Is it so hard to believe that video game developers copy each other, borrow ideas and downright steal from each other? If you said yes, I have a copy of Final Fantasy VII HD for sale and I will be happy to send it to you. But for those of you who know what’s up, the gaming industry is full of rip-offs and copy-cats. There are so many games that are nearly exactly like others that I am sure you have played at least one. And if you haven’t consider yourself lucky, because plagiarism is all over the place. So let’s take a look at some of the most blatant copy-cat titles of all time.
Epic Games, the company behind the now-legendary Gears of War franchise, was not always so well known. In fact, they really kind of got their start by copying other popular titles and saturating the PC shareware markets until they gleaned enough notoriety and revenue to create new and fresh IPs. One of the lesser-known early titles by the folks at Epic is Jazz Jackrabbit . Now, if you have played this game then you know it bears a striking resemblance to a game with another humanoid critter blasting his way to the goal. That game is Earthworm Jim . Epic may be an all-original IP studio now, but they weren’t always so pure. Give this one a go and find out for yourself.
Now this one is going to step on some toes and for that I am sorry. But if you are too blinded by brand-ism to see the truth in front of you well…that’s your problem and doesn’t change anything. So Sherwood Dungeon is a free to play, browser based MMO game that has no level cap. Sounds pretty sweet, right? Well, it actually is. If you have ever played it, it’s pretty easy to get swept up in it. But anyway, this game is obviously ‘borrowing’ heavily from Runescape and World of Warcraft . Then again, World of Warcraft is really just a bigger and more polished rip-off of Ultima Online anyway. So I guess the lesson here is that if you want to build an MMO, just steal everything that everyone else is doing. Everyone else is doing it too.
Star Wars: Dark Forces
I hate knocking on Star Wars games but the truth is with the exception of the KOTOR games, there really hasn’t been a good Star Wars game yet. Sure some have gotten close but maybe with the new Battlefront they will finally get it right. Well before any of the good games started to surface, we got games like SW Dark Forces . Now it’s no secret that I am and will always be a fan of iD Software games, so I found it rather surprising that this particular Star Wars title bares a very striking and almost uncanny resemblance to Doom . Now I know what you’re thinking. No, this game doesn’t have anything to do with fighting off the minions of Hell. But if you pay attention to gameplay, it is a dead ringer. Almost as much as Battlefield 4 mimics the controls of Call of Duty . Yeah, I said it.
Volition games has been lauded for creating some great games like the Saints Row series and the Red Faction series. But the funny thing is that both are pretty much straight knock-offs of other titles. Obviously Saints Row is a GTA knock-off. But believe it or not, Red Faction (at least the first one) tries so hard to follow in the footsteps of Half Life . But apart from the fact that you can blow giant holes in walls and stuff and the context, they are essentially the same game. It’s almost like Volition said, “Hey let’s make another Half-Life but set it on Mars and then make it to where you can blow sh** up. No one will ever know the difference.” Well Volition, you’re wrong. We noticed. And while the innovation of destructible environments in FPS titles is great, you could’ve at least gotten original with the game you showcased it in.
The Simpsons Road Rage
While the game that the Simpsons borrows heavily from never really gained any kind of real success on console systems, it was pretty big in the arcade. Crazy Taxi was a great little game that loved to eat your quarters and tokens and leave you thinking that if you had only cut that corner a little sooner you would still be playing. While The Simpsons Road Rage isn’t a quarter-gobbling mayhem fest, it is no less frustrating than Crazy Taxi . If you pay attention to a lot of the mission based scenarios, they are eerily similar to Crazy Taxi in the fact that you have to take folks to places within time limits. Other than that, it’s your run-of-the-mill vehicular craziness game.
PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale
Super Smash Bros. Melee . Do I really need to say anything else? Nice try Sony. You will never be good enough to beat this one out. Just sayin’.
Crash Team Racing
Mario Kart is undoubtedly one of the most endearing racing titles in video game history. More people have played an iteration of Mario Kart than have played Gran Turismo and Forza put together. Sony and their PlayStation console were poised to take that particular statistic away from Nintendo. They launched multiple media campaigns to try and attract the attention of the loyal Nintendo fan base, but to no avail. Fans of the Mario Kart franchise kept on karting their way around the Mushroom Kingdom while Crash and his pals slowly and steadily faded into oblivion. Maybe someday they will resurrect the Crash Bandicoot franchise on PSN, but I would imagine that isn’t going to happen anytime soon.
Eastman and Laird’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is still a money making machine. Even after years and years of being on the shelves of stores, the TVs of countless millions and the arcades and video game consoles of people all over the world, somehow the fab four never got old and people never got tired of them. So it was only a matter of time before someone tried to cash in on the success of the heroes in a half-shell. Battletoads was every bit the awesome game that the Ninja Turtles arcade game was. It even had frantically paced speeder-bike levels that you really had to memorize or you would just get creamed repeatedly. But sadly, it just never took off in the way that the Ninja Turtles did. There was something about them that didn’t set the world on fire like the ooze-born foursome.
One of the most successful gaming franchises of all time is Angry Birds , but is it really an original idea? Oh sure there are a ton of physics-based mobile games out there, but just how original is Rovio’s multi-bazillion dollar franchise? It really isn’t. It borrows heavily from the game Crush The Castle , a browser-based game that was nearly the exact same control scheme and even shared some of the bonuses and upgrades. So really, when it’s all said and done, Rovio owes all of its success to a completely different company and game…well, and some seriously popular animated birds with attitude.
To top this list off we are going all the way back to the beginning of console gaming. Yep, all the way back to the Atari. Even though Pong was one of the first titles to really blow people away in the home-gaming mainstream, it was very nearly an exact copy of the Magnavox Odyssey title, Table Tennis . Magnavox sued Atari over this one. That’s just how much they were similar. Even though they settled out of court with Atari, Pong is still the clear winner due to the astronomical sales it saw after its release. So no matter how much of a copy it was, they were clearly ahead of Magnavox’s game. Even in the very beginning of console video gaming, there was infringement, plagiarism and outright copying of other people’s games and ideas. So is it really that big a surprise that it’s still happening today?