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Professor Layton and the Curious Twitter Accounts

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the somebody-do-this-with-starcon2 dept.

Communications 26

Ssquared22 writes "'Frankly ... I'm ashamed. I have made myself a Twitter page and officially joined the world of technology. Perhaps Luke may help me update.' With those words on June 28, 2009, what had been just a fictional character in a Nintendo DS game became a fixture on Twitter. Over the coming days and weeks, the TopHatProfessor account would post dozens of riddles and brainteasers of the type found in 2008's Professor Layton and the Curious Village and the upcoming Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, soliciting answers from his slowly growing cadre of followers. Along the way, the professor happily answered questions about the upcoming title and shared little slices of life from his day, all without ever breaking character. Many followers were bemused and intrigued by what they assumed was a clever new viral marketing campaign put on by Nintendo ahead of Diabolical Box's August release. In reality, though, the TopHatProfessor account was the work of a lone college student and amateur game journalist, trying to get attention for a game he felt was being sorely neglected by publisher Nintendo and the media at large."

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follow me on twitter (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28816321)

I'm Big, black, and bold.

Re:follow me on twitter (1)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816491)

You're a white-man drinking coffee?

Join us next time... (4, Funny)

j741 (788258) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816413)

Thank you for your participation in our regularly scheduled program. Join us next time as we discuss a lone college student who is being sued by Nintendo for copyright infringement. ;)

Re:Join us next time... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28816427)

The smart thing would be to hire the guy part-time. Have him agree to some basic rules and maybe give him a guideline of what they'd work with. Or just let him be, and keep it purely fan-based.

I mean, it's Nintendo...

Not like they're SONY or anything...

Re:Join us next time... (3, Informative)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816463)

Instead it will be as likely to end with a cease and desist or even a lawsuit. FTFA:

While the reaction on Twitter was mostly positive and appreciative of DiLuigi's efforts, the reaction on gaming message board NeoGAF, where DiLuigi was a devoted member, was more negative. When a user turned up the fact that DiLuigi had used NeoGAF to promote the TopHatProfessor account without disclosing his role in creating it, the moderators decided to ban DiLuigi from further posting. "Nothing says more professional than faking a twitter as being some sort of pseudo official thing for Nintendo," wrote NeoGAF user shuri. "You did something stupid and then added layers of stupid on top of it. It was like a stupid cake. And now you're eating it," added user ShockingAlberto. "Why is a 'game journalist' viral marketing for Nintendo for free?" asked user Tiktaalik.

They do have a point. Doing something like that without permission these days can land you in deep crap.

Re:Join us next time... (4, Insightful)

DreamsAreOkToo (1414963) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816691)

What the hell has happened to us where supporting an under appreciated venue has become grounds for suing? What the hell has happened to us where people are paid to do "viral marketing" but when a fan goes out and does it, they should become fearful of the law?

Seriously, wtf has happened to my country?

Re:Join us next time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28816867)

What are you getting so worked up about? Nobody's going to get sued - there have been no indications that this is likely. This just looks like the dalliance of some lazy college student (amateur game journalist? Not something I'd admit to being to my friends) which Nintendo is, well, just ignoring. Seems sensible.

Re:Join us next time... (4, Insightful)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 5 years ago | (#28817089)

Fan created work is like free advertisement!

Nobody would have ever heard of the game mostly if not for word of mouth. The touch of fame for even a fake Layton posting on Twitter would give loads of FREE advertisement to the game.

Everyone wins.

TRADEMARK. COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT, CEASE AND DESIST. Everyone now loses. Nintedo is looked upon as a tyrant. The game will now have a negative connotation, of proprietary and locked down. The end.

This story can be replaced with Chrono Trigger, and many other fan based games that got the axe because of this. I can't think of much off of the top of my head. (No Sonichu doesn't count).

Re:Join us next time... (1)

DarKnyht (671407) | more than 5 years ago | (#28817601)

What the Chrono Trigger or any other fans based games did (remakes of Kings Quest, etc.) was create content that included the artwork, music, and game engine that was under Copyright. In some cases they entirely reproduced the original game in entirely and distributed. Unfortunate as it is, they should have been and were shut down.

What this guy seems to be doing is just pretending to be a character from the game. As long as he doesn't do lewd things with the account, he probably is looked upon much like the people that dress up as Superman and Spiderman on Hollywood Blvd.

Re:Join us next time... (1)

nEoN nOoDlE (27594) | more than 4 years ago | (#28820483)

Making a great brand can net you millions of dollars, so once such a brand has been created the company has to do everything in their power to protect it. This fake Professor Layton account can be just innocuous fun but it's the marketing form of vigilante justice. If the twitter account gets ridiculously popular and starts getting linked as an official Nintendo account, then the owner of the account can essentially hold the brand hostage and turn against Nintendo at will. This can cost Nintendo big money, so they (or any company in such a situation) has to either distance themselves from it and make it perfectly clear to everyone that it's not Nintendo affiliated, or hire them so they are Nintendo affiliated and now Nintendo retains full control over the branding, or just sue and get rid of the account altogether.

Re:Join us next time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28825317)

Or Nintendo can simply ask the guy to add a disclaimer clearly stating that this is fan-art work, profiting from the free marketing while protecting its character. No hostages, no big deal.

- Anonymous Coward

Re:Join us next time... (4, Interesting)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816873)

They do have a point. Doing something like that without permission these days can land you in deep crap.

Uh... I don't think any of the quotes from NeoGAF actually MADE that point.

"shuri" pointed out that it wasn't very professional. (I'd argue that an amateur game journalist is, by definition, not professional.)

"Shockingalberto" called it stupid several times. A real credit to NeoGAF forums right there.

Finally "Tiktaalik" asked a question which seems pretty obvious: he liked the game, had a lot of free time (college student and "amateur game journalist"), and nintendo wouldn't have hired him.

So... nothing I see about how it's dangerous. NeoGAF just seems angry that they weren't included. Maybe it's just typical angry online gamer talk, I don't know.

Re:Join us next time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28817145)

So... nothing I see about how it's dangerous. NeoGAF just seems angry that they weren't included. Maybe it's just typical angry online gamer talk, I don't know.

NeoGAF can be described as a self-important community. They originated as the forum of a gaming website that splintered off into just being a forum.

Re:Join us next time... (4, Interesting)

seebs (15766) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816895)

They do have something of a point. I think. I don't entirely trust them. I had a neogaf account at one point, and a while back, I got a form letter ban message. I have no idea why. I wasn't active (hadn't posted in a few months), and queries have gone unanswered. So, I have no clue. Maybe someone broke into the account? Maybe they don't like inactive accounts? Maybe they were searching for threads at least six months old in which people posted something they don't like? I can't say, but I will say, I wouldn't count a neogaf ban as meaning anything. (And if anyone CAN tell me why my account got banned, well, I sure would be curious.)

Re:Join us next time... (2, Insightful)

trytoguess (875793) | more than 4 years ago | (#28821603)

Not necessarily. Consider the Mother 3 translation [fobby.net] . The patch has been out for several months, and the project itself has been around for several years. Compared to allowing thousands of people play a pirated copy of a niche game (that'll probably never make it here), trying to generate hype for a game is such a trivial offense.

Re:Join us next time... (3, Insightful)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816731)

How about instead of suing him they offer him a job? Seriously, there are marketing professionals out there, some apparently working for Nintendo, who cannot create this kind of viral buzz (to use their awful words) even when the try deliberately.

viral marketing (3, Insightful)

Onymous Coward (97719) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816721)

... what they assumed was a clever new viral marketing campaign put on by Nintendo ahead of Diabolical Box's August release. In reality, though ...

"... it was a clever new viral marketing campaign put on by some guy."

Typo in summary (2, Funny)

Tx (96709) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816829)

Many followers were bemused and intrigued by what they assumed was a clever new viral marketing campaign put on by Nintendo ahead of Diabolical Box's August release. In reality, though, the TopHatProfessor account was the work of a lonely college student and amateur game journalist.

There, fixed that for you.

To be or not to be a Fictional Character (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28817033)

Anyone is free to ACT as a fictional character even at the fictional world of twitter.

The entire art and entertainment industry exists on acting roles of (sometimes not even entirely) fictitious characters.

Are you saying that the copyright masters of the fictional character of Professor Layton have more right to prevent anyone impersonating him than former President of the USA, George Bush as a real person has the right to prevent the existence of the character of "HBO George Bush"?

Come on geek, stop being a volunteer corporate slave... that's such a shitty character to act upon.

Re:To be or not to be a Fictional Character (1, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#28817695)

Are you saying that the copyright masters of the fictional character of Professor Layton have more right to prevent anyone impersonating him than former President of the USA, George Bush as a real person has the right to prevent the existence of the character of "HBO George Bush"?

Yes. Unlike works of the United States Government, works of Nintendo are copyrighted. And even for works of a government that ordinarily places its works under copyright, such as the United Kingdom or several U.S. states, the First Amendment has colored the "purpose and character" factor of fair use to act more in favor of political speech than non-political speech.

Re:To be or not to be a Fictional Character (3, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#28817815)

If you're not using any of the content from the game, and only a character's name, then you're only guilty of trademark infringement, and then only if it is a registered trademark or you are deliberately attempting to create confusion.

Whether he can be found guilty of that latter is to be decided in a court of law if necessary, and cannot be determined here today.

Layton is a star in the UK (1)

Nick Ives (317) | more than 4 years ago | (#28817895)

Professor Layton is a system seller here in the UK, The Curious Village is on prime view on a large number of NDS display racks and I know two women (30ish and 45ish) who purchased a DS because of Professor Layton!

So, I remain confident that English language versions of the sequels will appear in due course, at this rate probably around Christmas for the first sequel.

Re:Layton is a star in the UK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28823909)

They've already announced an EU release for the second game in late September of this year.

Nintendo CEO also has a twitter (1)

derrickh (157646) | more than 4 years ago | (#28820295)

Satoru Iwata has been twittering for a while. Giving insights into his daily life running a gaming empire. http://www.twitter.com/satoruiwata [twitter.com]

I Despise The Implication (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 4 years ago | (#28821029)

I despise the implication that you aren't part of the world of technology until you have your own Twitter account. This sounds more like viral marketing for Twitter than for the game.

Nintendo approves! (1)

ghostlibrary (450718) | more than 5 years ago | (#28911567)

From TFA:

"And since revealing his identity (and getting an unofficial thumbs-up from Nintendo as "fans who want to spread the word of Layton"), DiLuigi has decided to return to the role he originated at TopHatProfessor,"

Yay sanity!

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