Game Theory: My Fan Game is a CRIME?!

Game Theory: My Fan Game is a CRIME?!

well took me ten years you guys but my video game is finally finished oh this is amazing finally it's called drumroll please superb barrio siblings you play as two Spanish electricians traveling through the truffle Empire to rescue Queen nectarine from the evil clutches of King trouser oh yeah an evil pants creature any similarities to other game franchises are purely coincidental I swear and it is going up on gamejolt right now [Applause] hello Internet welcome to game theory where let's face it the world just wasn't ready for king trouser truly he was a video game villain before his time you know when you really stop to think about it the Internet's a fascinating place we're a culture of memes and remixes taking old ideas and making them new again when Nintendo revealed to a Lola executor the internet lit up photoshopping its awkwardly long neck onto everything from Mario's flagpole to kylo Ren's lightsaber for the land of the rickroll and the more recent incarnation to John Cena blasts for crying out loud a single frame from the old animated Arthur series is one of the hottest memes right now let me say that again a family friendly kids show airing on a publicly funded television station about a nerdy aardvark is now a meme about wanting to smack somebody up Kyle Cohn said when the Internet chooses to me by something remix it dude a nerd around an auto-tune it whatever it's like a badge of honor a seal of approval you've struck a chord with people and in gaming one version of that is the fan game before the interwebs there was never a good place for people to quickly and easily share their games with others go to Advent of sites like gamejolt services like Steam greenlight and game creation tools like RPG Maker producing your own games and sharing them with others is easier than ever before from the early days the fan created hacks like kaizo mario to the more recent explosion of snap and undertale spin-offs fans inspired by their favorite games are now empowered to learn game design by making their own tributes and offshoots heck undertale itself has its origins as a fan game of earthbound and personally I love it over on GT live we've been playing them all because a lot of these games are great and the love that the creators have for the franchises is obvious from the opening seconds well to me at least it's obvious to the original creators of the games maybe not so much you see just recently we've seen some major fan projects released a fan made Pokemon game called Pokemon uranium blew up the internet with well over a million downloads in the first nine days before Nintendo struck down to put that in perspective numbers like that would put it in the top 14 and no 3ds games of all time and that's in just a week luckily I was one of those first million it's another game I'm playing on GT Live similarly a fan recreation of Metroid 2 called a m2r or another Metroid 2 remake was literally gone overnight man Nintendo lawyers have been busy it's not like the creators of these games are trying to make money or put these things out carelessly pokemon uranium literally took nine years in development and cost nothing to download so then why are these busy ceasing and desisting when all the rest of the snap clones and spin-offs like five nights at candy's those links rachels the joy of creation or the undertale inspired games like over tail and mother tail allowed to stay off is it just because their creators are cooler because their indie or is there something else at work when is a fan game truly a fan game when is it safe after digging through decades worth of court cases I was shocked to learn that the answer to that very question has changed in some frightening ways recently ways that could permanently change the face of gaming and online fan culture know that gaming on youtube has gotten so big all the cool kids are talking about copyright and fair use everybody seems to give out advice about fair use these days like their Miss Cleo giving out dating advice in 1998 for $0.50 a minute of course but this issue goes way farther back than fan games on YouTube it goes back all the way to pong that's right there was a copyright case over a game literally made of two lines and a dot back in 1976 but that one mostly had to do with the gaming hardware when it comes to deciding what content you can copyright within the game that was largely decided by two really famous cases asteroids versus meteors and Street Fighter vs. fighters history now if the game developer claims that someone has copied their game the court does what's called an extrinsic analysis of each game and it's literally this they go through each game and make a list of what parts of the game are the same and which ones are different seriously this is the mind-blowing legal authority of the United States here people it is literally a spot the difference puzzle from third grade let's see this Luigi has a black button this lung is wearing a yellow tunic this Mario is slightly sociopathic so now I'm gonna put you in the shoes of the judges and have us all play a little game I like to call is it copyright infringement I show you two games you tell me if one is infringing on the other the plant home version will be released to a Toys R Us near you in the couple days round one asteroids vs. meteors from 1981 I'll give you a minute everyone have your answers locked in good round two Pierce Street Fighter and here's fighter's history infringing or no is that your final answer ready for the answers well let's take a look at round one when Atari tried to see hole maker games the maker of meteors the court made a list of 22 similarities between the games and nine differences they did the same thing in a case between Capcom and data Eastover Street Fighter and fighters history in both of these cases you look at these two games and they look practically the same yes meteors is in color or whatever but the mechanics of breaking up the rocks are all the same you shoot it it splits into same point values same objectives etc and in the Street Fighter clone there are screams that look practically identical with characters who are practically carbon copies of each other and move sets that are barely distinguishable so clearly these games must have been able to protect their copyrights rights raw both of these cases were thrown out because neither of the clones violated copyrights what turns out you can't protect those Street Fighter characters under copyright because they're based on archetype fighters from around the world forget the fact that both games star a dark haired martial artist who has a spinning multi-hit kick Capcom didn't invent the idea of a martial artist so real can't be copyrighted and the movesets for all the characters well those are just based on real-life fighting techniques so again not invented by Capcom and as a result not something that they can copy so for the moves that weren't real like fireballs leaving hands the color and look were different so again not copyright infringement I kid you not the court even acknowledged fighters history was a street fighter to clone released to ride off of its popularity but yeah that is totally fine same with meteors Atari didn't invent rocks in outer space so you can't copyright the idea of shooting rocks in outer space according to them any game that's gonna have you shooting rocks in outer space is gonna look something like asteroids there's no way around it apparently I mean I would propose things like changing the camera angle but hey I'm no expert Who am I to judge so as you can see these court rulings make it really hard to protect your game I think all of us would agree that asteroids and meteors are practically the same thing but according to the courts a company can't have a monopoly over a game idea it boils down to the expression of the game elements not the mechanics of the game forget the fact that the ship rotates the same way accelerates the same way and the space rocks break apart in the same way one was in color one was in black and white vector graphics making them two completely different things that said a s to M and Pokemon uranium would still both be struck down using visuals maps and logos from the original games not to mention the trademark infringement of the word Pokemon but also under these criteria most undertale fan games could also be busted as many used character designs and locations from the original game toby fox is just a cool guy letting cool people use his cool characters so is no fan games safe then well for that we turn to math which falls into an interesting gray area you see unlike undertale games that keep all the characters and locations most freddy fan games take the idea of haunted animatronics hunting you in a building and make it their own by creating new robots in a spin-off story the mechanics may be the same but the expression of those mechanics is different candies is set in the aftermath of naff alluding to some close down pizzeria and featuring the return of a familiar looking puppet similar but not quite the same those nights at Rachel's does the same thing and both added new features like leaning or turning on lights while in camera mode the joy of creation takes it even further and makes the whole thing free-roaming based on these court rulings Freddie striking down these would be like Mario striking down Sonic for being a platformer snaf created a genre of robot restaurant survival is it a very specific genre yeah but just like the asteroids case if one wanted to make a haunted chuck-e-cheese style game you would need a restaurant setting with animal themed robots Scott coffin wouldn't have a monopoly over that idea so long as the map's characters sound and story were different you would be in the clear but before you think to yourself yes I can finally create that snap clone where I'm in a haunted Olive Garden and all the animatronics are shaped like buttery breadsticks first of all get out of my head but secondly you might want to slow that train down there fella because it looks like the times might be a change in and we as gamers might be the ones to blame let me introduce you to Triple Town versus Yeti town two of the literally hundreds of mobile tile-matching games out there on the market today these games are seriously a dime a dozen and they all play exactly the same so how are you possibly gonna single out one that infringes on the copyrights of another well in 2012 a judge managed to do just that with these two games which when you look at them look a lot less similar than something like candy crush versus candy sweets or candy blast or candy star or crafty candy come on are you guys kidding mobile games man geez huh anyway what made this case different was that they not only did an extrinsic analysis they also did something the court called an intrinsic analysis which was meant to look at the game as a whole through the eyes of an ordinary observer and how do you do that play the games maybe haha don't be silly the judge in the case never actually played either game even though he personally said quote it is difficult to compare two video games by looking at a few screenshots and reading written descriptions of gameplay and quotes uh objection your honor these things are like $0.99 in the App Store oh just kidding triple town is actually free but go ahead pass a ruling that will affect all of gaming's future without actually playing the game for yourself that's totally cool bro ah the legal system is so not ready for the Internet age ya know what the judge did was turned to the opinions of video game bloggers that's right they looked at what video game buggers said about the total concept and feel of the games and based the decision in the case on the fact that vloggers called the Yeti town a copy of triple town despite examining the codes of bolt games and finding no plagiarism so yes ladies and gentlemen of the Internet you heard that right game bloggers decided that case us because I know if I'm looking for sound legal opinions I turn to the expert advice of ksi and diamond mine card but even scarier than listening to this man for expertise on the law think about the way that we talk about games it's a Minecraft clone it's a cod wannabe it's amnesia meets outlast under this court ruling those sorts of statements could be legally admissible judgments and most importantly of all it means for the first time ever in history whole game genres could be claimed by one creator under the old rules it was just the expression of mechanics that were protected superficial things like names and colors and sounds but now the mechanics themselves are being claimed in other words copyright law is getting tighter around these things at a time when gaming culture is looser and more exploratory than it's ever been I mean in just last week's episode I called 7 days to die the equivalent of Minecraft because you punch things to gather resources craft axes and defend yourself from zombies could this be struck down by this they look nothing alike and yet based on the mechanical similarities it could be possible under this new regime could battlefield take down Call of Duty since both are boots on the ground first person shooters emphasizing realism well both were boots on the ground first person shooters emphasizing realism but because battlefield came first it'd be the one to win could Mario have taken down all the 90s era platformers that tried to claim his throne well if you're jumping across platforms and collecting coins where a hundred means a new life you kill enemies by jumping on them and each stage ends with some goal Sonic the Hedgehog then yeah it could really have happened and so then where does that leave our fan games well Kandi's and Rachel's are now solidly out because even though they're not using the same characters maps or sounds we call them Nath clothes and to the court that's good enough even the additions to the game's mechanics like leaning and camera lights wouldn't help thanks to an old case around pac-man Leon pac-man's dot eating game supremacy was threatened by a game called tasty munchkin a maze chase game featuring ghosts chasing a puck like character while he eats dots despite having fewer dots dots that moved dead ends a moving map and other small tweaks the court ruled that the two games were too similar and gave pac-man the win and sole ownership over the maze chase genre of gaming that leaves joy of creation as our last game standing the only fan game that be legally safe across all of our examples is it does something different gameplay wise offering a free roaming experience just make sure that you're changing up those animatronic names and this brings up one last fun twist that comes out of all of this as we've seen in the teasers for sister location your character seems to be moving between different locations from vents to control panels to bunkers as of last night as theorists even discovered a hidden map that was released so if Scott would have the player running between those places and sister location hiding from the roaming robots joy of creation the fan game would be the original and thus we would have come full circle the fan games shutting down the original source of inspiration isn't the legal system fun but hey that's just a theory a game theory thanks for watching speaking of naff have you seen me playing nath in real life yet well I haven't either since I was playing five nights at candy's in that clip for copyright reasons all the old bait-and-switch hey you could watch that episode as well as me getting beaten up by an ostrich on my series game lab which if you haven't checked it out yet you absolutely should by clicking right here it's on YouTube bread which I know makes a lot of you guys upset but hey old episodes are out right now so you can get yourself a free trial watch the show and then just you know do what you want with your subscription before that free trial ends I'm not gonna judge oh you know what actually before you cancel it I mean decide what you're gonna want to do with that subscription you can also check out the finesse themed episode of scare PewDiePie that I was in where I get tackled by an animatronic dog real smooth map and legitimately no joke this is the first time ever I meet Felix it's on camera with a bag over my head in a recreation of a haunted arcade seriously strangest introduction ever no wonder he never returns my calls plus it's worth mentioning game land was just nominated for two Streamy Awards naming it one of the best non-fiction shows of the entire internet for the past year which is pretty awesome we're up against things like the Discovery Channel and National Geographic which is a huge honor it's also kind of funny considering that the whole thing was inspired by Mythbusters way back during episode 23 of this show this show at any budget I demonstrate the difference by hopping in a plane with an expert pilot probably including some comedic routine where I was made sick by the g-forces created instead you get some Mythbusters footage and a couple of still images anyway I just want you guys to check it out since no matter what the haters may say I did it for you to give you guys the reality check series that you liked so much on the channel without each episode having to be a paid for commercial by a bunch of sponsored video games that's also why there were a bunch of 360 videos with each episode who's all born on the idea that hey you guys watching the channel or the reason why I'm able to do cool stuff like defuse a bomb with the game grumps or play soccer with real-life cars and so I wanted to figure out a way that put you in the middle of the action alongside me from the 360 videos were the best way to do that I know it was confusing for a while there while we were uploading them onto the channel so that explains it hopefully anyway this end card has gotten really long as I ramble so click my face and give it a watch when you can the videos aren't going anywhere so they'll be there when you're ready to watch and that's it for today so next week break out your pixel rulers cuz we're looking at Mario's jump I'll see you then

27 thoughts on “Game Theory: My Fan Game is a CRIME?!

  • Matpat: now in putting you in the judges shoes. Me: wait I'm judge Judy or Hillary NOOOOOOO??!?!

  • im glad toby fox is nice with his characters and shares them… [in a sense]. though, he needs to ban those inaproipriate ones.

  • I'm pretty sure Terraria isn't a copy of Minecraft, as they both actually respect one another by having an Easter egg referencing either game

  • Today it was cloudy for me so I decided to watch a bunch of game/film/gtlive videos. And now the only thing that pops up in “up next” are those videos. Good job Youtube bots, they really figure out what your interested in.

  • Oh geez, now I'm afraid what the future has for fan games! And I already new about Pokemon Uranium, but 9 FLIPPIN' YEARS???!!!! REALLY!!! I ALREADY LOST SOME RESPECT TOWARDS NINTENDO FOR POKEMON BB BUT NOW I'E LOST EVEN MORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • I just want to say thank you Matpat. You make honest, entertaining fact-filled videos. It's so amazing because I've referenced and used some of the information in your videos to write essays. With proper citations of course. So I just wanna say: Thank

  • F to pay respects to Pokemon Brick Bronze.

    What's funny about that too is that they weren't only using copyrighted sprites but they were also making money off of the game from game passes so I don't see why people were so confused and angry when it was taken down.

  • I need to see this because someday in the future I may be doing a game that a character shoots fire but also rolls around at the speed of sound but can fly just like Kirby but has fruit as coins, rings whatever and has some music from other games

  • Right Matpat!? It’s like PUBG framing Fortnite for copyright, sure Fortnite uses the same mechanics, but at the same time it uses its own mechanics.

  • Scot Cawthon and Toby Fox are the coolest creators as they allow their fans to make games around their own. Thanks for that.

  • hey mat actually…im pissed off of nintendo for SHUTTING POKEMON BRICK BRONZE ON ROBLOX right now…..i miss my greninja…. and none of the players got their robux refunded back! and robux costs REAL MONEY

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