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Classic Games (Games) Nintendo Open Source Games

Full Screen Mario: Making the Case For Shorter Copyrights 361

barlevg writes "A college student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute spent nine months meticulously remaking Super Mario Bros. based on the latest web standards. His project is open source and the code freely available through Github. The site recently gained widespread media attention, which unfortunately brought it to the attention of Nintendo, which has requested that the site be taken down. In a column on the Washington Post website, tech blogger Timothy Lee makes the case for how this is a prime example of copyrights hindering innovation and why copyright lengths should be shortened. Among his arguments: copyrights hinder innovation by game designers seeking to build upon such games, and shortening copyright would breathe new life into games who have long since passed into obsolescence."
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Full Screen Mario: Making the Case For Shorter Copyrights

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  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Friday October 18, 2013 @11:17AM (#45165107)

    That can even now days that may have a unknown owner makeing finding who has the rights hard.

  • Game design is hard (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Friday October 18, 2013 @11:17AM (#45165109)
    which is why Nintendo remakes games so often (Star Fox, Mario, Zelda, all had recent remakes from the N64 and Gamecube era).

    Budding game designers get a chance to remake a game and release it it's a tremendous learning opportunity. It also provides them with a solid basis to launch new work.

    As an Example, take the Giana sisters. Started as a Super Mario clone in the C64 era, but I don't think anyone would say this [] has much of anything to do with Super Mario besides being a platformer.

    Me? I could live with the long copyrights if we also had big social safety nets and Basic Income (google the phrase if you don't recognize it). A lot of great stuff comes out of Canada and Europe because their socialized health care gives people the freedom to take risks you can't do in the states...
  • I don't think so (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Friday October 18, 2013 @11:22AM (#45165167)
    Nintendo's design work is generally so much better that it's not an issue. Does Intuit worry about Microsoft Money destroying Quickbooks? Not so much.

    It might impair Nintendo's ability to crank out mediocre crap (I'm looking at you Super Mario 3D Land) but overall I don't think that's Nintendo's intention. Nintendo, like Sega, are craftsman that make games. They might screw up sometimes, but it's not for lack of trying, and they mostly get it right. Much as I love Indie platformers, very few come close to Nintendo levels of quality. Frogotto and Friends [] is the only one in recent memory and even it's not prefect.
  • Conflation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Friday October 18, 2013 @11:23AM (#45165185)

    Since when did copying an existing work become innovation?

    Seriously, if you want to use the term innovation it should be in reference to something new.

  • Re:Innovation? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 18, 2013 @11:34AM (#45165337)

    The real question we should ask is "What is the social benefit of Nintendo keeping it's copyrights vs. the social loss of restring access to it's work ?"

    Nintendo budgeted it's Mario development program so as to fully recoup it's costs in a few years of the console market and make a profit, which it did spectacularly well. So anyone looking to do the same can try, with full confidence that copyright will ensure their profitability. On the other hand, very few entities make business and creative decisions based on what will happen 70 years into the future.

    Such long terms are not socially beneficial (because they don't induce more works to be created) but they are socially detrimental because they impede the free use of citizens own property, require public resources to enforce and deprive the public of a work that would have been in the public domain should copyright not existed.

    So instead of an utilitarian compromise, "let's set copyrights just as long/short as necessary to maximize societal gain" we've ended up with this ludicrous "god given property right to profit indefinitely from your own ideas" which never existed throughout history and is actually harmful.

  • Re:Slow (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 18, 2013 @11:35AM (#45165351)

    Emulation accuracy.

  • Re:Innovation? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jalopezp ( 2622345 ) on Friday October 18, 2013 @11:44AM (#45165475)
    The implementation is different. Don't you think there is a lot you can learn about plataformer games by implementing one? Don't you see all the new discoveries that this game enables? When the Trinity Clock was first unveiled in 1910, people similarly questioned its value. 'What value is this? We have seen clocks before, how is making a new one in any way innovative?' they asked, incredulously. But they did not see that the clock was tremendously innovative: its escapement mechanism was novel and revolutionary, allowing it to be one of the most accurate pendulum clocks in the world. There is much more to SMB than its external appearance, which in fact may be called superfluous - what really matters here is the invisible mechanism inside of it that allows it to run. This mechanism, which before was hidden and kept secret, we can now look at, and directly change. Just imagine what you will learn about a protocol based approach to objects as your Yoshi swallows different coloured shells. After playing the -1 world, no-one should ever again make an off-by-one error. Just think of the insights into modularity you will achieve when finishing the special zone. Imagine how evident the shortcomings of a floating point representation will be when you jump on a flag at the end of a level. Visualise how important duck typing will become to you as you grab a fire flower or a star, or when you find your ?block simply contains a coin. All these things are much more ipmortant than a side-scrolling game, and they are innovations we were not delivered 30 years ago when we got the original.

Basic is a high level languish. APL is a high level anguish.