Nintendo Took on Piracy in the 80's with a Steamroller

As advancements in homebrew games on the Switch reach creative and testy new levels, it's worth [...]


As advancements in homebrew games on the Switch reach creative and testy new levels, it's worth looking back and reflecting on the past, to a time when Nintendo had a much smaller roster of games and a fledgling IP to protect. Back in the 80's, as video games rose to popularity, the company had to deal with knock-offs like most other major franchises and brands eventually end up needing to. In newly-rediscovered photos, it looks like Nintendo had at least one solution for low-end copies of their products and games: to crush them beneath the weight of a steamroller.

Pulled from archived photos of pages from the Netherlands publication Nederlands Dagblad by, images showing a full-on steam roller, a costumed Super Mario mascot, and piles of what look like Nintendo knock-off games in the process of being destroyed. It's almost hilarious how vengeful and maniacal Mario looks as he gleefully tosses the game boxes down for the crushing, if you can get past the creepy look in his eye.

The first image's caption reads: "Video game company Nintendo is using a roller to combat piracy. At Lelystad airport ten thousand counterfeit video games were crushed. The Japanese company has started a targeted and structured worldwide campagn to combat forgeries of their video games. The destroyed games came from Hong Kong and were confiscated from a Dutch importing company."

Despite being taken in the 90's, the images look far older thanks to their newspaper print black-and-white quality. There is one new image, in color, which shows off more of the Mario mascot and might even provide a short read for those who speak the language. This one comes from Club Nintendo Exta, another Netherlands publication under the guidance of Nintendo.

(Photo: Club Nintendo Exta, year 2 issue 7, Nintendo Netherlands BV, 1994)

Nintendo's had a pretty publicized history in its battle against forgeries and piracy, much of which led to its early-era decisions to avoid CD-ROM games on console (which changed, to an extent, with the birth of the Gamecube) so it's going to be interesting to see if that fear holds true with the advancement of Switch-cracking software and the rise of the homebrew scene.

(h/t Resetera)