselves killed off. (just like ninitendo are currently trying on the 3DS consoles, sony did on ps1/2/3/psp/vita and microsoft on most xbox/360 games until they take time to get them running)

  • To this day I remain baffled as to why most console sellers aren’t embracing the opportunity to sell old IP. Nintendo, for one, could make an absolute killing by building a proper retro game marketplace. Either price the games to sell in volume (eg, at $5 a game, most people would buy several titles), or price them for gains (eg $20/30 per game). Nintendo has such a huge back catalogue of titles they own the IP for, and plenty more they could get the rights to.

    How many people here would buy a bunch of games they’ve owned previously? How many people would go and try out titles they’d heard of but never played?

    We know (thanks to emulators and hackers) that the Switch can run Wii/N64/Gamecube/SNES/NES/3DS/DS/GBA/GB/GBC…

  • We all just gonna pretend that “MasJ” who owns a ROM site is a totally different person to “Jacob Mathias” who’s being sued for running a different ROM site?

  • The site had lost most of its roms anyway. For the last couple of years it only had like 20-30% of roms from a system. Most of them had been taken down.

    None the less, Still plenty of sites and avenues for getting roms.

  • I’m not at all happy with what has been happening over the past couple of years. As someone who a) lives in the bush, and b) loves retro gaming and all things 80’s it’s extremely difficult to get anything. My nearest game shop is over 400k away and nearest video store – well who knows, maybe 1200k away.
    I would happily pay a similar membership like Xbox Live for access to Master System and NES games if Sega or Nintendo would pull their heads out of their proverbials and create it

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