Nintendo Turned Gary Bowser Into a Real-Life Villain

Gary Bowser loves video games, but Nintendo turned him into a villain. No, not just because he shares a name with Bowser, the actual villain of the Mario franchise. The human Bowser helped mod Nintendo’s gaming consoles so people could play free, pirated versions of its video games. Then one day, he woke up with three rifles pointed at his head and $14.5 million in debt to Nintendo.

Bowser was the subject of a Department of Justice sting operation and spent over a year in jail, all for essentially adding some dongles to Nintendo Switches. In a new interview with The Guardian, Bowser shared his story of how Nintendo made an example out of him to scare other video game pirates.

“The day that it happened, I was sleeping in my bed, it was four in the morning, I’d been drinking all night,” Bowser said in an interview with The Guardian. “And suddenly I wake up and see three people surrounding my bed with rifles aimed at my head … they dragged me out of the place, put me in the back of a pickup truck, and drove me to the Interpol office.”

Bowser says he’ll be paying off that $14.5 million settlement for the rest of his life. The 54-year-old Canadian programmer was part of Team Xecuter, a group that produced equipment to bypass Nintendo’s anti-piracy software. The Department of Justice’s Brian C. Rabbit called them “a notorious international criminal group,” in a press release back in 2020. However, Bowser says he was only paid a few hundred bucks a month for his work.

Nintendo called Bowser’s jail sentence a “unique opportunity” to send a message about video game piracy. “It’s the purchase of video games that sustains Nintendo,” said the company’s lawyer Ajay Singh during Bowser’s case, “and it is the games that make the people smile.”

However, Bowser may have caught a stray bullet in this case. He’s ultimately facing a lifetime of debt for, as he describes it, “becoming a middleman” between Xecuter’s developers and the people who own its mod chips. Nintendo wanted to send a message to other pirates with Bowser: if you get caught, you’ll face serious consequences.

“I’ll pay them what I can, which won’t be very much money, that’s for sure,” Bowser told The Guardian. He was released in July after getting out of his jail sentence early for good behavior. While in prison, Bowser says he couldn’t always get adequate medical attention for his chronic foot issues, and spent some time in a wheelchair to help him get around.

These days, he pays his medical bills through a GoFundMe page dedicated to helping him restart his life. The page currently has raised over $7,000, close to Bowser’s ultimate goal of $9,000. Bowser says he struggles to pay his electricity bill these days after his monthly payments to Nintendo.

Nintendo logged a revenue of $8.7 billion last year, and Bowser’s monthly payments won’t even scratch the surface of the company’s bottom line.

Nintendo has left a lifelong stain on Gary Bowser’s life, that he’ll be toiling with forever. The company may have sent a message to other hackers and pirates, but at what cost? Bowser’s circumstances show the human consequences of a corporation like Nintendo throwing its weight around.

Source link

About Tech News

Check Also

These open ear design earbuds tick all the boxes

Check out the EMEET Airflow. These open-ear design earbuds deliver noise cancellation, premium sound, and …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *