I have never taken anyone to court in my life, but I have always imagined what it could be like fighting for cause you believe in and trying to take down the people who have wronged you.
Firstly, it takes money to make this possible, and secondly, you need to know what you are doing. Well, it seems that in the video game industry, some people really have no idea what is going on, and have way too much money for their own good.
Here are a few video game lawsuits, that should have stayed in the “imagination” phase.
Universal sues Nintendo
Back when Donkey Kong released in 1981, Nintendo caused quite a stir in the gaming industry as the game was an instant hit. One person’s fame always comes at the cost of another’s misfortune, and Nintendo had haters out there.
Universal Studios thought that the game was a clone of the movie King Kong. Which is understandable as the movie is about a giant ape who kidnapped a lady, and the game is well, the same.
Universal took Nintendo to court over this issue, as they thought Nintendo totally copied their story and setting from King King. Nintendo however was not going to take it, so they challenged Universal.
In the end, it seemed that Universal did not even own the rights to King Kong, so the settlement fell flat. They walked away with full Donkey King rights, and $2 million.
Bethesda sues Mojang
You might all know Bethesda as the creator of The Elder Scrolls. The games are great, but not great enough to prevent other developers from using the word “Scrolls” in their game titles.
In 2011, Minecraft creator Mojang filed a trademark for an upcoming game dubbed “Scrolls”. Zenimax, the parent company for Bethesda, immediately lashed out against Mojang by filing their own infringement on their Elder Scrolls series.
Various meeting were held, but things got ugly when Mojang received a letter from Zenimax demanding that the studio change the name from “Scrolls” to something else.
You see not only did Mojang use the name “Scrolls”, they also attempted to trademark it as their own. So it is understandable why Bethesda got upset over it.
The case went to court, but pretty quietly, and 8 months later, Mojang announced that they reached an agreement. Mojang could use the title, but they had to hand over the trademark to Bethesda.
Silicone Knights and Epic Games get ugly
Remember that awful Xbox 360 game Too Human? Well, much more went on behind the scenes with that game than meets the eye.
The Unreal Engine was the power behind the game, as Silicone Knights bought the rights to develop the game using the engine.
Part of this agreement was that the engine had to be a fully functional version to build Too Human on it. Late in development, Gears of War was revealed at the same E3 press conference as Too Human.
Silicone Knights were not happy about this as they believed that Epic Games had been making games rather than improving on the Unreal Engine.
The developers went on to state that they had to build their own engine, as Epic’s Unreal Engine was not stable.
When they took Epic to court over these allegations, the court found that Too Human was indeed built on the Unreal Engine, and the case was dismissed with Silicone Knights paying $9 million in damages.
Lindsay Lohan is not in GTA V
GTA V was released back in 2013, and after a few months on the market, Lindsay Lohan popped up and said that she was marketed in the game’s materials without permission.
One of the game’s posters showed off a young bikini girl with her phone out taking a selfie, which Lindsay Lohan believed was her.
Lindsay took Take-Two Interactive to court over the game’s marketing decisions, as she was not happy with this artwork.
Two years later and the case was dismissed after the court in Manhattan ruled in Take-Two Interactive’s favor.
The court believed that GTA V did not fall under the statutory definitions of advertising and trade. They believed that the video game’s story, characters, setting, and overall content, was the world of fiction and satire.
This means that there was no Lindsay Lohan in the game, and even if she was, it was not a real representation, but satire.
Violent Video Games are a Crime
One of the most bizarre video game lawsuits, is also one of the most important ones around, as it proved that you cannot get rid of violent video games, even by taking them to court.
Leland Yee created a new bill in California that stated that violent video games should not be sold, and if they were, it should be a crime to do so. In general, he wanted violent games banned.
Violence was defined as killing, maiming, dismembering, or sexually assaulting an image of a human. Anything in this category would be deemed illegal.
The Supreme Court on the other hand, was not happy with this bill and decided that video games should be treated the same as book and films and receive a rating which people can use to identify the game’s content.
It just so happens that this rating system was already around, called the ESRB.