From Mario Fan Games Galaxy Wiki
- Not to be confused with Fangaming.
A fangame (sometimes referred as "fan game", although it's optional) is a kind of video games that are made by at least one fan and designed to entertain an audience for generally no profit using the theme of at least one video game as an integral aspect of the game components. Examples include games based around characters and concepts the creator does not own, and are easily recognizable by the general public.
These games are usually not endorsed -- and sometimes not accepted -- by the company currently in possession of copyrights or trademarks used by this application, and may place their producer in an undesirable situation if these rights are infringed too blatantly.
Fangames can be made using a variety of programs ranging from the text-based ZZT to powerful programming languages like C++. The majority of fangames are 2D, since many people find them to be usually easier to make. 3D fangames do exist, however, like Paper Mario 3D Land.
Resources used in fangames often consist of ripped material from at least one official game.
Fangames have been sometimes criticized due to using third-party content, rather than original stuff. As a large majority of fangames are known to have a rather low quality, they tend to be ignored or downsized as soon as they are mentioned, especially in non-fangaming communities.
Differing interpretations of copyright law cause the general field of fangaming to fall under a legal gray area. The view of the owner of a copyright all vary wildly between individual works, especially considering if the copyright used are credited or not and what kind of content are contained within. Some fangames may violate copyright laws, and receive legal punishments, such as having their downloads being taken down.
An innate problem lies in that it is often assumed players understand that some fangaming materials -- primarily sprites -- were not created by the fangame developer, and are not used with permission from the true authors.
Some companies, such as Capcom, appear to show general approval towards fangaming, while others' opinions are either unknown or even against fangaming.