NORM:On October 22, 1989, Nick Thiemann took his son, Clark, to a Child World toy store in Westport, Connecticut.
For the past few years Clark had been saving money bycollecting soda cans and bottles at a nearby athletic field.
Now, he was finally ready to cash inand buy a new game for his Nintendo Entertainment System.
After browsing the titles, Clark settledon a sports game: LJN's 'Major League Baseball', witha retail price of $39.
As soon as they got home, Clark ripped off the shrink-wrap and popped in the game to play.
LJN's 'Major League Baseball' wasthe first game on the NES to have an official MLB license, meaning the game could useMLB team names and logos.
However, it did not have a license from the MLB Players' Association, which meant no player nameswere in the game.
Instead, players were represented bystats and uniform numbers.
That didn't sit well with Clark.
Where were all of his favorite players? And how come the rosters weren't up to date? Upset, he went to his dad.
'This isn't what I thoughtit was, ' Clark said.
'We'll take it back, 'replied his dad, Nick and Clark headedback to Child World, hoping to return the game.
But the store refused.
Once the shrink wrap had beenbroken, the store couldn't give a refund.
Nick and Clark could onlyexchange the game for a new copy, and only if theirs was defective.
[keyboard clicking] Nick Thiemann decided to contact Nintendo of America, claiming that the gamewas misrepresented.
But Nintendo of America ignored him.
At that point, Nick, a lawyer, decided to take matters into his own hands.
On January 16, 1990, Nick and Clark Thiemann sued Nintendo of America, LJN, and Major League Baseball.
The Thiemanns claim that the game's packaging violated the 'Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, ' which prohibited unfairand deceptive acts and practices in tradeand commerce.
They filed the suit as a class action, which would allow others who purchased LJN's'Major League Baseball' to join in.
The Thiemanns hoped to prevent Nintendo and LJN from selling the gameas it was packaged, or force them to sell it withnew packaging that was less deceptive.
In addition, they wantedpunitive damages, attorney fees, and finally, a $40 refundon their purchase.
The press jumped all over the story.
Some found the situation amusing.
Jim Taylor of the 'Province' newspaperin Vancouver wrote, After several delays, lawyers forNintendo of America filed a motion to dismissthe lawsuit on April 4, 1990.
The reason? A failure to statea cause of action.
In other words, Nintendo was saying, 'So what? Even if everythingthe Thiemanns stated was true, they had no legal recourse.
' LJN's Major League Baseball was released in April of 1988 and developed in 1987, two years prior to Clark's purchase.
The rosters were accurate atthe time of development.
The game also never claimedto have player names; just that each team was, quote: Clark Thiemann felt otherwise.
The game promised thatplayers could simulate being a manager, but without player names, Clark couldn't choose who to puton the field.
His attorney, Lawrence Kanaga, stated: In the US District Court in New Haven, Connecticut, both sides argued their case.
And on December 28, 1990, judge Ellen Burns made her decision.
[gavel bangs] Case dismissed.
It was a victory for Nintendo.
The Thiemanns appealed, but their appeal was eventually withdrawn.
As for 'LJN's Major League Baseball, ' despite its lack of player namesand multiple glitches, the game sold more than one million copies.
Was LJN guilty of false advertisingon their game? According to the law, no.
But it wouldn't be the only timeone of their products had questionable marketing.
The web series'Angry Video Game Nerd' pointed out a problem onthe LJN Video Art box.
AVGN:And just to add insult to injury: on the box, the panda iscolored in perfectly.
How can you market it asa coloring program when there isn't even a wayto color anything in? NORM:Nintendo of Americawouldn't be strangers to further lawsuits from children.
In 1991, a teenager claimedthe NES gave her carpal tunnel syndrome.
Another had claimedthe game 'Kid Icarus' caused an epileptic seizure.
Although the casenever went anywhere, it's always interesting to seea consumer, especially a 9-year-old, fight back.
That's all for this episode ofthe Gaming Historian.
Thanks for watching! ♪ dream-sequence chiptune music ♪ Funding forGaming Historian is provided in part by supporters on Patreon.
CLOSED CAPTIONING AND TIMING MADE POSSIBLE BY LOLA.