Volume 6

On September 1, 2016, Nintendo of America Inc. issued an official egal order compelling gamejolt.com to take down 562 of the videogames it had been hosting on behalf of its community. Their crime? Featuring the name of a copywritten videogame character in their title (mostly Super Mario, but occasionally also his go-karting buddies). Nintendo had googled them all up, you see, and now it was shutting them down.

Some of these games were astonishing recreations of old Nintendo lassics; others were tiny homages, not even thirty seconds long. Few had been sold for profit. Many had been made by children. Nonetheless, the big ‘N’ felt itself legally obliged to protect its beloved Mario from any and all infringement, lest some nefarious copyright criminal come to kidnap the golden goose.

Of course, your friends at HEART PROJECTOR entertain no such legal obligations. Tonight, therefore, we bring you a taste of what those big videogame publishers hoped to bury.

Several of our selections are in the spirit of those fallen gamejolt tributes: love letters from the artist to a videogame they once enjoyed. Others are more like hate letters: accusatory screeds cursing companies like Nintendo for seeking to ransom our childhood years back to us. Still other selections represent simply the weirdest copyright-infringing nonsense we could dig up. Have you ever aspired to perform dental surgery on the protagonists of Disney’s Frozen? Well, we hope you brought your scrubs!

Anna and Elsa at the Dentist

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There are literally hundreds of Disney-themed bootleg flash games. These days Frozen’s Anna and Elsa seem to be the crowned queens of this pseudo-genre. There are literally scores of dress-up games, hidden object, bejeweled and flappy-bird clones, surgery simulators… the list goes on! All starring Elsa, or Anna, or even Olaf the lovable snow-golem!

Why does this exist? Probably because it brings in ad revenue. Regardless, it’s a fascinating ecosystem. Check out juegosfrozen.com and let us know what you find!

You Died Alone at E3 2014

BRENDAN VANCE

The Electronic Entertainment Expo “E3” may be the biggest gaming event of the year, and for some attendance is the ultimate expression of their dedication to videogames. Depending on how you feel about consumer culture, E3 may represent something else for you. For Heart Projector’s own co-curator, critic, programmer and flayed limb scratching at chalk-board, Brendan Vance, E3 is a throbbing engorged nodule in the gut of videogames that has become conscious and threatens to consume us all. You Died Alone at E3 2014 represents an attempt to encapsulate and describe this strange organel.

Ennuigi

JOSH MILLARD

n Ennuigi you play as the shadow of a shadow: Luigi Mario wanders a broken mushroom kingdom in the wake of a war that no one understands. His mind is swimming with regret and existential dread, and with each pull on his cigarette we are treated to a snippet: a tiny peek into the narrative void of Super Mario Bros.

Nintendo’s Luigi will never age, reflect, or change, but not so the unlicensed Luigi of Josh Millard. Luigi is freed to reflect on his own life, but through his release we too are invited to reflect on the idols of our childhood. Something like that, any hey.

Josh Millard is an artist, musician, and weird-thing-maker from Portland, Oregon. He runs the online community MetaFilter.com, and tweets art and horrid puns as @joshmillard.

MY LITTLE PONY: FIGHTING IS MAGIC

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Fighting is Magic started as a fan project to turn the My Little Pony IP into a three button arcade fighter (think Street Fighter vs Capcom). After being issued a cease and desist order from Hasbro, the project was rebranded as Them’s Fighting Herds and is currently still in development. Independently, a group of fans of the original project released Fighting Is Magic: Tribute Edition, which is the game we present to you today.

TALES OF GAME'S STUDIOS PRESENTS CHEF BOYARDEE'S BARKELY, SHUT UP AND JAM: CHAPTER 1 OF THE HOOPZ BARKLEY SAGA

TALES OF GAME'S STUDIO

When I think of the 90s videogame landscape, two things come to mind: endless hilariously sincere translations of Japanese RPGs and Michael Jordan holding a flaming basketball. Clearly, Tales of Game’s Studios is on the same page. Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden is a perfect “what if?” that mashes up licensed sports games with an unbelievably over-the-top JRPG storyline.

BSUaJG was released in 2008 by a small team. The game is built using RPGMaker 2003, an editor aimed at letting anyone tell their own epic RPG story.

MULTIBOWL

BENNET FODDY AND AP THOMSON

Multibowl is a playable arcade grab-bag. Two players compete for points by playing a medley of moments stolen from commercial videogames of the 80s and 90s. You might play 30 seconds of Activision’s Fishing Derby, followed by a micro lap of Nintendo’s Super Mario Kart or Excitebike! These are not remakes or covers: all of these 200+ games are included in their entirety but we are treated to only the highlights of each.

In order to avoid any legal issues, the author has never publicly released Multibowl. It remains one of the rare “private” videogames, playable only on special occasions by special people.

SUPER PLUMBER BROS

ZIGS, NOMOON AND CLANG AT LAW

Much as we’d like to believe the simple stories from our childhood videogames are just that—colorful bits of nonsense thrown together, concerning ‘kingdoms’ and ‘castles’ and ‘princesses’—how can we help but spot the places where they don’t add up? In the real world, for example, we know that ‘kingdoms’ do not sprout from the caps of toadstools: They are what happens when one individual violently subjugates thousands of their peers (often for personal gain). So if indeed the ‘Mushroom Kingdom’ is a kingdom, who is its monarch? What power did they exert to capture the throne, and what was this power’s price? As players we have the right to ask these questions; and of course, nothing can stop us from providing our own answers.

This game was created in part by Heart Projector’s own Ziggy, whom you will find in CURATING VIDEOGAMES on twitter @arrogantgamer

SONIC ROBO BLAST 2

SONIC TEAM JUNIOR

A dedicated community of fans has been working on this 3D version of Sonic the Hedgehog since 1998. The project is a mod built on the DOOM engine and tries to faithfully reproduce the feel of the original 2D Sonic games in shiny mid-80s 3D.

When we decided on No License as the theme for this evening, we knew we really wanted to bring you a Sonic The Hedgehog fan-game. Sonic has spawned one of the internet’s most dedicated and enthusiastic communities. The amount of fan-created lore and content out there is just staggering. To get an idea of what we’re talking about, try googling “[YOUR NAME] The Hedgehog”. Make sure to tweet about what you find!

SALTYBET

SALTY

Salty Bet is a continuous live Twitch stream of AI fighters from the fandom multiverse. Each fighter is lovingly crafted by a member of the Saltybet community, typically using unlicensed IPs from various fandoms. Many versions of any one fighter exist, but those who win consistently are considered the REALEST. It is the only place on the internet where you can find Hatsune Miku battling Ryu, or Krang going head to head with Sailor Moon.

MARIO EMPALADO

PEDRO PAIVA

Literally “Impaled Mario”, Mario Empalado is a violent hate letter from Brazilian anarchist artist and game developer Pedro Paiva to “gamers” and consumer culture. The game has been described as genuinely uncomfortable and has been derided as juvenile (primarily for its overt use of violence and its jarring visual aesthetic). Taken in the broader context of Paiva’s work, it is apparent that this cannot be the case.

In 2016 itch.io received a takedown notice from Nintendo of America demanding the removal of 50 videogames infringing on Nintendo’s intellectual property. Mario Empalado was among those games and was therefore taken down; if you ask the right people, however, you might discover its secret hiding place on the web…

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