Yuzu’s Defeat Is Game Preservation’s Defeat, Well Done Nintendo

As if shutting down the 3DS and Wii U e-shops wasn't enough.

Story Highlights

  • Nintendo has claimed another victim in its anti-emulation crusade: Yuzu.
  • Emulation is not automatically evil. By that logic, consoles need to be banned, as they can be modded.
  • Nintendo’s hurting game preservation with steps like these and closing its digital stores, too.

Today, let us discuss emulation. It’s a sensitive topic, especially considering the ongoing circumstances, but it still needs discussion. Before I begin, let me know your stance. Do you think emulation is a useful tool in preserving all the retro games no longer available today? Or do you believe it’s an illegal workaround to facilitate piracy? While both of these are not completely wrong, emulation’s role in preservation is undeniable.

If I speak for myself, my gaming journey started precisely with the arcade emulators, playing games like Dungeons and Dragons: Shadow of Mystara. Back then, this game and many others were not available to me if not for the emulators. This is true for not only the arcade games but also many other classic consoles no longer available. Emulators serve as an archive to revisit those games, yet Nintendo’s war against emulators continues.

YouTube video

Nintendo’s Emulator Crusade Claims Yuzu

It’s no doubt emulators operate in a legally grey and dubious space, but their contribution to preserving games is undeniable. Yet, Nintendo fails to see this, as the tech giant is practically notorious for cracking down on anything that even tries to mimic something Nintendo-owned. Nintendo’s crusade against “copycats” is unstoppable, and history is proof the company has reigned triumphant as well.

The latest victim of this is the Nintendo Switch emulator Yuzu and the 3DS emulator Citra backed by Yuzu. Nintendo recently sued the emulator on piracy and illegal access grounds, and later the matter was settled by the Yuzu team paying Nintendo $2.4 million in damages and shutting down Yuzu effective immediately. Citra went down alongside it.

Do note that Nintendo is a 70 Billion dollar company going after emulators that serve to preserve games for time immemorial.

It feels like Nintendo doesn’t want us to play older games until they say we can…
byu/Kirbykoopa inRoms

Emulators Are Not Inherently Evil

Was this a good thing to do? I certainly don’t think so. Emulators provide unfair means, sure, but that doesn’t make all of their good disappear. An emulator won’t be able to pirate games if the user doesn’t use it for such purposes, is that not so?

If you go the route that emulators facilitate piracy simply by existing, then I have another point. What about all the modded consoles like Jailbroken Switch out there? They are the proper tools for piracy. Is Nintendo releasing jailbroken devices? No, they’re not. People are doing it of their own will, the same as emulators.

Since the Switch can be Jailbroken, why not put a stop to its production, too
Since the Switch can be Jailbroken, why not put a stop to its production, too

By that logic, the console exists, it can be tampered with, and thus facilitates piracy. If the console never existed, people wouldn’t even get the idea of using it for illegal means. But no, we won’t think about that. Let’s bash emulators instead. They are inherently evil, the point of “how you use something makes it bad or good” doesn’t even apply here.

emulation is morally correct if THIS is the only way to get a game (would be a great thing if they would remake the game or smth)
byu/10AMdickfight inMysteryDungeon

Emulators do not come built-in with pirated games and bios of the particular console. You need to dump these things directly from your device, which means the control of what to do lies in your hands. You can use it to pirate or play games no longer available by proper means. Besides, it’s up to a person’s preference how to use something

Consoles that can be modded by people exist, yet emulators that can be used for piracy are hunted. Notice the irony?

Game Preservation Is Already Critical

As I’ve already established, emulators do not become evil just by existing. Something’s use is what matters, and you can misuse everything in the world if you so wish. Misusing something doesn’t erase all of its plus points. Emulators are one such tool, having plenty of beneficial factors if properly used.

For starters, in an era where video game preservation is practically non-existent, they are the last bastion of hope. Especially when companies like Nintendo are contributing to the loss of precious gems. Recently, Nintendo announced the closure of its 3DS and Wii U e-Shop, resulting in the loss of many digital-only games. Users started preserving these games themselves, something the company should’ve done.

The Completionist – I bought EVERY Nintendo Wii U & 3DS game before the Nintendo eShop closes
by inGames

And now, the 3DS emulator Citra is no longer around as well. How are we supposed to play those classics if we wish to now? Even if I were to buy a new 3DS now and wish to purchase the game from the store, the store’s no longer around. Oh, and this was a comparatively recent platform. What about games from 3-4 decades ago? Emulators let me enjoy games from any period conveniently, and preserve them effectively.

For example, take a look at the PS3 emulator RPCS3. Some time ago, Sony tried to shut down the digital store of the PS3 and Vita, similar to what Nintendo did. However, the strong community response forced it to reconsider, but who knows for how long? In this uncertainty, RPCS3 serves to preserve these games, as the emulator can now boot every PS3 game, no matter how obscure or forgotten.

Sony tried shutting down the PS3 and Vita stores before; it can do it again, too
Sony tried shutting down the PS3 and Vita stores before; it can do it again, too

Rather Than Going After Emulators, Think About Preservation

All in all, the purpose of my discussion was to highlight how emulators do not become evil just by existing. They are just something that can be used for piracy, and a billion other things in this world can be used for that, too. Doesn’t mean we put an end to all those things, even though they can be used for genuine good things as well.

Plus, if emulators are a nuisance for game companies, how about doing something for the preservation of their games themselves? Instead of cracking down on emulators that preserve their work, it’s better to focus on bringing back their gems on more accessible platforms. In most cases, people use emulators for games no longer available. 

If these games are made available, the use of emulators might drop. While I agree emulators can facilitate piracy and I’m not going to condone that. However, it’s not fair to erase all the good they do, either. They serve to preserve long-lost gems, and that’s reason enough for them to stick around.

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Hanzala is a dedicated writer who expresses his views as opinion pieces at eXputer. He's always been fascinated by gaming and has been an avid consumer of many different genres for over a decade. His passion for games has him eager to encounter the latest RPGs and actively look for new Soulslike to challenge. He puts forth his experience and knowledge of gaming into captivating opinion pieces.

Experience: 8+ months || Education: Bachelors in Chemistry.

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