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Nintendo gets GitHub-hosted Game Boy Advance emulator taken down

Nintendo has always been particularly litigious regarding software emulation and unauthorized copies of its own games — for example, the company recently filed a lawsuit to take two popular ROM-hosting sites offline. Now, Nintendo has requested that a popular Game Boy Advance emulator be taken offline, and it appears its host has agreed to do so.

A Game Boy Advance emulator hosted on the code-sharing site GitHub was previously available , offering a JavaScript-based emulator that also included digital versions of games like Fire Emblem, Wario Land 4, Pokémon Fire Red, Super Mario Advance, Advance Wars, and F-Zero: Maximum Velocity.

The fact that these games were hosted by the GitHub page were the primary reason for Nintendo filing a Digital Millennium Copyright Act request directly with GitHub.

“The repository provides access to unauthorized copies of Nintendo’s copyright-protected video games in violation of Nintendo’s exclusive rights,” Nintendo said in the DMCA request. “Nintendo’s copyrighted work is not licensed under an open-source license.”

Just this month, Nintendo filed a lawsuit in Arizona against the owners of ROM-sharing sites and, alleging copyright infringement and requesting they be forced to give up the sources of their unauthorized games. As of now, both sites have been taken offline.

It’s curious that Nintendo is using its resources to go after a Game Boy Advance emulation site, seeing as the company hasn’t made much of an effort to make the games available to players on newer platforms. The NES Classic and SNES Classic — as well as the upcoming game library includedDo in Nintendo Switch Online — keep up the value of games for those systems, but there is no way to play Game Boy Advance games on the Switch. It’s possible on the 3DS, but only a selection of Game Boy Advance games released to early 3DS adopters have been made available, including many of the titles that were included on the GitHub page.

GitHub’s quick action to remove the emulator page could stem from its new owner: Microsoft. The company recently agreed to purchase GitHub for $7.5 in stock, and Microsoft likely doesn’t want to get involved in a legal battle with Nintendo over something relatively trivial.

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