A few weeks ago, a Nintendo fan at Comfort Food Video Games uploaded a high-quality scan of the Super Mario 64 Complete Clear Guide, an officially-licensed guidebook released in Japan in 1996. It was super cool since copies of the book can cost hundreds on eBay.
Besides containing tips and tricks to completing the game’s notoriously difficult levels, it also has trivia about its development process and interviews with the creators. Also inside the guide are photos of incredible dioramas of the game’s maps. It was the first Super Mario game with 3D graphics, and Nintendo was worried that children would get lost within the game, so it created the dioramas to act as maps for the levels.
The guide is a small, unique piece of Nintendo history, and lots of fans were excited to read it for the first time. Then, heartbreak. The Internet Archive, which was hosting the scans, received a copyright infringement notice from Nintendo of America’s lawyers, so it took the guide down.
“Frankly, I’d love to challenge the legitimacy of that and how Nintendo of America would have anything to do with a Nintendo of Japan licensed Gem Books guide from 1996, but I can’t really fight the Nintendo legal team here,” CFVG said to Kotaku. “It’s incredibly disappointing.”
“I’m a rookie to the video game preservation scene but I can’t think of anything more depressing than how it’s a bunch of hardworking people spending their free time and money painstakingly archiving and preserving history while major corporations like Nintendo are doing nothing to help. In fact they’re actively hindering the cause.”
Nintendo has made it a trend to take down preservation projects. It’s a bit more reasonable when they shut down a storefront selling classic Nintendo ROMs or even distributing them freely. But this was a book that’s been out of print for two decades, and no one was making money from it.
Fortunately, CFVG has shared the guide’s file around, so if you want it, search it up, and you’ll probably be able to download it from somewhere. For now, enjoy a couple more screenshots.