View on fan creations


#1

Hey waypointers
For many years I enjoy reading fanfics, variety of art works, and music styles of our favorite media from games, movies, and shows. However, these works are not official and many tend to think these works are kinda canon to the subject matter like making to characters gay even if their no evidence of it or having your ending to a series. Just want know what your thoughts on this.

As for me as long as you don’t take fan creation too seriously it fine. I mean P5 Yusuke many not be gay but I love seeing all the art of him and Protag.


#2

I have big opinions on this because I grew up in a community dedicated to making Sonic fan games in that period between 1994 and 1999 where Sonic Team had abandoned making real Sonic games (aka the entire Saturn era).

Getting anyone outside of that community to acknowledge what we were doing was basically impossible, even within the greater Sonic community, because fan games were seen as tantamount to piracy due to how close they can be to actual bootleg games. It ended up with me getting very familiar with how copyright law works, how fair use works, and how accepting companies can be of so-called “fan content.”

That, in turn, sort of lead me to becoming a kind of activist in getting fan games (and other fan-related content) a wider acceptance by the public at large. While I was still in high school I started something called The Sonic Amateur Games Expo (SAGE), an online-only event dedicated to showcasing the best and brightest of that fan gaming community. I personally operated the event for around two and a half years, organizing entrants, designing the website, and running livestreams (which were audio only, done through Shoutcast). I did all that while also working on my own games to show on the site along my colleagues.

It didn’t take long for SAGE to open to a wider audience of entrants; it was more of a community event than a staunchly Sonic-only thing, so eventually, anyone that posted on the forums, regardless of what their game actually was, could show at SAGE. Once I burnt out on doing all of that stuff I handed it off to the community, where it ran yearly for over a decade. Some of the earliest builds of Freedom Planet were shown at SAGE. A significant portion of the development team now working on Sonic Mania showed games at SAGE for multiple years running. Former members of Sonic Team, like Naoto Ohshima, have given Q&A sessions during SAGE. It became this incredible anchor point and a milestone for that community to strive towards.

Every time I hear about a fan project getting a Cease & Desist notice, it breaks my heart. A lot of them seem to be from companies who still equate them to a form of piracy. And don’t get me wrong, fan games are technically illegal. But by that measure so is fan art, fan fiction, and anything else involving using somebody else’s IP without their explicit permission. The boundaries are not clear and I feel like most companies sending C&D notices don’t realize they’re literally punishing their biggest fans for expressing their love. I don’t think SAGE was a good educational tool like I wanted it to be, but at the very least, Sega’s never Cease & Desisted any Sonic fan games (in fact, they went on record a few months before the reveal of Sonic Mania encouraging Sonic fans to keep making stuff like that).

But yeah, like, protecting fan content like that is something I’ve become weirdly passionate about, particularly with regards to fan games. Stuff like Everything Is A Remix is my jam.


#3

I am very much in the school of “steal art”. Intellectual-property rights offend me. My view is that anything put out for public consumption should be fair-game for appropriation. I recognize that there are problems with this view. For instance, Capital that has more access to distribution channels is more capable of profiting from artistic work than groups that have been historically disenfranchised. From my perspective, that is a problem with capitalism rather than an argument for intellectual-property rights. In the world in which i would like to live it would be impossible to make a living-income off of artistic works, but things like education, healthcare, and housing would be guaranteed.
I do want to mention that I think trademarks are an exception. I see a need for them.


#4

Fanworks equated to canon hasn’t been my experience*, but I’ve seen plenty make aggressive arguments for their personal headcanons, which is, to me, slightly different in that a headcanon acknowledges that whatever thought you have about the property is your own, even if you’ve lined up the logic to make it valid in your eyes. There are no, or maybe fewer, expectations placed on the property to satisfy one’s personal headcanon.

EDIT: Fan communities vary so much by location and fandom though, so I’m not about to say my experience extends any further than the circles I’ve joined.

Anyways, fanworks. I love them. I’m not prolific, but I do fanart for online challenges every now and then. I’ve also been ever so slowly chipping away at a couple of fanfics. I’ve learned a lot about writing from reading and writing fanfiction (IMO, producing fanwork is a great way to practice an artistic craft, especially if you want to be a commercial artist.) It’s introduced to me to many different approaches to the craft of writing.

Fanfiction is my version of Harlequin romance novels, except the authors already have a major element in their favor: I already like the characters they’re writing about. I know who they are and don’t need the same amount of character-building to understand them. Instead, writers can focus on what’s different about their version of the setting or character or whatever and move on.

The various interpretations of characters is always interesting and gives me new perspectives from which to consider a work that I already consumed. I assume that someone passionate enough to write fanfiction for an IP has really taken the time to digest that piece and when that’s the case, they often return work that thoroughly investigates an aspect of an IP (normally a character, because I really dig character studies) that I haven’t considered or noticed. In fact, any of my declarations of love for some piece of entertainment (normally a show because that’s excellent fodder for fan culture) is almost always followed by me delving into the available fanfiction for that thing; fanworks have become a sort of companion piece to the IP as a way to really understand what I’m engaging with and why I like it so much.


#5

Sonic is probably one of the best handled responses to fan works by a parent company that I’ve ever seen. It’s pretty clear these fan artists and game creators are the ones keeping the passion for the characters and games alive, and I think SEGA kind of caught onto that. Freedom Planet is a big example of how that community can help people grow into larger spaces, and Spark the Electric Jester also released recently, created by a prominent fan game creator. Hell, you mentioned Sonic Mania and that’s a game they went as far as hiring several prominent fan game creators to just straight up make their dream game.

I’m glad you brought up Everything is A Remix. Watched that again recently and it still feels really relevant. Personally, its a philosophy I think could have worthwhile applications, and it also does a good job of explaining how absolutely ridiculous our copyright laws are. In addition to how absurdly convoluted they’ve become they’ve also created a kind of legal requirement to do the cease and desist style policing of fan works. It draws attention to how outdated the law is and how little it makes sense for today.


#6

fan stuff is good, actually. i used to enjoy writing and stopped for dumb reasons for like 10 years and now i am writing a harry potter fanfic and it’s dumb and bad and i am loving it so fanfic is good, acutally. beer also, is good. hello