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Nintendo vs Camerica – When wireless was a “Fabulous Technological Breakthrough”

We’re pretty used to wireless tech. Headphones, mouse & keyboard, mobiles. But in 1988, when the ad above was published, a wireless console gamepad could be called a “Fabulous Technological Breakthrough!”

Hence the reaction to the Freedom Stick, “Look Ma, no more wires.”

The Freedom Stick, like several other independently produced game controllers, had a controversial automatic rapid fire function that was considered cheating, especially for games where an advantage was achieved through ‘button bashing’. Why repeatedly press a button as fast as you can when a controller has a rapid fire function?

Camerica (a portmanteau of “Canada” and “America”) was a Canadian video game company that sold the Game Genie, which modified game dynamics, allowing players to do things that the developers hadn’t intended. In 1991 Nintendo sued Camerica.

Nintendo vs. Camerica, 1991

Nintendo alleged that Camerica’s sales of the Game Genie was infringing on Nintendo’s trademark and copyright. A vice president at Nintendo said, “They are taking our copyrighted work and changing it… There’s no difference between what’s happening here and if I were to write Gone With the Wind and change the characters, change the story, change the ending.” Camerica rejected this assertion and viewed the Game Genie as a nothing more than a software add-on.

Nintendo’s case was dismissed by the Federal Court of Canada.

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