News Article

Naughty Nokia Boasts About Nintendo Games On N900

Posted by Damien McFerran

Official video shows SNES emulator in operation, complete with ROMz

Let's not beat about the bush - the Nokia N900 is a supremely powerful piece of kit and we want one here at Nintendo Life Towers.

The Finnish manufacturer's latest handset is going head-to-head with Apple's iPhone and Motorola's Droid, and has an amazing amount of tricks up its sleeve - one of which is playing SNES games, if a video released by the company is anything to go by.

The clip demonstrates how retro fans can enjoy the likes of Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts and Super Mario World on their shiny new phone, via the emulator Dr. NokSnes. What's more, other emulators are also hinted at, including ones for the NES, GBA and Game Boy.

Now emulators on mobile phones are nothing new. Nokia's Ovi Store (which the N900 will connect to) already has several available and Google's Android platform also showcases similar SNES, GBA, NES and Mega Drive/Genesis emulating programs. However, these downloads don't come with any games, because it's distributing those that is the illegal part of all this - the actual emulators themselves are perfectly fine.

However, for Nokia to so publicly state that the N900 is capable of such activity - and show a video with illegally downloaded ROMs being played - is a bold and possibly foolhardy move. The footage is clearly intended to prove the N900's capabilities as a portable gaming device, and that means encroaching on territory occupied by Nintendo's DS console. To promote this aspect with Nintendo's own games is cheeky, to say the least.

Nintendo is a company that doesn't take kindly to having any of its copyright broken and seeing as there is no way of legally purchasing SNES games on any other device other than the Wii at present, we imagine that Nintendo's lawyers are probably gleefully sharpening their knives as we speak.

Still, it looks fan-bloody-tastic, I'm sure you'll agree. Perhaps this will make Nintendo reconsider its stance on the DS Virtual Console?

UPDATE: Looks like Nintendo might be taking steps as we speak...

[via pocketgamer.co.uk]

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User Comments (59)

paulcmnt

#2

paulcmnt said:

I guess Nokia figured they'd get more money from sales than they'd lose to Nintendo. And to be honest, I'm kinda interested in that phone.

Still, it looks fan-bloody-tastic, I'm sure you'll agree. Perhaps this will make Nintendo reconsider its stance on the DS Virtual Console?

I think there's a good chance this might mobilize Nintendo to add Virtual Console to DSi.

Knux

#3

Knux said:

I sense a lawsuit, Nokia beter be prepared! Still, playing old Nintendo games on a cell phone looks pretty awesome... :D

V8_Ninja

#4

V8_Ninja said:

Wow. Companies are going this low to sell phones? Add this to the fail stupid book.

EDIT: Now that I think about this, it isn't as much as a fail compared to outright stupidity.

DamoAdmin

#6

Damo said:

To be fair, Nokia doesn't create these emulators - they're made by third party developers. What is surprising is that they're so brazenly advertising it themselves.

This kind of thing is common on smartphones but the parent companies very rarely boast about it.

AVahne

#8

AVahne said:

I can see Nokia being sued for advertising this. Nintendo should be doing that DSi virtual console, then there would be less reason for people to get ROMs on their phones. though i could kinda care less because i still gots my trusty GBA SP and i'm gonna try to hunt those old games down

Sean_Aaron

#11

Sean_Aaron said:

In some territories (like the USA) there does seem to be some grey area about the legality of using an emulator for software you have in another format (Fair Use), however the UK has no legal protection for copying of any kind (even taping via cassette is/was technically against the law -- the fact that you can create original audio/video recordings is what allows for sales), but this may change soon.

Could be time to push that question into the spotlight and get some clarification which would then decide the fate of emulation. The question is does Nintendo want to pull the trigger on that possibly resulting in legal emulation and storing of ROMs everywhere?

Moorpheel

#12

Moorpheel said:

what model was this phone again?.... just to stay away from it.. thats it... shifty eyes

rafaelluik

#13

rafaelluik said:

Competition means best products from both sides, I think it's good for Nintendo.

Why not launching a N(intendo)900 cellphone? =]

SuperTrainStationH

#14

SuperTrainStationH said:

Come on Nintendo! If you don't sue Nokia for this I'll be pissed, not because I get off on corporate litigation, but because after all the wannabe preteen game designers you sicked your lawyers on for just posting SCREENSHOTS of the shoddy fangames the were never going to complete or release anyway, you've GOT to go totally insane with rage when a major, mainstream company in real commercial competition with Nintendo's own handhelds actually promotes their product as being able to pirate Nintendo games that should be the bread and butter of the DSi's downloadable library

Sneaker13

#16

Sneaker13 said:

I think this won't last long. Didn't Nintendo shut down an apple application you could by from the store and play roms with?

Kirk

#17

Kirk said:

I don't see how Nintendo could really sue Nokia simply for showing video footage of a SNES game being emulated on the system.

MasterGraveheart

#18

MasterGraveheart said:

Looks like Nintendo is going to be carving up the Nokia turkey this year. Drive one through their black hearts, Nintendo!

You read me right, Nokia... Your hearts and souls are black! Black as the Ace of Spades!

Ryuuga

#20

Ryuuga said:

Pretty interesting to see Nokia promoting an emulator. Well it's a risky move but as diego_pmc wrote before, they'll probably get more money with sales than lose it against Nintendo lawsuit. A nice hand-held emulator is the dream of most retro gamers. And to tell the truth now I'm really interested in this machine. :P

LEGEND_MARIOID

#25

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

I tend to always go for Nokia phones when I get my annual free upgrades...but this is barmy. I wouldn't use that phone "as a phone",i'd use it as a games console. Which is unjustifiable and just plain silly.

Hope Nintendo screw them over, ;-P

Enkeli

#26

Enkeli said:

That SNES emulator isn't Nokia software. It's open source software written for Maemo platform by a 3rd party developer. There's also a GBA emulator availeable for Maemo.

KDR_11k

#27

KDR_11k said:

Nintendo may even have a patent on this stuff. Either way Nokia's in for a world of hurt.

Wesbert

#28

Wesbert said:

Ooh, yes, I can't wait to play retro games on a twiddly, miniscule cellphone-keyboard instead of a proper controller. And the option for left-right movement by turning the damn thing? Classy idea...
BTW, it's not just Nintendo that might sue (I wonder if they have Capcom's permission to use Super Ghouls'n'Ghosts)...

King_Elemento

#29

King_Elemento said:

Well this may/may not explain why I've heard people saying "Oh, I've been playing Pokémon Yellow on my phone lately, lol". =/

Starwolf_UK

#31

Starwolf_UK said:

@Sneaker13. That wasn't an emulator though. It was just a copy of the DS interface used a marketing stunt by the company who made it (after their DS alike got taken down they released the games it came with separately).

@KDR_11k. I think NES and SNES hardware are no longer patented hence all the recent clone systems. The only emulation patent Nintendo owns which I am aware of is one for the vertical scaling used in the Famicom Mini/NES Classic games...they problem with this patent is PocketNES was using vertical scaling before this patent existed which I believe makes it null and void.

SmaMan

#32

SmaMan said:

Emulators aren't illegal. The code the developers use to make them is perfectly fine, whether it can be used to play copyrighted ROMs or not. Though one could argue that it may have been their purpose to begin with.

megaboomface2

#33

megaboomface2 said:

NO THE ALLIANCE IS sorry forgot about caps
nintendo and microsoft =nintensoft
VS
nokia and sony = crap lol

Stuffgamer1

#36

Stuffgamer1 said:

Yeah...this is stupid. Whether the software belongs to Nokia or not, the fact remains that it's NOKIA that decided to advertise it so blatently. There can and should be legal action levied because of that.

Sylverstone

#40

Sylverstone said:

(facepalm) Oh boy... The stupidity..

Bring out the Nintendo Justice Duo of Phoenix Wright and Miles Edgeworth because this is a strong OBJECTION to Nintendo's copyright laws!

@SuperTrainStationH Hey man, I see you made your way to NLife. Welcome!

Nnooo

#42

Nnooo said:

I wouldn't hold your breath for snes or nes games on a Nintendo Handheld. I imagine they will keep those for Wii and any VC on the DSi will be old Gameboy/GBC and GBA titles.

Although it would be very cool if you could transfer your VC stuff to from Wii to DSi to play on the move.

Good

#43

Good said:

I hope the DS2 has the ability to play NES, SNES, and N64 games. Even if it can't emulate them at least it should emulate GB and GBA games.

Wesbert

#44

Wesbert said:

@ CasualGenius: Right, so I buy a mobile phone (not a cheap one, either), hook it into a stationary device (or loader) and use a borrowed controller to play illegal roms on the TV? Sounds like a gaming device with a real identity crisis. Seriously, why bother? The PC has tons of emulators already (and TV-link up possibilities), so the only argument in favour of Nokias latest foray into the gaming world would be mobility. But that one is nullified as soon as you're required to carry a seperate controller with you. This is one of those things that only sound good until you think them through.

Stuffgamer1

#45

Stuffgamer1 said:

@Nnooo: I for one am juuuuust fine with the idea of the Virtual Handheld. I don't need NES, SNES, and N64 games on my DSi...that's what my Wii is for! But I WOULD love a chance to download classic Gameboy games. That would be awesome.:D

LessTheBest

#46

LessTheBest said:

The Nintendo Emulator have been for Maemo for some time:
http://maemo.org/downloads/product/OS2008/ines/
http://fms.komkon.org/iNES/

There are few points to consider:

1. Building an emulator is not anykind of copyright violation. I'm quite sure about this eventhough I'm not familiar with law.

2. Is changing the format of digital product illegal? The guy who have developed the emulator (link above) writes: " I do suggest you buy the original cartridge for every image you are using, or use a copier on the cartridges you own."

3. So if you own the game (meaning you have limited right to use the copyright) can you take backup copy / can you use your copy on another device.

4. The owners of copyright (record and game companies etc) are trying to lobby restrictions. But is it limiting too much private person's rights? I think this is varying from country to another.

5. Can Nintendo take Nokia to the court? The video is official Nokia presentation - OK, They play games which copyright are owned by someone alse (Nintendo) - OK, Do they own the games - Don't know

Varoennauraa

#48

Varoennauraa said:

I think its not unlawful to play emulated games, if you own the cartridges. They are considered backup copies.

YenRug

#49

YenRug said:

Actually, Nintendo took out a patent on emulation of Nintendo systems and games on other devices, so Nokia could very well be facing a lawsuit for allowing these to be made available officially. Whilst I don't agree with it, those of you taking the "backup copy" defence you would still be in trouble as copyright does not allow it without specific permission from the copyright holder, i.e. you're not going to get it.

Most countries have never had "fair use" mandated in their copyright laws, though in practise it's usually overlooked; the one country that I believe used to have it was actually the USA, which allowed TV recordings to be swapped on VHS, etc, however that pesky loophole was closed by the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA).

Stuffgamer1

#51

Stuffgamer1 said:

@Damo: Nice find. Get 'em, Nintendo!

What YenRug said about backup copies is very true. Has anyone ever read the licence agreement in the back of an old SNES instruction booklet? Read it for yourself:

Kirby's Dream Course Instruction Booklet wrote:

WARNING: Copying of any Nintendo game is illegal and is strictly prohibited by domestic and international copyright laws. "Back-up" or "archival" copies are not authorized and are not necessary to protect your software.

Pretty straight-forward, isn't it?

City_Of_Delusion

#52

City_Of_Delusion said:

Rule one of advertising: don't advertise something that is mostly used for illegal purposes. Considering that using someone else's ROMs in an emulator is illegal (period)...

LessTheBest

#54

LessTheBest said:

The video is gone and the link on Nokia's page is dark.
(http://conversations.nokia.com/N900-videos/, check out the list in right side of the page)

Seems like this is some kind of "accident" the keen (official) bloggers had.

Unca_LzStaff

#57

Unca_Lz said:

From what I'm hearing, Nintendo is taking legal action against Nokia

MekkaGodzilla

#58

MekkaGodzilla said:

I have this phone, and even though having a SNES emulator is something you might get excited about, it's not all that great for three reasons:
1-Sounds are not emulated very well. Depends on the game though
2-The screen is just too small to really enjoy it.
3-Controlling games with a tiny plastic keyboard is horrible. Platformers are a pain to play. RPG are usually less problematic, as they don't require to hit Y and B at the same time for instance.

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