So I’ve been spending the better part of the day breaking the law.
For some reason, game companies have decided that it is a crime on equal level of dealing meth, murdering babies, and buying Bieber concert tickets for the fan community to create complete unique sequels to their favorite games. One after another, these games, made with the sole intent of CELEBRATING these titles and not making ANY MONEY AT ALL WHATSOEVER throw up every red flag imaginable and prompt companies to send a Justice League of Lawyers after some guy and his after-work side project. It’d be funny if it wasn’t so stunningly unnecessarily harsh.
Excuses can be made and maybe there are points. These are copyrighted characters and the intellectual properties of their respective companies. As an artist myself I’m sure I would be uncomfortable if someone took one of my characters and decided to craft their own adventure with them without my permission. Artists are very precious, and our output is our babies.
Or maybe they’re just afraid that amateur workers will produce amateur work. Years go into development down to every pixel. These things are QTd to death. Focus groups, demos, so on and so forth. Games just don’t magic themselves into being (mostly, at least). There’s work, and very hard work at that. To see someone besmirch your blood and sweat with some wannabe “sequel” could be incredibly insulting and potentially hurt the brand name. Screw that.
But I don’t think it’s so noble a cause. To me it’s all bathed in green and that corporations lose their stockholding shit when the possibility exists that someone somewhere might maybe make ONE DOLLAR off their property. Of course, none of the fan games I’ve seen have EVER asked for money. In fact, the majority ENCOURAGE you to go buy the original game and make it expressly clear that they didn’t create their game for profit. Simply many labors of love.
But love has no place in capitalist culture. The only reds they see are dipping profits. Black and green are their banners. And so we exist in this police state of creativity. Only the art of the state is accepted. Heaven help those who try to spread the gospel.
Today I spent a good portion of my waking hours enjoy a tremendously polished demo of the (hopefully) upcoming AM2R: a remake of the Gameboy title Metroid 2: The Return of Samus. If you’re a 2D Metroid fan it’s a MUST PLAY. Imagine Zero Mission…but better. And…freer. Again, right now it’s just a demo, but a rich one, and hopefully one portending of things to come. But hell even if the final project vanishes, this demo is a hoot.
Another game I played…doesn’t exist. Nope…sure doesn’t. It absolutely doesn’t since Square Enix sent a C&D to the developer and demanded all copies be destroyed. Which they did. And absolutely none of them were leaked. Nope. Not a one. I won’t name what it is but Chronologically if you Trigger me at a certain time I may see Crimson from my fanboy love and Echo what it may be. If it did exist I might even tell you it’s about as perfect a fan sequel as we’re gonna see. Well worth the effort to find it.
But you won’t…since it doesn’t exist.
My point isn’t that developers should just chill the fuck out and let fanboys be fanboys (I don’t see them coming down on DeviantArt!), since we’re all in agreement there. This is a message to those would-be sequel/remake makers.
Don’t give up.
Even though you’ll most likely fail.
Odds are horribly not in your favor. Lawyers will email you in moments and you better follow them to the letter. All the hard work you’ve put in will most likely all be for naught. Either way your spectacular release will probably wind up being a lonely emptying of your recycling bin.
Because, despite it all, these games still see sunshine. Roms get “leaked” or companies don’t quite catch up to would-be developers and we all get to reap the benefits. It’s the information age, and as Joss Whedon put it, you truly can’t stop the signal.
They can take away our ball, but we’ll still find a way to play.
And what an adventure that becomes. Suddenly in the age of everything, we have to endeavor to uncover treasure. This is the gaming generation’s bootleg VHS. We have to earn our entertainment and that makes the enjoyment of it so much sweeter. We lose the cynicism that comes with ease and instead learn to truly appreciate effort.
So keep on programming guys and gals. Don’t forget, though, Big Bionic Brother will probably find you eventually.
But so will we.