We don't normally feature articles that aren't game reviews or round-ups on our site, but this bit of news is a special case, as it affects everyone who plays and enjoys independently created games, both in our browsers and beyond.
In the past few months (arguably even longer than that), a pattern of blatant plagiarism has surged in the gaming community. Studios large and small have taken creative, original ideas released by independent developers and repackaged them for release on the iTunes App Store. These products are not merely "based upon" or "inspired by" another game, they are blatant, shameless copies of the original with only minor differences in appearance and gameplay. The screenshot you see above is a prime example of this, showing Andrew Moorish's free game Super Puzzle Platformer as compared to its iOS clone on the right.
Now, everybody knows that stealing is wrong, but this kind of thievery manages to slide by for a number of reasons. Some of our favorite indie developers have fallen victim to this mobile thievery, including Vlambeer, creator of Super Crate Box and Radical Fishing, Andrew Moorish with Super Puzzle Platformer, as well as Halfbot that found its game, The Blocks Cometh, "released" on iOS devices with the exact same name before it was even finished!
"The best weapon against game cloning is us, the players, who can vote with our wallets, report clones when we spot them, and support indie developers whenever we can."
Independent developers make unique, often free games that push creativity beyond its normal bounds. It's largely indie content that fills our pages on a daily basis. Developers and artists are hurt by this practice, and there are very few ways to fight back. The best weapon against game cloning is us, the players, who can vote with our wallets, report clones when we spot them, and support indie developers whenever we can.
If you want to read more about the cloning business that's been going on, feel free to check out the following articles on some of our favorite gaming sites:
- Super Puzzle Platformer Copycat? You Decide (via DIYGamer)
- 'Radical Fishing' And The Case Of The App Store Clone (via MTV Multiplayer)
- The clones cometh: the App Store is full of copycats, and it's indies who suffer (via Ars Technica)
Thanks, and remember to enjoy and support indie games!