Totally saw this coming. After just under a couple weeks the valuable history on display on Archive.org of Nintendo Power has been removed. The important detail to note is that Nintendo Power was discontinued in 2012. Nintendo Power was, of course, a magazine that provided details of games coming out, accessories to look out for, and interviews with some of the dominant forces in Nintendo. To gaming historians, Nintendo Power is an invaluable source, one that is becoming harder and harder to track down.
The online archive was a dream come true! Being able to see all of this magical covers arrayed meticulously in order and seeing the innards of a time long-forgotten was an absolute treat. Jason Scott, creator of the archive and one of the visionaries behind gaming history put the scans online in February, with the page gaining popularity a few weeks ago after trending on social media. Goes to show that Nintendo may not be actively searching for things that “infringe copyright”, but merely reacting to what is gaining attention. The same treatment was given to the amazing Metroid 2 remake, only a day after its launch.
Fair Use is something the internet space struggles with, whether its journalist giving bad scores to popular games or video producers using footage from said games, or other creative minds just applying their own spin on the characters. Out of any law involving copyright, Fair Use is the one that will have to adapt to the online jungle and will end up seeing changes here in the next few years. It pains me when developers take down fan projects, especially when these projects are not seeking funding. When no money is made from these intellectual properties, its hard for me to accept that it could harm the character or the franchise.
Should the archive have been taken down? I really don’t think so, but if Nintendo would happen to see an obvious opportunity here, I would be surprised. Some of the scans in Scott’s collection were not perfect. Out of 145, at least a handful could’ve been sharper or organised a little better. So here is where Nintendo could create their own archive, cataloging the entire Nintendo Power collection. I doubt they would do as such, but it would be a great bit of information to have on Nintendo’s own website.
Either way, its a shame this particularly good archive has been shut down, but those scans are not lost of that I am certain. That archive will be missed, but history cannot be unwritten.