PopCap attacks "copycat" designs

Discussion in 'Feedback Requests' started by Teeth, Jun 26, 2007.

  1. Spore Man

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    I mentioned this on page 2 (but it's gone largely ignored): An entire industry grew and survived basically by "cloning and reskinning". That industry was PINBALL. In 1947, "Humpty Dumpty" was the first pinball machine with electro-mechanical flippers. From then on, flipper pinball became the preferred format for this kind of amusement device and the industry supported dozens (if not hundreds) of different manufacturers. Each pinball game, from the 40's on to current day has been nothing more than a re-skin, with repositioning of the ramps, bumpers, etc into different configurations and "rules". There has been some innovation but it's been very gradual.

    An entire industry survived for over 50 years with one single genre of game.

    Competition is good, as it forces the talented few to innovate. Put out something "remarkable" and people will notice it above the rest.
     
  2. RinkuHero

    RinkuHero New Member

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    I don't consider that cloning. I can tell the difference between different pinball games; they each have their own feel and they play very differently, and they have very different configurations of what the ball moves through. I think calling pinball games clones of the first pinball game is a misnomer. There probably have been a few pinball games that were cloned (cloned configuration, cloned theme), but the majority were not.
     
  3. luggage

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    So you have trouble telling the different between Chuzzle and Fairies (for example)? Pinball is just the same mechanic and rule reused in different configurations. It's still the same basic game. I think the point was there is very little innovation in pinball games.

    I think it's a good point though - if there's nothing but clones\similar games then those who consider themselves uber-designers have a good opportunity to rise above the crowd.
     
  4. RinkuHero

    RinkuHero New Member

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    I've never heard of either of those games, sorry. Could you link to them?

    Arguably the value of pinball games isn't their gameplay -- it's their theme, their lights, their sounds, and so on. Different pinball games are worth playing not because of gameplay mechanic differences, but because of those other differences. On the other hand, different computer games are usually worth playing because of their different gameplay experiences. Pinball "games" aren't even really games at all, because whether you win or lose is up to chance, not skill.

    Also, I'm not sure we want the independent games industry to end up like the pinball games industry. It's basically a dead industry now. So if that's the best example of an industry that was "successful" despite cloning, it's not a very good example.
     
  5. luggage

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    You could say the exact same thing about the different sub genres in the casual market. To me, it looks like the average consumer plays these clones not for the game mechanic differences but to experience the different 'themes, lights, sounds'.
     
  6. RinkuHero

    RinkuHero New Member

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    Probably some of them. I don't think most, though. It'd be interesting to see some numbers on this, on whether someone who buys a clone of a game also bought the original or other clones. I can't imagine someone buying more than 1 Zuma-type game or more than 1 Bejeweled-type game, but it's possible that people do.
     
  7. papillon

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    Of course they do. They finish one game, enjoy it, and want more. And since there probably isn't a sequel yet, they look for something else in the genre.

    I wonder if anyone has enough data to judge how MANY entries into a genre a single person will generally buy if they buy more than one...
     
  8. DangerCode

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    Could we please see some concrete examples of this?
     
  9. RinkuHero

    RinkuHero New Member

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    Something else in the genre, yes, but I mean clones -- as I said above, I think there's a difference between being in the same genre and a clone. I bought both Fallout and Planescape: Torment, but if I have Pac Man, would I also buy Munch Man?
     
  10. Ola

    Ola
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    Yeah, Pinballs is a good example of a reskin / clone industry.

    Pinball machines still look the same as when I was a child. Just different themes and layouts. I think it's fun for 10 minutes or so, if you don't play it to often.

    If we study it. Isn't it a good example of how virtually nothing happens in 50 years if everyone just reskin and clone?

    What have happened if the first one got their pinball design protected. Wouldn't it force others to be innovative and move in other directions. So instead of just pinballs, we would have lots of other fun and different machines to play with?
     
  11. luggage

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Wow. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you appear to be arguing that protecting designs would actually mean more innovation?
     
  12. RinkuHero

    RinkuHero New Member

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    Of course it would. Why wouldn't it? It's countries that don't protect copyright that well (like Russia and China) that tend to have the least innovation.
     
  13. DangerCode

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    Okay, now I'm confused ...

    (emphesis is mine)

    I just took a very quick look at Arcade Lab. I have nothing against any of the titles offered there by they appear to me to be the same kind of titles that are allegedly hurting this industry. I see no less than 3 Breakout/Arkanoid-inspired games (some would call these clones) on the home page!

    Am I missing something?
     
  14. luggage

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Innovation most often takes place in small incremental steps it is why the copyright laws don't protect ideas. If you could protect an idea it would restrict innovation not encourage it.
     
  15. RinkuHero

    RinkuHero New Member

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    Not really. If a person knows that his innovations would be protected, he's more likely to innovate. What incentive do people have to innovate if they get no reward from it?
     
  16. papillon

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    ... actually I've been under the impression that there are a lot of very innovative Russian developers out there because they can afford to take more risks with the lower overhead costs... and China has its own issues.

    Yeah, but what I was trying to say is that same genre / clone is often a point of debate. Fairies and Chuzzles were the games we used to fight about a lot here, over whether it was a clone or a genre companion, but I believe you already said you haven't played either. :)

    My guess would be that if you *seriously* had exactly the same game with a reskin, people wouldn't be that interested if they'd already played the original. Playing Mario doesn't mean I want to play the exact same game, every level layout intact, with different sprites. That'd be boring - I just did that! However, a game with the same mechanics as mario but different levels? I might indeed want to play after I finished playing Mario. That's "more in the same style" rather than "the same game all over again".

    I've played lots of Zuma-style games and they didn't feel exactly like playing Zuma.
     
  17. papillon

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    The same one most of us do now, where we know we can't afford the legal fees and hassle of actually filing for patents?* :) You know your gameplay isn't patented. Did that prevent you from making your game, and from wanting to do something interesting and new with it?

    * - not that I think patents should be applied to games. but even in the case of physical invention where patent is clearly meant to come into play, I believe the process of getting a patent is complex and expensive and generally out of the reach of most individuals. I could be wrong, I've never tried.
     
  18. RinkuHero

    RinkuHero New Member

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    I meant innovation in Russia and China as a whole, not just innovation in game design. Russian game developers or any game developer for that matter can be innovative because their games would be protected in the markets they're aiming at.

    I should probably look those games up (Fairies and Chuzzles). I also want to try out a few Zuma games, because I had never played Zuma before it was mentioned in this thread, so I don't know how close its clones are to it; I can say it's very close to Puzz Loop however, and if I owned Puzz Loop I wouldn't buy Zuma because the only things that were changed were a few additional level layouts and 3 new power-ups.
     
  19. RinkuHero

    RinkuHero New Member

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    No, but I meant more general protection. If piracy wasn't illegal, I'd think twice about becoming a game designer.
     
  20. luggage

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Innovations are protected. That's what patent and copyright law is for.
     

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