In the interests of full disclosure I’d like to start this article by stating that I am a backer of this project. I have backed the project using my own personal funds which are not in any way augmented by income from any videogames-based company at all. I just want to share it with you. Who know’s, maybe you’ll like it too 🙂
Not too long ago Bitmap Books, a UK-based independent publisher of retro gaming books celebrating old consoles such as the Commodore 64, Amiga and the Sinclair ZX Spectrum, started a campaign on crowd-funding site, Kickstarter. The campaign was seeking funds to mass-produce the newest entry in their Visual Compendium series, NES/Famicom: A Visual Compendium. The book, like the others before it, would include screenshots, boxart, console blueprints/diagrams, exclusive interviews and more showcasing Nintendo’s first foray in television-based videogames and its Japanese counterpart.
With over 175,000 GBP pledged of a modest 25,000 GBP goal everything was looking great, that is until Nintendo issued a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) take-down. The campaign was paused and taken offline with less than 24 hours to go whilst Bitmap Books and Nintendo would hopefully come to an agreement, or not.
In the early AM hours, Australian time, the results from those talks were made apparent as the Kickstarter campaign is once again, live, with backers being notified via email of the news.
Details are thin on exactly what the terms are for Nintendo’s allowing of the production and publication of the book to continue. However, it now seems to be titled “The Unofficial NES/Famicom: A Visual Compendium” indicating that Nintendo and Bitmap Books did not come to an agreement which allowed for a full, official partnership. This would also limit the interviews that would have originally been planned to be featured as Nintendo does not allow current employees to be interviewed for unofficial productions, such as this, without expresses permission given prior to such interviews taking place.
In his announcement that the project was alive and well, Sam Dyer of Bitmap Books stated “I’ve had some very productive conversations with Nintendo about the book and I’m so pleased that it can continue.”
With a targeted release date of January 2017, perhaps Nintendo saw value in having a well produced, coffee table companion celebrating the company’s history. Especially since they themselves recently announced the mini NES, a tiny, official emulation box with HDMI output, 30 classic games and that same classic controller.
Knowing how secretive Nintendo can be, I wouldn’t be surprised if the full details of the agreement are never released. I’m just pleased that the project is still going ahead, and am looking forward to receiving mine early next year.