Nintendo Calls a Stop to 3D Zelda Fan Tribute

Friday, April 8th, 2016

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Zelda 3D

Sad news for fans of The Legend of Zelda that were anticipating the homebrew love letter in anticipation of the franchise’s 30th anniversary from the folks over at Zelda30Tribute, which would have allowed people to play the original game in voxelated majesty via web browser. Nintendo decided that it wasn’t something that aligned with their plans for the franchise so they asked the creators, Scott Lininger and Mike Magee, to shut the project down. It doesn’t look like it was an acrimonious decision and the two completely understand why Nintendo might consider it an infringement of their copyright. At their website, any and all content regarding the 3D remake has been removed and instead, the following message has replaced it:


Nintendo asked us to remove this site for copyright infringement. I guess Zelda30Tribute was a little too pixel perfect 🙂 We’re sad about that, but we get it. We started this project because we love Nintendo and the joy they have given us throughout the years. From the start of development, we knew this result could potentially happen. Nintendo has every right to protect their IP. No complaints from us, we had a blast working on this tribute and made some friends along the way.

Big thanks to the half million folks who played our game! We learned a bunch and wrote some code that others might learn from, too. We plan to post the project to Github soon, once we’ve had a chance to remove Nintendo-owned assets. 🙂

We both have future software projects in the works. If you would like to keep in touch, please follow us on social media or join our mailing list. We’ll let you know!

This was not the greatest game in the world, no. This was just a tribute. Thank you Nintendo for the inspiration!

– Scott and Mike

While Nintendo’s actions are well within their rights and aren’t really deserving of any negative sentiment, it’s such a shame to see the 3D tribute get closed down.  Three dungeons had already been completed and it was looking to be a lot of fun. Best of luck to Scott Lininger and Mike Magee in their future endeavors!

How do you feel about Nintendo shutting down the 3D fan tribute for The Legend of Zelda? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!




About Tom Tolios

Really smart, talks too much, loves the video games and the Star Wars and the Game of Thrones, likes the manga and some anime and knows that Kentaro Miura's Berserk is the greatest thing ever made.

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  • Josh S.

    It’s disappointing but not surprising. After all, they didn’t let the fan translation of Mother 3 bring the game to Western shores, so why would they allow this? That said, I wasn’t exactly eager to play ANY version of the original Zelda, since it’s not that fun haha. So no harm, no foul.

  • Paychi

    And people still defend Nintendo after they shit on their biggest fans.

    • PanurgeJr

      Perhaps an example of shitting on their fans is in order, because asking someone to stop giving away their game doesn’t qualify.

    • Infophile

      This game is actually on the virtual console. Nintendo’s still making money off it, which they could lose if it’s available for free. Can’t really say I blame them for putting a stop to this.

    • Paychi

      It’s called appreciating the fans that appreciate you. I know plenty of publishers who would love this sort of thing and embrace it.

    • TrueWiiMaster

      I’m pretty sure most publishers would pull the plug if fans basically started giving away a game they were selling, especially when the game is as big as The Legend of Zelda.

    • Paychi

      You mean a game they’ve been selling on the eShop for $5 for a decade? A game that’s had flash versions online, free emulation and has been played to death for 2 decades? Yeah, you’re right.

    • TrueWiiMaster

      You mean like many of the PS1 games on PSN, which have been selling for $6 for a decade? Games that have been pirated, emulated, and played to death for almost 2 decades? Yeah, I’m pretty sure their publishers don’t appreciate their games being given away either. I really don’t see how you can attack a company for not wanting their product distributed freely, particularly when they’re still selling it.

  • Jake

    Once again, Nintendo seems committed to disparaging their fanbase. Sure, the game’s creators say they’re okay with it, but this is just once incident in a long history of refusing to let fans have fun with something they love. This game did nothing but celebrate Zelda; Nintendo could have put a spotlight on it, or hell, they could’ve bought it off the creators and sold it for a couple bucks as a Wii U download.

    Sure, Nintendo’s actions are well within their rights, but I think it’s a bit rich to say they “aren’t deserving of any negative sentiment.” I think they do deserve negative sentiment: it’s bad PR to shut down your fanbase when they try to pay tribute to your products. It’s just one more example of Nintendo doing their best to alienate their fans.

    • PanurgeJr

      A Gamasutra review of Miitomo summed it up best: Nintendo isn’t a video game company so much as an IP company. They have spent more than three decades creating one of the most valuable collections of IP there is. Their collection of IP is why they have fans. And yet somehow they should allow someone else to decide what to do with that IP? Someone else is entitled to give that IP away? Better to alienate a few in the short run who misunderstand copyright than lose many in the long run because they failed to properly manage their IP.

    • Jake

      No one will argue with your statement about Nintendo being an IP company, and I recognize that they want to take good care of their property. But it’s a balancing act.They’re also a video game company, and one that has gained a reputation for treating its fans poorly to make a buck.

      For example, take a look at how Nintendo got tons of fan-created Mario videos on Youtube taken down last year. This was largely done because they were releasing Super Mario Maker, so obviously they wanted to corner the market on custom levels. It’s a great move as far as IP is concerned, but it’s insulting to a fanbase that has taken the games they love and continued breathing life into them years after they were released.

      I think this is where this whole culture of fierce IP protection has gone a little awry. Companies like Nintendo seem to assume that anyone who uses your IP is automatically competing with you, stealing your profits, smearing your image, and should be stopped.

      You can argue that this 3D tribute is somehow devaluing Nintendo’s brand, but I think that’s a bit of a stretch. If anything, this kind of fan project is just increasing interest in the original material. And unless Nintendo plans on releasing their own 3D LoZ later this year, this project isn’t conflicting with their product. It’s a free remake of a game that came out 30 years ago; it’s a love letter, not a cash grab.

      That’s why it’s my opinion that Nintendo could really stand to gain something by treating their fanbase a little better. Not necessarily because it’s good for their IP (although I think in this case it wouldn’t damage their IP at all), but because it’s good for their image and it’s good for the community.

  • PanurgeJr

    They repackaged The Legend of Zelda and gave it away. That is as simple a case of copyright infringement as there is. That Nintendo asked merely for the game is be taken down is a remarkably fan-friendly move, quite the opposite of what a number of people’s interpretations will undoubtedly be.

  • Montana Szobonya

    Good thing for the wayback machine.

  • random

    When will these people learn not to give out their actual names and stop creating dedicated sites for random projects. If you do that you can easily avoid C&D notices and distribute your content widely.

  • Superr Mann

    They shouldn’t shut it down. They weren’t making a profit off of it.