Tiny-scale operation for pint-sized retro console resales is still too big for Japanese police to look the other way.

Nintendo’s Classic Mini Super Famicom, the Japanese-spec version of the Super NES Classic Edition, is a pretty cool piece of tech. The self-contained retro system has 21 old-school games stored inside, which should be enough to keep anyone with an appreciation of the hobby’s history, or just fun, straightforward gameplay, entertained.

But 39-year-old Tomoyuki Miyamoto, a resident of Kashima in Ibaraki Prefecture, felt the Mini Super Famicom could use a bit of a tune-up. Since it’s got the processing power to run any Super Famicom/Super NES game, Miyamoto decided to add in the ROMs for a few more.

Had he stopped there and simply enjoyed his upgraded system in the comfort of his own home, he probably wouldn’t have gotten in trouble. Unfortunately, Miyamoto’s next move was to offer his upgraded Mini Super Famicom for sale through an online auction site. Between April and May, he sold three systems, with his total income from them coming to 61,500 yen (US$540), a pretty nice profit margin on the 24,000 yen it would have cost him to but the systems new, since they retail for 8,000 yen in Japan.

But Miyamoto’s entrepreneurial spirit didn’t impress law enforcement, and he was arrested on November 19 by officers attached to the Yasugi Precinct in Shimane Prefecture, way on the other side of the country (where ostensibly one of Miyamoto’s customers was located). He now faces charges stemming from violations of Japan’s trademark and copyright laws. Miyamoto has admitted to selling the systems, which he says he modified himself, implying that no one else was involved in his money-making scheme.

Given that his customers were willing to pay more than double the cost of a regular Mini Super Famicom, you might be imagining that Miyamoto stuffed them full of the entire catalog for the 16-bit system. Actually, though, he added a mere five games to the systems, with their copyrights split between four publishers. And though there are exactly five different games in the pre-bundled lineups for the Japanese and overseas versions of the retro console, Miyamoto wasn’t trying to create some best-of-both-worlds hybrid by combining their two libraries. One of the games he added is reported to be plain-old Super Mario Bros., which wasn’t even released in a stand-alone version for the Super Famicom/Super NES, so it’s unclear if Miyamoto slapped the 8-bit NES game into the 16-bit retro box or simply cut out the Super Mario Bros. portion that was one-fourth of the 16-bit Super Mario All-Stars remake bundle and tossed away the rest.

Either way, despite the relatively minor scale of the operation and modest economic gains it brought Miyamoto, it was still enough to get arrested, serving as another example of how the Japanese justice system doesn’t give video game bootleggers much leeway, even if they have the same last name as Mario’s creator.

Source: Asahi Shimbun Digital via Hachima Kiko
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