Nintendo is pretty infamous in the world of emulation for taking a very strong stance against anything it deems to be “piracy”. In fact, the company actually had an entire website dedicated to anti-piracy where users could even report instances across the net where they’ve found Nintendo software being illegally distributed. Notice I said had—because that site no longer exists.
Now, don’t feel bad if you didn’t know about it before (I didn’t either), but it’s quite real. This website, called ap.nintendo.com has apparently been offline since late February of this year, according to the archives found on the Wayback Machine. Trying to access its URL will now redirect you to Nintendo’s official website. This was first uncovered by Twitter user ‘AKfamilyhome’.
Nintendo's anti-piracy site, originally at https://t.co/SlsgUtwZQY, has been shut down and redirects to the main Nintendo site now.
According to the Wayback Machine the last time it was known to be active is February 18, 2019. pic.twitter.com/IJhkkmsg0H
— Akfamilyhome (@AkfamilyhomeAK) May 7, 2019
Quick, time to get those ROMs!
If you think this is a signal that Nintendo is now turning a blind eye to ROMs/ISOs and emulators, you might want to think again.
While this dedicated anti-piracy website is down for the count, there’s still a legal page on Nintendo’s main site that goes well into detail about the company’s stance against things like emulators, ROMs and even mod chips. This section of the site even contains phone numbers and email addresses that have been set-up so people can report instances of piracy to Nintendo, just as this old AP site did.
So, TL;DR—don’t go running to the high hills thinking the coast is suddenly clear. Keep in mind that it’s still been less than a year since Nintendo filed a $100 million dollar lawsuit against the creator of the LoveROMS and LoveRetro websites (which it won). This case also may have been the inspiration behind popular emulation site EmuParadise wiping virtually its entire collection of ROMs and ISOs from its servers, as this happened just weeks after the aforementioned lawsuit was filed.
If you want to acquire and play some retro games on modern hardware, the only ways to do so that Nintendo will approve of are:
- The Virtual Console on 3DS and Wii U
- The NES and/or SNES Classic Edition systems
- ‘Nintendo Entertainment System’ for Switch Online