An Online Feud Killed a Gaming Oddity People Had Waited 21 Years For

“Go make your own goddamn hack and stop using my shit.” And just like that, the mysterious Mizzurna Falls, a Twin Peaks-inspired obscurity from the PlayStation 1 era, wasn’t playable in English, mere hours after it was. This moment was high-profile but not unique to the world of fan localizations, a mixture of messy, often anonymous characters with mixed agendas.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/59nm85/an-online-feud-killed-a-gaming-oddity-people-had-waited-21-years-for

Not a good look for either of them tbh but I think starplayer should have at least asked first. Regardless of the acknowledgements, it really feels like they were a little too focused on earning imaginary internet points for being The Guy who posted a ‘working’ patch and not enough on considering other people including the original programmer and the audience.

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Okay, legally, from my understanding a work without a license can’t be used by others. That being said, it is a public GitHub repository which, by Github’s terms of service, allows users to fork the project. Furthermore, Gemini posted " I decided to release the full package to let someone else pick up from where I left", which could be argued to be an implied license.

That’s the legal definition. Personally, I believe that Gemini, having laid out they were putting the code up there for someone else to finish, was fine with it being distributed as long as credit was given.

The problem is that Gemini never said what “finished” means. And “finished” means very different things to very different people. Like, for an example in games, look at Knight of the Old Republic II. Is that finished? It can be argued either way.

What Starplayer did, was it finishing it? Not to Gemini, apparently, but there was no way of really knowing that. Starplayer “forked” it and got it to a working state. Who are you to say that’s not “finishing it” when you never outlined what that meant?

Once you, as a developer, say “okay, here’s my incomplete code, someone else finish it”, dust off your hands, and walk away, you no longer can really enforce your vision on the code you created and what the end result “had” to be.

Like, I’m sorry my guy, but if you wanted to not be “associated with half-assed incomplete projects”, then you shouldn’t have uploaded a half-assed incomplete project without having laid out the terms in which the project would be properly full-assed.

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I mean isn’t this all quasi illegal anyways? This feels very “honor among thieves-y” as one gets really mad that someone patched together his work despite the fact his work basically using the entirety of someone else’s free work.

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And this is why you always include a GPLv3 with everything you upload.

It’s hard to feel bad for Gemini when they couldn’t be bothered to attach a license, something GitHub itself prompts you to do when you make a new repo.

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Yeah, fan projects like this are definitely a legal gray area to begin with. I never understand fans getting mad that someone else modified their work, which is itself an unauthorized modification.

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I’m not sure of the specifics of its issues, as I didn’t actually try it myself. But I dug into this a little out of curiosity (it’s a game I’d love to play!) when it was happening on Twitter, and so saw some of the Reddit posts from the people involved about it as well, and can speak to what I saw then.

Regarding the state of the patch: Gemini claimed that it was buggy to the point that it consistently crashed in required story scenes. No idea at all how far into the game those scenes are, mind, but that’d mean it could not be completed. Going by other tweets it also didn’t exactly even look right either? But I’m more vague on that kind of smaller issue. Starplayer positioned it as “just make a lot of save states” IIRC, and Gemini obviously disagreed.

As far as what starplayer did - similarly based on what I saw on Twitter/Reddit, apparently it was literally just compiling the code. It was not fixing anything; it’s just something that Gemini (I’m now guessing intentionally?) didn’t document and that’s why it cost them some time to do. So it’s not really “you messed with my code” as much as it is “you didn’t really touch my code, and I didn’t want the compiled version out there because it’s bad and needs work”. The translator involved had the proper tools to do this as well, apparently.

Which means legally/license-wise… I dunno. From a “hey, don’t market my work as something it’s not, especially when the whole point is that people shouldn’t think it’s done” perspective, I kinda get it? But I guess in the end they did get the attention it needed, so… there’s that?

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But that didn’t happened. He gave full credit to the original guy. Like, if he wanted the fame, he wouldn’t have done that.

Now he absolutely handled how he tried to put that build out to gather interest in the game all wrong. How he reacted when he was asked to take it down was childish nonsense.

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Yeah, I get that he gave full credit. But I still feel there’s an element of gloryhounding on starplayer’s part, a bit of self-righteous savior complex for believing that he—someone with no professional programming experience—should be the one to break this out for the poor desperate community. He’s probably a kid with eyes bigger than his stomach for what he could accomplish just by googling how to push through compile errors and I hope he learned something out of this whole experience.

…he put out a build for a fan translation.

You’re making it sound like he took credit for the moon landing.

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