It’s on like Donkey Kong: The Nintendo vs Yuzu Lawsuit

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It’s already been a busy year for the famous gaming company Nintendo. Nintendo has already had to compete against Palworld, the arguably better version of Pokémon, with a possible court case on the horizon. It seems like PocketPair isn’t the only one trying to answer Nintendo’s fans’ pleas, with Tropic Haze LLC under fire as Nintendo has filed a federal lawsuit based on “piracy on a colossal scale.”

The Facts

It’s fairly well-known in the industry that Nintendo is the ultimate gatekeeper when it comes to its technology and cast character base. Another well-known fact is that Nintendo does a very good job of ignoring fan reactions and requests. The company seems to do what it wants, when it wants, and sometimes not to the standards many expect. 

This theme of neglect has resulted in a number of smaller brands creating products and full games that have proven to satisfy the thirst of many Nintendo fans. This act of quenching thirst does however end up in a hefty lawsuit the majority of the time. 

The Nintendo vs Tropic Haze LLC lawsuit was filed last month in Rhode Island as a result of the company’s portable Gameboy known as Yuzu. Nintendo claims that the developer’s creation of emulation technology is a direct infringement on their potential earnings.

Should this court case go through, Nintendo will be digging up years of emulator technology history and possibly destroy any future it may have. Its approach is that the whole act of emulation should be ruled illegal. A fairly expansive court case, in our opinion. 

The Nitty Gritty

Are you still with us? If so, prepare to get lost. The main gist of it all is that Nintendo is claiming that by breaking the many layers of encryption protecting Switch technology, emulation tech such as Yuzu allows Switch software to be copied and or hacked by unauthorised users. Yuzu uses “prod.keys” found in legitimate Nintendo software in order to decrypt games, which Nintendo claims infringes on its Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). 

Essentially, we’re looking at console hacking with loads of numbers. Another fine example of reverse-engineering tech hacking has to be the Tengen court case, but more on that later. 

Over 2 weeks ago, the court case began and it was highlighted that Yuzu comes with its very own QuickStart (more like QuickHack) guide as to how you can play ’commercial games’ played on another Switch device

This small nugget of WTF really set the tone for the case, which has, as a result, ended with Yuzu handing over everything with its arms in the air. Tropic Haze LLC agreed to pay legal fees, stop developing Yuzu, pay $2.4 million, stop hosting Yuzu and stop promoting the console in any way. 

As well as this hearty handover, Yuzu developers have to destroy all circumvention tools used to develop the Yuzu software and hand over the domain that hosts and promotes its devices. 

The effect all of this will have on the Citra is unclear, but that is sure to come out in the wash later this month. 

Nintendo’s Growing Enemy List

For this major court case, we’re taking it way back to the 80s when Nintendo was notorious for its strict agreements with developers and third-party companies. It would only allow for five Nintendo-compatible games to be created per year, and they had to remain Nintendo-exclusive for two years. Its argument was that this was quality control for its consumers.  

In 1987, the Atari offspring, Tengen, attempted to break free from this restrictive agreement, and failed. As a result Atari went to the US Copyright Office and reverse-engineered the lock-out chip on Nintendo’s, allowing for the sale of unlicensed games that were compatible with the NES. 

The case dragged on for almost a decade and resulted in an out-of-court settlement in 1996. 


There are quite a few companies out there that are a bit tired of having to wait for Nintendo to eventually get around to it. They aren’t afraid of the inevitable lawsuits and seem to receive the public’s vote. The majority of the time, these companies do a pretty decent job, so who can hate them? It’s only a matter of time before Nintendo gets back into the courtroom. 

Image via Nintendo

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