Hello there everyone!
I apologise if my english is not really good, it's not my native language, but hope I can make myself understood.
I just registered here, willing to share a project I have been working for a long time that is finally almost finished.
In the first place, I just wanted to share my project through a personal web site, but I think this platform could be a great place to have more visibility and better feedback :)
The thing is that the project is a remake (with some new features) of an old computer game named "Alley Cat". This game was released in 1983 for an Atari computer and in 1984 for PC IBM by a company named Synapse Software. The creator, Bill Williams, sadly passed away in 1998 at the age of 37 because of cystic fibrosis.
This remake wants to be a tribute to him and to the game itself. It does have new graphics and sounds but also reuses the old ones with an option to play with the different versions.
Who is the current rights holder - if anyone - is quite puzzling. What I know (thanks to wikipedia) is that Synapse Software was bought by Broderbund in 1984, who finally shut it down, so it doesn't exist anymore. Maybe the rights of old Synapse games were hold by Broderbund, but they happened to be acquired by "The Learning Company" in 1998, and in 1999 Mattel acquired them both. In the 2000 Mattel gave away The Learning Company to "Gores Technology Group". This company sold part of their rights to Ubisoft and another part (like the broderbund name) to another company called Riverdeep. Although Ubisoft is the company which published some Broderbund games such as "Myst", it seems that ANOTHER company, Encore Inc publishes games from the line of Broderbund under license from Riverdeep.
So... I'm not really sure of the situation of the rights for this game. I simply guess that anyone
gives a sh cares at all about it... but you never know.
As I have seen some remakes released here (like Donkey Kong or Mario from Nintendo, for example), I guess it's not something against the rules. So, the questions are:
1) It's fine to release a remake of that game without having the rights to use the name, graphics or mechanics from the original?
2) If it's ok to distribute it here, the intention is - of course- to do it for free (as I wanted to do on my website). I am an amateur programmer and my job is not related to this, but the possibility of accepting donations seems interesting, as a lot of effort and time has been spent on it.
¿Would that be acceptable, in any case?
Thanks a lot for this place and for your attention. I'm sure I will enjoy a lot playing some of the games I've seen around!