How Copyright Threatens Licensed Video Games Today.

5 min readAug 3, 2022

Back in the 80s and 90s, licensed titles came out left and right with reckless abandon. Capcom held the Disney license and could create titles like The Little Mermaid and DuckTales for NES as well as Disney’s Aladdin and The Magical Quest Starring Mickey Mouse for the SNES.

Capcom also got the Marvel license which allowed them to create classics like X-Men Mutant Apocalypse and the Marvel vs. Capcom franchise.

Yet we have not heard hide nor hair of Mutant Apocalypse since its 1994 release. Plus, the Marvel vs. Capcom titles are quite hard to get ahold of apparently. With the failed release of 2017’s Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite, we still have yet to see a true Marvel vs. Capcom 4. Even releases of Marvel vs. Capcom 2 are scarce despite its enduring popularity 20 years later.

Konami’s TMNT titles were some of the most beloved beat ’em ups of the 80s and 90s. Manhattan Project for NES and Turtles in Time for SNES have not received a proper re-release since their initial debut. Turtles in Time received a port on a separate title which took out the original soundtrack.

The Re-Shelled release on Xbox Live Arcade was not the Turtles in Time we fondly remembered. As with the previous attempt, the soundtrack was again replaced.

Most recently, the Sonic Origins Collection does not feature three songs in Sonic 3 & Knuckles from the Genesis release in 1994. Ice Cap Zone, Carnival Night Zone, and Launch Base Zone all feature replaced tracks as the copyright bounding them to their composer, Michael Jackson, kept Sega from playing the classic themes that longtime fans remember.

But perhaps one of the most notorious examples of copyrights stifling re-releases comes from Square-Enix and Nintendo’s collaboration, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars for SNES. Among the greatest games ever made, this…


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