One would think that after being hit with a $1.5 million fine from Nintendo for being the first person to upload New Super Mario Bros. Wii before its release and possibly costing the entire continent of Australia another chance to have a Nintendo game released before anywhere else in the world, the last thing one would want to do is dare to show their face in public.
And yet, that’s just what 24-year old James Burt has done. Following yesterday’s news, the part-time freight worker has seemingly been approached by several news outlets, but is forbidden by Nintendo from commenting on the settlement.
But that doesn’t mean his parents, who he still lives with, can’t say anything.
His father, Richard, explained to smh.com.au (via GoNintendo) that his son is far from a commercial pirate, but is a “fanatical” gamer who has owned every console released since he was a teenager and began working at the freight-handling company.
“As a parent I can tell you that he’s a very quiet lad, he’s a fanatical computer game player – to his detriment,” the father explained. “It was peer pressure on the internet forums and the blog sites that led him to do a very very silly thing to prove that he’d actually managed to purchase a game before its release date.”
“It was certainly [done] with no malice or intent to make money – he actually bought the game legitimately from a major retailer,” he said, noting his son now realizes the consequences of his actions that were not foreseen at the time.
He added that the upload itself did not allow people to play the game, but that someone had hacked it to make it work once it had been uploaded.
Nintendo, whose $100,000 legal fines are now another burden James must bear, rejected Richard’s claims that it had been an innocent mistake. Instead, they say that he sought out members of the game hacking community and released the game there in order to gain acceptance.
“Nintendo obtained evidence during its investigations that James Burt knew by uploading a copy of the game to a known hacking website that the security measures would be overcome by members of this community to allow the game to be hacked and ultimately downloaded,” the company said.
Despite their claims against Burt’s actions, they announced on January 27th that New Super Mario Bros. Wii had sold more than 200,000 copies in seven weeks, adding that it was the only title on any format to sell that many units so quickly.
In addition to the above story, Burt has also appeared on the Australian television news show “A Current Affair” (segment within). GamePolitics (via GoNintendo) reports that Burt said the fine would have a “devastating affect” on his life, adding “It’s so easy to get carried away and take part in things you may not agree with.”
He also admit that his actions were “very stupid,” and were something he would have to “work through for the rest of his life.”
Amusingly, the report would cite “billions around the world” as having downloaded the illegal copy of the game, though Nintendo themselves pegged the number as being around 50,000. Quite a difference, even though it is still a significant loss.
Perhaps Nintendo and Burt could strike an agreement towards paying off that fine by having the latter act as an anti-piracy spokesperson, as he offers words of advice to others in the gaming community:
“Don’t do what I did.”