If I make a parody game, what are the copyright implications with imitating other games' artwork?

I’m working on a fairly simple, kind of postmodern 2D platformer, and one direction I was considering is having different levels that parody other games (eg Cuphead, and 16 bit games like Streets of Rage, and the ubiquitous Sonic and Mario). What can I get away with in terms of utilising elements from those games? As I see it there’s kind of a spectrum running from directly ripping art from those games and sticking them in mine (not something I have any intention of doing) through to creating entirely new assets that could be seen as inspired by the other games. But where does the line between permitted and not permitted lie? Am I allowed to name-check other games? How about creating a character that is an explicit reference to another character, but heavily modified in my own (probably crappy) art style? For instance, say, a stick figure with a red hat called Mario… and that’s just an example by the way, not something I intend to do!

I’m sure there are other factors, like some copyright holders being a lot more defensive of their IP, and whether or not the game I’m working on ends up becoming a commercial product. And please don’t think I’m just looking for an easy way to get recognition/notoriety. But any advice would be greatly appreciated :slight_smile:

Nobody except your own lawyer would be able to give you an answer to that. Even the lawyer would have to base his answer on old cases and make a best guess from that.

If you don’t want to hire a lawyer your risk of getting shut down or be forced to change things increases even if you think you got a good case.

In the end it all comes down to risk assessment.

You’ll probably want to discuss this with a lawyer as Garner mentioned. When it comes to parodies, you have to be careful to ensure that you are parodying something and not copying as there is a rather fine line between those two.

Anyone have the right to sue you.
All you need, to put yourself in that position, is just give them a reason and a chance to.

“Family Guy”, a show I like, often relies on “parody” clauses to make fun of public people on TV; That doesn’t protect them from being sued left and right.

Yes if I am not mistaken you have to prove it is parody they don’t have prove that it is not parody which puts the burden on you.