Gary Bowser in our Interview: The probably most famous Nintendo-Pirate answers your questions


Moritz Poldrack

Gary Bowser

Fascinating insights and interesting answers in our exclusive interview with Gary Bowser. The OG Nintendo-Pirate.


From the very top to the very bottom, it’s sometimes just a short way. If someone attest to that, it’s Gary Bowser. In today’s interview, the „veteran“ of Nintendo piracy has answers to your burning questions.

Gary Bowser Interview: My main focus currently is my health​

I am thankful that so many readers have responded to our request to submit questions for an interview with Gary Bowser. A heartfelt thank you to everyone!

But I won’t keep you in suspense any longer. Both your questions and his answers are truly intriguing.

MIG Switch Gary, what’s your opinion on the MIG Switch? Who’s behind it?

Gary Bowser: There are many rumors, but I won’t comment on them. It’s a disgrace because the only use for the device is clearly piracy; there isn’t even a homebrew option. Nintendo will probably block it soon. Are you still in contact with your old crew? What about contacts into the scene?

Gary Bowser: No, there isn’t really a reason for me to get into contact with anyone in the scene. My main focus currently is my health and returning to my original passion: the Texas Instruments TI99/4a Home Computer Community.

I have already built some hardware for this system and would like to start some new projects around Retro computing. That’s my only focus right now. Always forward, never backward. A wise decision, Gary. We’ll come back to your health later. But first, onto another question.

Do you think piracy will die out over time?​ The authorities and the industry are investing more and more resources into breaking up the scene and P2P. Do you think piracy will die out over time because nobody wants to subject themselves to the risk of severe punishment?

Gary Bowser: Yes, and that’s for the best because piracy ultimately helps no one. Besides, everything is going digital, so the gaming world has been changing as well. However, this poses a problem because players get angry when games are removed from the shops.

Gary Bowser
Gary Bowser

It is a tough fight. Piracy will never completely disappear, but there will be significantly more monitoring of the websites that offer games and downloads. Why did you start pirating, and if you had the chance to start again, would you? Have you ever felt the urge?

Gary Bowser: Never, I simply see no reason for it. I don’t even own a gaming console and probably won’t buy one either. Piracy has never interested me. Initially, I liked the modding aspect to unlock the console.

Back when the Xbox was still in its infancy, I started unlocking the console, installing larger hard drives, installing media players, and using my own software, much like you would with a computer.

Unfortunately, it was piracy that prompted commercial companies to produce modchips. But I’ve always liked the idea of having full control over the console and doing what I wanted with it, rather than just playing illegal copies of games.

Was your sentence appropriate or excessive?​ When you look back at your trial, do you believe that the verdict against you was influenced by pressure from the industry? Did the prosecutor and the judge have a clear understanding of what you had done? Do you think your punishment was appropriate or was it excessive?

Gary Bowser: Maybe it was pressure, but I don’t know for sure. However, it was to be expected because the Switch is the best-selling console with over 139 million units sold, surpassing even the PlayStation or Xbox. So, the damage from piracy to Nintendo is greater than, for example, their very popular 3DS system.

Gary Bowser
Gary Bowser

Ultimately, the verdict was fair and in line with DMCA legislation. I received 5 years because I had no prior convictions. Otherwise, it would have been 10 years, so the verdict was fair overall and not excessive. A reader wanted to know how producers could be legally required to ensure that every (deepfake) video they produce is marked with a clearly identifiable watermark/MAC address or similar, enabling traceability to the originators of disinformation videos?

Gary Bowser: That’s a good question. The world is changing, much like a long time ago when Adobe Photoshop emerged. Back then, you couldn’t trust a photo anymore, and today, it’s no different with videos.

For video production, there are many good reasons to use AI to create the desired video and to detect forgeries.

It’s very likely that we will change the laws so that those who knowingly distribute forged videos can be held accountable, just like those who upload pirated games.

Gary Bowser Interview: The first months of freedom were difficult​ Gary, how are you coping with your current situation, and what are you doing to lead a „normal“ life again? How are you managing the costs?

Gary Bowser: It’s not easy. The first few months were tough; I’m just grateful that I was released in May, when the weather in Canada was warmer. Now it’s winter, so it’s good that I’ve had an apartment since November and can focus more on my health and try to find steady, legal employment, which isn’t easy.

I’m also working on obtaining disability benefits, which will help cover most of my monthly expenses.

Health issues and a crowdfunding campaign​ Gary, before we conclude our interview, one final question. We briefly discussed earlier that you’re not in the best health. I believe I read that you’re collecting donations to fund your treatment?

Gary Bowsers Spendenaufruf auf gofundme
Gary Bowsers Spendenaufruf auf GoFundMe

Gary Bowser: Yes, I have chronic issues with my left leg; it’s a form of lymphedema where the lymph fluid doesn’t properly drain, causing my leg from the knee to the ankle to feel like a huge tree trunk, making walking difficult and causing pain after sitting for a few hours. This limits my working hours as I need to lie down often.

I need to lie down often to reduce the swelling. Fortunately, there’s an indoor pool in my building where I can swim. But I need physiotherapy, and that’s expensive. Before winter, I was doing it three times a week.

It was about $600 per week. It helped me gain more mobility than I had before. And now, I’m at a point where I can do it at home, but I need to buy a medical device that allows me to treat my left leg daily with a compression pump. That sounds like a lot of money! Who knows, maybe some readers would like to donate.

Thank you, Gary, for this interesting interview! I wish you all the best and good luck on your future endeavours.

Gary Bowser: Thank you for the opportunity and your support!

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