Nintendo legal rumblings provoke boycott call
Action against emulator developers would be a "public relations fiasco"
PC users keen play games using emulation software have been urged to boycott Nintendo in response the Great Satan of Italian Plumbers' statements that is considering legal action against the two developers of the latest N64 emulator, UltraHLE. The call came from Classic Gaming, a Web site devoted to emulation. "In light of Nintendo's recent controversial actions and statements, there is growing support for a boycott of Nintendo," claimed the site. "If Nintendo does go ahead with a lawsuit, momentum for such a boycott will no doubt gather steam, and could ultimately cost Nintendo more than had they just left well enough alone." The statement was made after the one of developers of UltraHLE (Ultra High-Level Emulator) issued their response to Nintendo's possible legal challenge. "I can adamantly state that we, in no way, circumvented any [Nintendo] security device as [a Nintendo spokeswoman] has suggested. I don't even know what it is," wrote the developer, 'RealityMan'. "We used publicly available information in the creation of this software and only emulated core processor technology." That Nintendo claim was made last week when the company responded to questions posed after UltraHLE was removed from its download site within 24 hours of its posting there (see N64 emulator vanishes after lawsuit threat). Nintendo also claimed emulators were "illegal" because they encourage users to pirate N64 games. The emulator was removed in case Nintendo began legal action against the developers, just as Sony is planning to do with commercial Mac-based PlayStation emulator creator Connectix. RealityMan's defence is essentially that offered by Connectix in its own case: that no intellectual property was violated because the emulator was developed using a 'clean room' using a room approach -- you tabulate what the system does in response to certain inputs and replicate that behaviour. Sony also claimed Connectix's emulator, Virtual GameStation (VGS), promoted piracy by bypassing security systems, a claim that Connectix denies. Connectix last week won the first round of the battle when Sony was not granted a preliminary court order banning sales of VGS until the main case is settled (see earlier story). However, while VGS can play legitimate PlayStation CDs, UltraHLE has to work with games illegally downloaded from an N64 game cartridge. Of course, whether such acts are the responsibility of the emulator developer is open to question. In Connectix's case, the company can argue VGS is like a hi-fi's double tape deck -- it's can and is meant to be used legitimately. That doesn't necessarily apply to UltraHLE since it can't be used with legitimate N64 games, at least until someone somehow merges the PC and N64 platforms. ® See also PlayStation emulator developer to fight Sony lawsuit Sony to sue Connectix over PlayStation emulator Apple to bid for PlayStation emulator outfit? PlayStation emulator launched for Mac