Leaked Nintendo Documents Detail Company's Monitoring of Hackers

Messing with Nintendo software could come with your actions being tracked by the company before legal documents make it to your front door.

By Otto Kratky

December 28, 2020

Nintendo has always presented itself as an extremely friendly company. It sports Mario as its face, and for a while, seemed to be all about the games. Even Reggie Fils-Aime, the former chief operating officer of Nintendo once said “If it’s not fun, why bother?” However, that view of Nintendo as a friendly company focused on its players has been melting away recently. A batch of leaked internal documents from Nintendo has revealed some intense, frightful procedures regarding hackers.

In case its actions against ROM sites don’t make it clear, Nintendo doesn’t give much leeway to folks playing around with its IPs. If you’re messing around with any of the company’s hardware though, you may just end up being tracked by the gaming giant. Leaked documents from 2013 regarding a Nintendo 3DS modder named Neimod shows that the company monitored him extensively and produced multiple action plans and procedures for approaching him.

A detailed Final Enforcement Proposal regarding Neimod discusses the actions Nintendo planned to take against him and all the information the company gathered. By the end of its investigation, Nintendo knew where and when Neimod worked, where he lived, who he lived with, and what he spent his time doing.



As for actually approaching Neimod, Nintendo put together a “Knock and Talk” team kept intentionally small as “not to alarm or overwhelm Neimod.” This team would move in once a local investigator notified them that Neimod had or was about to arrive at home. They would then introduce themselves and explain that Nintendo was interested in discussing an opportunity with him that would be mutually beneficial.

While this all sounds rather hostile, it actually seems that Nintendo wanted the situation to work out well for all parties. One of the possible outcomes set forth in this plan was for Neimod to work with Nintendo on a “bounty” contract. In this scenario, Neimod would be paid by Nintendo to document any possible exploits, hacks, or security weaknesses. Of course, Nintendo also acknowledged that this outcome would be the best for it too, possibly bolstering the company’s image as “a modern, tech-savvy company.” The other option Nintendo had open was to file a criminal complaint against Neimod.

It should be noted that Nintendo is well within its rights to act this way. When it comes to hardware hacking it should be no surprise that Nintendo, or any other hardware manufacturer, would act in a hostile manner. However, it’s outright shocking how much information the company collected on someone it was planning potential legal action against.

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