Late last week, a retro computer developer going by the handle ZeroPaige culminated what he said was seven years of development on , a complete and highly authentic port of the original NES side-scroller for the original Commodore 64 computer. The 109KB file is an incredible achievement, coded for a computer with a clock speed of around 1Mhz (about 55 percent of the NES’ speed) that wasn’t really designed to handle smooth full-screen scrolling at all.
Last night, though, Nintendo reportedly issued a DMCA notice for the game, leading to its removal from many hobbyist sites and upload services. “Due to a DMCA takedown notice we had to remove the download from our website blog post from 4 days ago,” the Vancouver-based hobbyist group Commodore Computer Club tweeted last night. “Hopefully everyone enjoys the Commodore 64 game who was able to snag it.”
The ROM file, which can be run on emulators and real C64 hardware, is still floating around online, if you know where to look. But the takedown notice continues Nintendo’s long history of using legal muscle to stifle everything from ROM distribution sites and fangames to online emulators and even certain game mods based on its properties.
Using the DMCA to protect a fresh port of a nearly 34-year-old game, designed to run on nearly 37-year-old hardware, may seem like a dramatic new overreach for this kind of DMCA protection. That said, Nintendo currently offers the original as part of its paid Nintendo Switch Online subscription package, and it sells virtual console versions on the Wii U, 3DS, and NES Classic hardware. The unlicensed Commodore 64 port can be seen as direct competition for that ongoing business, or just as illicit use of Nintendo’s copyrighted characters, art, and music.
DMCA or no, Nintendo can’t diminish the sheer programming ingenuity on display in this singular effort. If you don’t want to track down the file, you can experience the magic through the below video.