Game Boy Advance Emulator Removed From GitHub After Takedown Notice

Nintendo, which is known for taking a tough stand against emulators and fan games based on its intellectual property, has forced a popular browser-based emulator, Game Boy Advance with nearly 100 working games, to go offline, reports TorrentFreak.

The JavaScript-based GBA emulator has been taken off GitHub, an open-source project repository website, after it received a takedown request from the ESA (Entertainment Software Association), which represents Nintendo and other game companies.

The emulator in question allowed allows users to play Game Boy games in their web browser and did not require users to supply their own game ROM files in order to play. In other words, the GBA emulator was bundled with illegitimate copies of Nintendo’s software, amounting to copyright infringement.

According to the ESA, the website in question violates the copyrights and trademarks of its members.

“Our review of the Website indicates that it is has been marketing or otherwise making available products and/or services that infringe on ESA Members’ copyrights and trademarks,” the notice reads.

This is the third time that ESA has targeted GitHub. The previous two attempts of the Association’s intellectual property takedown requests had failed, as the site had requested “additional notice.”

“As previously noted, we have a good faith belief that extensive infringement of certain ESA
Members’ copyrights and trademarks continues to occur by virtue of the operation of the website, (“Website”), and the Website is using Github’s services,” ESA writes.

“We are hopeful that this revised notice contains the necessary information to cause removal of the infringing uses of ESA Members’ intellectual property. And indeed, this one was sufficient,” ESA writes.

The primary URL where all the games were stored has been listed in ESA’s takedown request. It also mentions 75 of the ‘launchers’ directly. Although the site had listed 98 games, those that aren’t specifically mentioned in the list have been removed too.

This is not the first time that Nintendo has requested GitHub to takedown a Game Boy Advance repository. In 2015, GitHub had removed a Game Boy Advance repository, which was hosted by the user “jsemu.” However, soon after, copies of Game Boy Advance started to appear online that including the one shared by the user “jsemu3”, which was later taken down by Nintendo in 2018.

The GBA game collection was again uploaded on this site by a user “jsemu2”, which has remained online for a few years. However, this week visitors were welcomed by a 404 error, which reads, “There isn’t a GitHub Pages site here.” While no reason has been provided for the removal of the site, TorrentFreak states that it was due to a DMCA notice.

It is worth noting that Emulators are legal to download and use, as they are completely re-made versions of the console they are emulating. However, making ROMs from official copies, as well as the devices that allow you to do so are illegal and can face legal issues.

The Game Boy Advance includes many of Nintendo’s best games, which would make nostalgic gamers want to play those titles ultimately forcing them to look for other alternatives on GitHub. It remains to be seen if the step taken by Nintendo can prevent new copies of GBA games to reappear.