Garry's Mod is removing 20 years' worth of Nintendo-related items from its Steam Workshop following takedown request: 'It's Nintendo. Need more be said?'

Garry's Mod screen - G-Man riding a balloon-festooned cart with his hands held above his head while a Counter-Strike guy chases him
(Image credit: Facepunch Studios)

Following a takedown request issued by Nintendo, the famed physics sandbox Garry's Mod is removing "all Nintendo related stuff" from its Steam Workshop.

"Some of you may have noticed that certain Nintendo related workshop items have recently been taken down," Facepunch Studios said in a Steam update. "This is not a mistake, the takedowns came from Nintendo.

"Honestly, this is fair enough. This is Nintendo's content and what they allow and don't allow is up to them. They don't want you playing with that stuff in Garry's Mod—that's their decision, we have to respect that and take down as much as we can."

The "not a mistake" line may have been prompted in part by earlier DMCA claims against Nintendo-related mods that some Garry's Mod players claimed were fraudulent. It's not clear whether that was actually the case, but it seems to definitely not be the case now.

Nintendo is notoriously protective of its property, and it's not shy about getting heavy with people it thinks are getting out of line. Earlier this year, for instance, it sued the makers of the Nintendo Switch emulator Yuzu, forcing a near-immediate halt to its development (and sticking the developers with a $2.4 million bill); more famously, it saddled programmer and hacker Gary Bowser with a $14.5 million financial albatross he'll be paying off for the rest of his life, on top of more than a year spent in a US federal prison, for the crime of making and selling "circumvention devices" for the Switch.

It's the sort of brutal behavior that has a deep, chilling impact, sometimes beyond the obvious targets. In January, for instance, Valve ordered a halt to Portal 64, a popular Portal demake for the Nintendo 64. Portal 64 maker James Labert said he was asked by Valve to take the project down because it "depends on Nintendo's proprietary libraries."

"I think Valve didn't want to be tied up in a project involving Nintendo IP," Lambert told PC Gamer at the time. "I don't blame them."

That thinking may also be driving the Garry's Mod housecleaning: The potential for headaches (and significant financial pain) is great enough that it's preferable to just eliminate any possibility of an unpleasant letter from Nintendo's legal department.

There's definitely a lot of Nintendo-related stuff available for Garry's Mod. A search for "Nintendo" in the Garry's Mod Steam Workshop brings up 44 pages of results, while "Mario" delivers a whopping 186 pages of results. Other Nintendo characters, including Bowser, Zelda, Princess Peach, Luigi, and Yoshi also bring up dozens of pages of results. It's a big pile to sort through, and Facepunch turned to the community for some help with the effort.

"This is an ongoing process, as we have 20 years of uploads to go through," it wrote. "If you want to help us by deleting your Nintendo related uploads and never uploading them again, that would help us a lot."

Whether it will get that help seems to be an open question. Despite the message, there's still some doubt among Garry's Mod players that the takedown request is real. Some are criticizing the development team for "falling for it," while others are demanding proof that Facepunch verified the takedown requests are legit. A few legal theories about fair use in Japan are being kicked around, and there are also calls for Facepunch to keep the Nintendo content in place as a matter of principle, and damn the consequences. Naturally, there's also a good deal of upset with Nintendo, and occasional predictions of Garry's Mod's imminent demise (not all of them polite) should it knuckle under to the forces of injustice.

None of which is likely to matter—there's nothing in the takedown announcement indicating that this is anything but a done deal. As Facepunch put it, "It's Nintendo. Need more be said?"

I've reached out to Facepunch for comment and will update if I receive a reply.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.