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Zynga Accused of Cloning Hit Indie iPhone Game Tiny Tower

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the we-did-it-first dept.

Iphone 245

FrankPoole writes "Indie iPhone game developer Nimblebit is accusing social games giant Zynga of ripping off its popular mobile title Tiny Tower. Nimblebit's Ian Marsh got word out about the similarities between Dream Heights and Tiny Tower with an image that's still making the Twitter rounds. The image is made up of screenshots showing how Dream Heights' interface and gameplay mechanics appear strikingly similar to Tiny Tower's."

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marketing.. (5, Insightful)

ardiri (245358) | more than 2 years ago | (#38826769)

Nimblebit just got a tonne of marketing over this - who cares about the ripoff? marketing 101 => success!

Re:marketing.. (4, Insightful)

jones_supa (887896) | more than 2 years ago | (#38826987)

It's so often how these days the winner is the one who has the biggest muscle to shove the product down the people's throats.

Happens all the time. (0, Flamebait)

MickLinux (579158) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827089)

Let's see... when I was a kid in the days of Apple ][, these neighbors of ours (Stoltzfus family) came up with a graphical programming language.

They showed it to Apple, hoping that Apple would buy. Apple strongly considered it, and then returned it, saying that they weren't interested.

A year later, they came out with Apple Logo, which was immensely popular.

I'm not at all saying it is okay -- but it does happen.

Just to finish the story -- and to explain why I gave the family name, because it is a matter of public record -- about the time I was graduating from college, the same family came up with another killer app. This time, they marketed it themselves. The program was "Rosetta Stone".

No thanks to honest dealing by Apple, but eventually, they did okay.

Oh, by the way, I don't have a whole lot of sympathy for Apple on their complaints about being ripped off by Google. I'm all for justice, but I'm not all for piecemeal justice that is selectively good for some parties and not others.

Re:Happens all the time. (5, Informative)

teg (97890) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827117)

Let's see... when I was a kid in the days of Apple ][, these neighbors of ours (Stoltzfus family) came up with a graphical programming language.

They showed it to Apple, hoping that Apple would buy. Apple strongly considered it, and then returned it, saying that they weren't interested.

A year later, they came out with Apple Logo, which was immensely popular.

Logo was created in the 60s [wikipedia.org] , turtles and all. It was popular on other systems as well in the early 80s, so it doesn't really seem to me that they did anything wrong here?

Re:Happens all the time. (0, Troll)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827147)

Logo was created in the 60s [wikipedia.org] , turtles and all. It was popular on other systems as well in the early 80s, so it doesn't really seem to me that they did anything wrong here?

Please, don't let facts ruin an otherwise perfectly valid Apple bashing. Oh, they also stole all of Xerox's assets, didn't you know?

Re:Happens all the time. (5, Funny)

dietdew7 (1171613) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827443)

It's a well documented fact that while Steve Jobs was at Parc stealing the GUI for the Mac, he also stole an office chair, a box of copy paper and a red Swingline stapler.

Re:Happens all the time. (2)

gtall (79522) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827813)

He also stole a box of raisins.

Re:Happens all the time. (4, Interesting)

voss (52565) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827497)

Actually Apple did steal a lot of their ideas for the Mac from the Xerox Parc

"No, Steve, I think its more like we both have a rich neighbor named Xerox, and you broke in to steal the TV set, and you found out I'd been there first, and you said. "Hey that's no fair! I wanted to steal the TV set! - Bill Gates' response after Steve Jobs accused Microsoft of borrowing the GUI (Graphical User Interface) from Apple for Windows 1.0* "

http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa043099.htm [about.com]

Re:Happens all the time. (4, Informative)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827649)

Well, except for the fact that they didn't steal anything, you're right. Xerox gave it away. Willfully.

Re:Happens all the time. (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827981)

Hell, Apple paid for it with by allowing Xerox to buy a million buck of pre-IPO stock. The "Stolen" story is for morons.

Re:Happens all the time. (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827747)

That's a great source!

Do you ask the CEO of Ford whether that Toyota car you are thinking about getting is any good?

Re:Happens all the time. (5, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827923)

"Actually Apple did steal a lot of their ideas for the Mac from the Xerox Parc"

If, by "steal," you mean "bought and paid for with pre-IPO stock shares [vectronicsappleworld.com] ," you're right.

Re:Happens all the time. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38827181)

So either he showed them Logo and they ripped off "his" idea to implement an ancient LISP-based graphical programming language. Or he showed them something that wasn't Logo, and they decided to do Logo instead. Neither of these is particularly bad behaviour on Apple's part.

But it's not entirely tangential to the matter at hand. The idea of "doing a graphical programming language" is not protected, and nor should it be, just as the idea of "doing a Zynga-esque game about building towers" is not protected.

But design work is protected, which is why Apple has a case against Samsung (I presume you mean Samsung?)

Re:Happens all the time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38827299)

You've kept that, utter complete nonsense in your heart this entire time? Logo existed 20 years before the Apple II, why would they choose someones proprietary solution over a standard that, you know, people knew how to program in.

Re:Happens all the time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38827357)

HyperCard is dead

Re:marketing.. (4, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827371)

Yeah but it is kinda sad a guy can bust his ass making something unique only to have some scumbum company like Zynga bold face copy the thing. it looks like they only gave it a little graphical polish and called it a day, pretty obvious ripoff IMHO. hopefully the guy can get a good lawyer that will rip Zynga a new one.

Thompson and Ritchie (3, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827387)

Yeah but it is kinda sad a guy can bust his ass making something unique only to have some scumbum company like Zynga bold face copy the thing.

Likewise it's kinda sad that Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie can bust their asses making something unique only to have some scumbum company like FSF bold face copy the thing. Or are you trying to say cloning the functionality of a computer program is OK as long as the publisher of the clone is one of Slashdot's darling companies?

Re:Thompson and Ritchie (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827941)

Uhhh...are you stoned? Seriously...are you? Linux was an x86 version of MINIX not unix, they used some of the POSIX conventions but that's all, as SCO found out. And having similar functionality is NOT the same as copying all the levels of a program and just sticking a new picture on it, a better example would be me just copypasta-ing all the levels in BioShock and calling it BioSmack. This isn't "similar" its a level for level, page for page, feature for feature bold faced ripoff. And you CAN shut down blod faced ripoff you know, see Rolex crushing Romex watches or MSFT shutting down Lindows.

Re:marketing.. (1)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827547)

It's a shame, yet what's the alternative? Software patents or something similar that'd cover look and feel, or even game concerts. To go down that route would be like allowing authors to have a monopoly on the murder mystery in which the the ostensibly bumbling detective unmasks the criminal through a gradual process incessant badgering and questioning. Sure, if code or other copyrightable assets are being swiped, then yes, get the lawyers in. Other than that I see more problems created than would be solved by allowing a game concept and basic appearance to be protected. Let's be clear though, I have absolutely no love at all for Zynga. They're the "copy it, pile it high, and sell it cheap" of the gaming world.

Re:marketing.. (2)

Svippy (876087) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827027)

Nimblebit just got a tonne of marketing over this - who cares about the ripoff? marketing 101 => success!

Yes, but Zynga just gave it to them. People listen because it is a good story (David vs Goliath). Since the games are practically the same, users have a choice. And most are likely to go with the one by the people who (understandably) feel cheated. In essence, Zynga brought this upon themselves. All they could have hoped for would have been Nimblebit A) saying nothing or B) being complete dicks about it.

I am not saying Zynga is going to be losing any sleep over this, but they did hand over free marketing to Nimblebit. You may then wonder whether Zynga and Nimblebit are secretly working together to steer up more noise about the already popular game.

Re:marketing.. (0)

dadioflex (854298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827049)

The crossover between Facebook users playing Zynga games or Tiny Tower and Slashdot is, hopefully, fairly small. Similarly, 99% of potential users will never read this story, anywhere. (Full disclosure - I did briefly play Tiny Tower on iOS but I didn't inhale and spent less than twenty bucks on it... I'll get my coat...)

Re:marketing?! (4, Insightful)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827071)

Can we pair stories and see what happens?

X stories down we just had "Your photo infringes on his photo because it contained similar design elements". Now we have "Zynga accused of infringing on Nimblebit's version because it contains similar design bits"? Yet our reactions are *different*?

Why aren't that first photographer happy that the second one "handed over free marketing"?

I think we just stumbled on a new flaw in copyright besides the other famous ones: That there are *different classes* of works, but only one copyight law! So we have the same law handling Red Buses In Photos and Nimblebit Games and Twilight Movies. So the judges are handing down rulings that almost make sense for one class of works, and lead to frightening results in the other classes, with lawyers eating it all for dinner.

Re:marketing?! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38827215)

The reaction is about the big 500lb gorilla of mobile gaming copying the little indie's idea, not necessarily about the copying of ideas in general. I think most people here would say in an ideal world ideas shouldn't be copyrightable and whoever comes up with the best implementation deserves our money. However, in the world we live in these things are copyrightable and the injustice that the bullies of the industry get away with copying yet come down hard on those who copy them is what provokes the reaction.

Methods of operation (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827527)

Methods of operation are explicitly not copyrightable in my country (17 USC 102(b)). I'd assume that game play mechanics are methods of the game's operation. Nor are any graphical elements that necessarily follow from the method of operation, per the merger doctrine [wikipedia.org] .

Re:marketing?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38827269)

No, I think you've discovered a flaw in the slashdot groupthink. THis is software, after all, there are, supposedly, completely different rules when it comes to software, because as a rule, that's what we're into, and it should therefore have different rules that suit us better. Nevermind that for the most part we don;t quite understand art or creative works, or how design and media like games can qualify as creative works.

Re:marketing?! (1)

ildon (413912) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827691)

One is about the government passing judgement on the issue. One is just about a dick company continuing to be a dick.

Re:marketing.. (1)

Johann Lau (1040920) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827157)

right. while zynga would have no reason to rip off, since there is no money in that.

Re:marketing.. (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827735)

I believe Tiny Tower was the #1 official iPhone game of 2011. I don't really know that they needed the marketing. What they need is to take Zynga to court. And what needs to happen to Zynga is that they need to be held accountable, rather than being treated like valley innovators and having dinners at the whitehouse.

Game rules do not underlie copyright (5, Informative)

Kirth (183) | more than 2 years ago | (#38826781)

Re:Game rules do not underlie copyright (5, Insightful)

Lumpio- (986581) | more than 2 years ago | (#38826821)

Perhaps not, but then again nobody is suing them either. This is more about moral rules than the law.

Re:Game rules do not underlie copyright (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38826947)

Moral rules and business ? Contradiction in terms.

Re:Game rules do not underlie copyright (0, Flamebait)

Pecisk (688001) | more than 2 years ago | (#38826951)

Moral rules? Really? For small video games which are made to waste their time and enrich their creators, while giving almost nothing for society in general?

Ideas will get copied. Ideas should be allowed to get copied. That's whole idea of the culture is. There's nothing moral or ambigous about it.

Re:Game rules do not underlie copyright (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38826993)

Don't be a douchebag. Just because you see something as inherently worthless, doesn't mean others do.

I suppose you work for UNESCO or something.

Re:Game rules do not underlie copyright (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38827073)

The point isn't that games, art or music is worthless, but that the worth is the cultural importance which builds only through inspiration. We wouldn't be talking about the internet age today if there was only one website in the world that allowed people to communicate with each other because noone else was allowed to copy that idea, we wouldn't have a gaming industry if the cathode ray tube amusement device was _the_ end all interactive game. If you could completely ban the spreading of ideas then they would become worthless.

Nimblebit is just a bunch of whimps who are whining about others from being inspired because they are afraid Zynga will do it better then them. They themselves also took inspiration from others, and just like everyone else in the business they will go to their grave claiming that their copying was inspiration and a compliment to those they copied while anyone who copies them is a gutless thief who should burn in hell for trying to destroy the gaming industry.

Re:Game rules do not underlie copyright (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827247)

I'm with you that ideas should be free, I do wonder what would happen if Nimblebit started copying Zynga games from now on though. I suspect we might see some hypocrisy in Zynga's response, but I'd be happy for Zynga to prove me wrong and put out a statement that this is fine in their opinion.

Re:Game rules do not underlie copyright (2)

sohmc (595388) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827319)

I highly doubt it. A large majority, if not all, games that Zynga has are copies/clones/remixes of existing games. Zynga just has a better marketing department and a bigger advertising budget.

Re:Game rules do not underlie copyright (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38827377)

Actually, I happen agree with you on that. I just get sick of people using the argument that "none of this matters because it's only a computer game", as if computer games are somehow less worthy of protection because they don't "matter". Hence my crack about UNESCO - very few of us have jobs that "matter", if you're the kind of person who likes to make judgements about the worth of people's output.

So, yes, the point I was picking up on *was* that games are supposedly worthless. And although I agree with what you said here, it doesn't alter that fact :)

Re:Game rules do not underlie copyright (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38827033)

Can I have some of your money? I promise that I will enrich society for you.

Based on your prior posts it sounds like you would prefer that society shares wealth, so if that is something you believe why not give me some?

Hypocrite.

Re:Game rules do not underlie copyright (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827569)

Based on your prior posts it sounds like you would prefer that society shares wealth, so if that is something you believe why not give me some?

Because you haven't yet proven that you are likely to share it on sound principles.

Re:Game rules do not underlie copyright (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38827895)

Because you haven't yet proven that you are likely to share it on sound principles.

And there you go, that is one of the fundamental difference between those who believe society should redistribute wealth and those who believe that amorphous "market forces" should shape who is rewarded.

Who will determine what sufficient "proof" is, or the "sound principals" that you mention?

In the society that you seem to prefer, success would be determined by those able to market their ideas best to the person or persons who determine "proof" or "sound principals".

A society that rations resources through individuals or committees which require "proof" and "sound principals" is far more likely to fall into the trap of individuals who "know best" directing individual or group behavior. Notwithstanding the beliefs of many people on slashdot, I do not see how imposing a structure like this on society would change anything that already exists.

Re:Game rules do not underlie copyright (4, Informative)

DrXym (126579) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827031)

Perhaps not, but then again nobody is suing them either. This is more about moral rules than the law.

Zynga has no morals.

GNU/Cloning (5, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827039)

This is more about moral rules than the law.

So should Linus Torvalds and the GNU project "morally" not have cloned UNIX when making GNU/Linux?

Re:GNU/Cloning (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38827189)

No, they should have, because they did morally copy it and then gave it away for all of us to share and benefit. This is not what Zynga is doing. Zynga does not care about the community and society, they only care about their own coffers.

Re:GNU/Cloning (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38827235)

Torvalds didn't clone UNIX, he cloned Minix.

And MINIX in turn is a clone of... (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827369)

What did Andrew S. Tanenbaum clone? From the <meta name="description"> front page of the MINIX web site [minix3.org] : "MINIX 3 is a new UNIX clone".

Re:Game rules do not underlie copyright (0)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827227)

No, this is about righteous indignation. If this was a little company remaking a program sold by a big company, everybody here would be supporting it.

Re:Game rules do not underlie copyright (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38826839)

But the game is software, surely they can patent this!

Re:Game rules do not underlie copyright (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38827081)

No, but they likely have a 'look and feel' claim. The game rules are identical, the stats are identical, the interface is identical... looks like the only change is graphics.

Re:Game rules do not underlie copyright (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827585)

they likely have a 'look and feel' claim

Which would likely be quashed by Lotus v. Borland among other case law. Game rules and other methods of operation aren't copyrightable (17 USC 102(b)), and any aspect of look and feel that follows directly from an uncopyrightable idea is likewise not copyrightable.

So what? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38826785)

Making similar games is perfectly fine. If the basic idea is good, why not have multiple games implement it? Nobody is claiming that every single shooter is a Doom ripoff or that every single strategy game is a Dune ripoff.
Ideas have to be free so they can be used by everyone for everyones benefit.

Re:So what? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38826851)

Making similar games is perfectly fine. If the basic idea is good, why not have multiple games implement it? Nobody is claiming that every single shooter is a Doom ripoff or that every single strategy game is a Dune ripoff.
Ideas have to be free so they can be used by everyone for everyones benefit.

but u can't jump in Doom ][. there are differences outside of graphics in various fps. (shooters are usually the scrolling kind, with planes)

Zynga's game is, other than graphics, a direct port down to almost every detail, with a few renames like from food -> cuisine.

you people would cry rape if it was a Chinese company instead of Zynga. yes, you people.

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38827059)

you people would cry rape if it was a Chinese company instead of Zynga. yes, you people.

yeah all us ACs

Re:So what? (5, Interesting)

MDillenbeck (1739920) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827099)

This may be a good time to use the low-tech equivalent to check the validity of the arguments. I don't know anything about the two apps in question, but ask yourself this: at what point would a variant of the board game Monopoly be different enough to ensure Parker Brothers couldn't sue you? Would be keeping the same rules, same basic board layout, and same "props" (player tokens, money, property cards, dice, and two decks of event cards) while changing the color, name, and art style of those keep you from being sues? For example, could I make the tokens space ships, the properties different star systems, the money "space credits" that use plastic coins instead of paper bills, and use public domain images of the star systems and call is "Stellar Baron" and not get sued?

Now back to the user interface. If this was the user interface of an operating system, would the original OS UI maker have a court case? What if it was a general application interface? What about making a knock-off of Farmville in the same manner... or replicating its mechanics with a new graphical interface and naming convention - would the developer of the game get sued, and would it be successful?

Finally, if there is a lawyer in the house, what court cases have set precedent in these areas? Honestly, I do not know the answer to these as law is not my field of study. However, I do know I need to know the history of how courts have ruled before I can say whether this is a legal violation or not. (My personal bias: I believe large companies have successfully sued, while small independent game developers of boardgames often have not - but this is based only on a one week investigation into the board game developer career.)

Re:So what? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38827329)

That's okay.. FarmVille was on of Zynga's first "rip off" games.. nearly identical in looks, game play, etc as FarmTown (if I'm remembering the name correctly).

It was close enough in play and appearance (as in almost looked like a direct copy) that it was a closer match copy wise than any of the banned/pulled/sued monopoly/scrabble/etc clones

Re:So what? (2)

ehlo (578765) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827491)

I couldn't find a case concerning Monopoly in general but here is one by Hasbro on copyright infringement for Play-Doh that is good law (precedent), on which the facts seem similar enough to apply.

Status: Positive or Neutral Judicial Treatment Positive or Neutral Judicial Treatment
*474 Hasbro Inc, Hasbro SA and Hasbro UK Ltd v 123 Nahrmittel GmbH and Marketing & Promotional Services Ltd

High Court of Justice, Chancery Division (England and Wales)

11 February 2011
[2011] EWHC 199 (Ch)
[2011] E.T.M.R. 25

Floyd J. :

February 11, 2011

Confusion; Declarations of invalidity; Descriptive names; Honest practices; Infringement; Passing off; Revocation; Trade marks

H1 Community and national trade marks—PLAY-DOH (Classes 16, 25, 28—toys and modelling compositions)—Use by competitor of strap line “The edible play dough”—Action for trade mark infringement and passing off—Counterclaim for declaration of invalidity and revocation—Mark held validly registered—Counterclaims rejected—Infringement found—Whether defence of honest commercial use—Defence dismissed.

H2 The claimant companies, which made and sold among other products a children’s pre-mixed modelling composition, marketed that product under the trade mark PLAY-DOH for which the first claimant was the registered proprietor of one Community trade mark in Classes 16, 25 and 28 and two United Kingdom trade marks, dating back to 1970 and 1986 respectively, for goods in Class 16. The first defendant manufactured abroad, and sold in the United Kingdom, a powdered dough mix under the name YUMMY DOUGH. The YUMMY DOUGH product was promoted in the United Kingdom as “The edible play dough”, these words being printed in a single strap line across the bottom of the packet (illustrated in the judgment). In addition to the strap line, the words “PLAY DOUGH MIX” appeared in the top left-hand corner of the YUMMY DOUGH packet and the words “COLOURED EDIBLE PLAY DOUGH MIX” appeared in a smaller type size than that of the strap line on the side of the packet.

H3 Alleging that the defendants’ importation and sale of its YUMMY DOUGH in packaging that alluded to their own PLAY-DOH trade mark constituted an infringement of the rights in their mark, the claimants commenced infringement proceedings against the defendant. Following an application for interim injunctive relief a consent order was made in which each of the defendants gave temporary undertakings “not to undertake any material re-brand prior to judgment or further order in this action ”. The undertakings were very wide and, if they were to be made permanent at trial, their effect would be to freeze the defendants’ marketing of YUMMY DOUGH within very tight constraints in perpetuity. *475

H4 At trial, the claimants’ case rested on two separate bases: (i) infringement of each of their registered trade marks; (ii) passing off, this claim being based on the goodwill which the claimants maintained that they had acquired through use of the PLAY-DOH mark in the United Kingdom. The defendants counterclaimed for: (i) a declaration that the claimants’ registered trade marks had been invalidly registered because they lacked distinctiveness or were descriptive, and (ii) revocation of the claimants’ registered trade marks on the basis that the words “play dough” had become a common term in the trade for the products in question or on account of the claimants’ inactivity. The defendants also raised a defence to the action for trade mark infringement that their use of the signs complained of was an indication of the kind of goods they sold and that such use was in accordance with honest practices in industrial commercial matters under art.6 of the Trade Mark Directive .

H5 Held , by the High Court, that the claimants’ trade marks were valid and that they had been infringed.

Copyright != trademark (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827603)

one by Hasbro on copyright infringement [...] "The YUMMY DOUGH product was promoted in the United Kingdom as 'The edible play dough'"

I don't see copyright infringement there, just trademark infringement, despite that the two have been conflated of late into "intellectual property" [pineight.com] .

Re:So what? (1)

Rolgar (556636) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827647)

Aren't all RTS games alike? Aren't all FPS games alike? Aren't all boardgames alike? Similarity is just a matter of degree.

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38827447)

Actually every shooter is basically a Doom ripoff... at least to these eyes.

Re:So what? (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827751)

This isn't a mere issue of "we made a game in the same genre!" or "we evolved the idea sufficiently enough to be different". This is an issue of saying "we took The Office and changed Michael's name and called it The Workplace".

Too bad Nimblebit is hypocritical (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38826787)

http://i.imgur.com/ajaYt.jpg

Re:Too bad Nimblebit is hypocritical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38826869)

OMFG this is like so 26 miniutes agoooo..

Re:Too bad Nimblebit is hypocritical (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38826893)

drumscowski admits within that he hasn't even played tiny tower - if he had he'd realise it's not a vague 'influence' that nimblebit is pissed off about - such as he took from similar games - it's essentially a direct clone with a new skin on top of it.

Re:Too bad Nimblebit is hypocritical (4, Informative)

grumbel (592662) | more than 2 years ago | (#38826977)

Don't make a judgment until you have actually played all the games. I haven't, but at least from what one can read on the Internet from people who have: SimTown plays quite different, TinyTower and Zyngas game almost identical and it's not like this is the first time Zynga has done something like this, see FarmTown vs FarmVille.

Re:Too bad Nimblebit is hypocritical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38826985)

+5 informative, really?

It isn't about "similarities" between the 2 games, it is that their game is an absolute direct rip-off of his game with a different skin, basically.

And before people start, no, I am not one of those people who say that games such as the ones that came after Minecraft became popular are "all clones".
Minecraft is a pretty piss-poor voxel world in fact, inefficient as hell and has been loaded with modcode that they never even bothered to test much. (McRegion for one absolutely destroyed Minecraft from being playable on netbooks)
They just made other developers realize that, yes, voxel worlds can work for a game fairly well now.

Perhaps you also missed the part where Zynga tried to acquire the guys BEFORE THEY RIPPED HIS GAME OFF.
So, it is either join us or be destroyed.
No, just fucking no. Fuck Zynga and fuck anyone who supports them in this. Even jokingly. That company needs to be wiped out by some violent fire or flooding incident, or just a really bad electrical storm. They are a plague on the industry.

Re:Too bad Nimblebit is hypocritical (1)

dr_blurb (676176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827767)

Crush the Castle is great, I've always liked it much better than Angry Birds.

(what are their numbers compared to Angry Birds?)

immoral but probably not illegal (1)

tebee (1280900) | more than 2 years ago | (#38826811)

OK it does look like they cloned the game but you can't copyright the ideas behind a game only the artwork and the like. Though there are people who would like to extend copyright in this way and are to a certain extant succeeding.

See the thread a few hours ago on Similar, but not copied, image found to breach copyright.

Sim Tower (5, Informative)

Voxol (32200) | more than 2 years ago | (#38826825)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SimTower

Or as they say, 'everything is a remix'.

Re:Sim Tower (5, Informative)

duk242 (1412949) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827015)

I found TinyTower whilst looking for something similar to SimTower for my iPhone. It's quite obvious that TinyTower is inspired by SimTower, however it's not really all that much like what SimTower was. Zynga's version however is a direct copy of everything from TinyTower.

Re:Sim Tower (4, Informative)

MachineShedFred (621896) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827201)

I've played both SimTower and Tiny Tower. They can only be described as a "remix" if you go to a high enough level that all you can see is that both games have commercial tower construction involved.

In Tiny Tower, you manage all of the people in the building, as well as what each floor is doing - what the stores stock, who works where, who lives where, etc.

In SimTower, you just put in the "zoned" space, and people move in and pay you rent. You manage the building from a facilities perspective, screwing about with elevator timings and where the box stays in the shaft when no one's in it. You manage traffic flow within your building so you don't end up with pissed off people that just want to get out of your building at the end of the day.

They are quite different games. In fact, after finding Tiny Tower, it inspired me to fire up DOSBox with Windows 3.1 and play some SimTower.

What? (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38826833)

Sorry but "that" screenshot just destroys their case for them. The Zynga version has more options, extremely different options, totally different graphics, different UI, everything.

I don't think they have a case here, and it's NOT like their game was new and building a genre of its own (I hereby give you SimTower / Yoot Tower, which lets you upgrade elevators and put shops on the floors too - from fecking 1994).

You expect me to get all riled about Zygna ripping off your game, but actually I'm more riled that you *THINK* they are ripping off something that you *THINK* is somehow *your* game. They're not, and it isn't.

Re:What? (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38826843)

I remember simtower and the condo bug. If you pause a game, find an unsold condo, drop the price as low as you can, raise it back up again and unpause, it'll immediatly sell for full price. A way to cheat your way out of the dreaded Condo Price Crash.

Re:What? (1)

BeardedChimp (1416531) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827821)

I remember something similar for championship manager. Another team would approach you to buy your player at some low price you have set. You clicked "I will consider it", then went onto the players options and set their sell price to 50 million. A few minutes later they would ask again to buy even at the inflated price. Fun times.

Re:What? (1)

duk242 (1412949) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827029)

I'm assuming you're trolling. TinyTower may be inspired by SimTower, but it's not as if it's a complete copy of the game (SimTower for example you didn't manage anything to do with the people, you handled the tower, they handled themselves). Zynga's tower is a complete ripoff of TinyTower, even down to the 'tiny' details.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38827091)

Oh boohoo. If they have a case, they should sue. Either way I don't have much sympathy for someone who just rehashes old ideas and then has the audacity to pretend that they are so innovative.

Re:What? (1)

jonnythan (79727) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827477)

What different options? I've played Tiny Tower, and looking at the Dream Heights screenshots is like looking at Tiny Tower with different graphics. All the gameplay elements are 100% identical. I see absolutely nothing whatsoever in Dream Heights that isn't in Tiny Tower.

KBlocks (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827617)

All the gameplay elements are 100% identical.

But would you agree that gameplay elements are the "methods of operation" of a game?

I see absolutely nothing whatsoever in Dream Heights that isn't in Tiny Tower.

And I see nothing in Free games like KBlocks [kde.org] that isn't in Tetris.

Intellectual property laws in action (5, Insightful)

slasho81 (455509) | more than 2 years ago | (#38826929)

If you copy a big company, the big company will sue you out of existence.

If you copy a small company, the small company will complain so hard you better watch out!

Re:Intellectual property laws in action (1)

ub3r n3u7r4l1st (1388939) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827105)

Unless the one being sued is in China where free software (as in free beer) are flourishing everywhere.

And they all rip off SimTower (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38826949)

Get over yourself. You're all just trying to make a quick buck doing the same stuff all over again on a new platform. Also, careful with the sarcastic messages to the future defendant. Why exactly aren't you already suing Zynga? No case? No guts?

Re:And they all rip off SimTower (1)

Riceballsan (816702) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827367)

In general a small development house cannot successfully sue a multi million dollar company, whether the case is valid or not is irrelevant as multi-million dollar lawyers will pretty much tweak any law to permit just about anything.

Scumbag company (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38826983)

Steals someone elses game... Color me SHOCKED!

Too bad you're not a media mafia member. You could use the police, feds, and judges to raid zynga and shut them down for infringment.

And they all rip off SimTower (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38827011)

Get over yourself. You're all just trying to make a quick buck doing the same stuff all over again on a new platform. Also, careful with the sarcastic messages to the future defendant. Why exactly aren't you already suing Zynga? No case? No guts?

and this on a platform... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38827087)

where the most popular game is a clone of a years old flash game

Sun came up in the East today, too.... (1)

sjpadbury (169729) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827139)

Zynga? Copy someone else's Game?

I'm Shocked! Shocked, I say!

This neatly ties into the copied photo composition (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827141)

Just a few stories below is the story about a judge claiming that a similar composition is copyright infringement, while clearly insane, how would this ruling apply to these two games? Well BOTH are first and foremost SimTower ripoffs. And that just asumes that SimTower was not based on something else.

Every idea is based on another idea. Where do you stop with copyright infringement when somebody copies an idea? Where would /. be if the idea of a forum was granted copyright?

As bad as it may be to swallow, for a large part this is just life and we got to accept it. If I open a bakery with real bread in the US, I just got to accept that then anyone from the EU can do the same and start selling real food in the US (I been to the US, god knows there is a market for it).

Re:This neatly ties into the copied photo composit (1)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827679)

Tiny Tower, while inspired by SimTower, definitely expands upon SimTower by adding in people management. SimTower was strictly a tower building sim. If Dream Height is identical to Tiny Tower in features and UI with the only difference being a difference in graphics this would be very much like the photo case from earlier. The question is whether the different graphics is sufficient enough to make it a true derivative work rather than creating a clone of the original work or basically does it satisfy the originality requirement.

SimTower (3, Insightful)

rbpOne (2184720) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827149)

Both games pretty much look like SimTower to me.

Not the first time for Zynga (4, Informative)

tnerb123 (609955) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827193)

They have been ripping off other games forever! Farmville was a rip off of FarmTown. Mafia wars was a rip off of MobWars! This company is only a copy cat company that can not create its own games!

It is obvious (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827233)

..that the Zynga game is more polished, with better graphical presentation. Maybe they had more drones to work on it.

Many games boast similar ideas and the original game looks so like Theme xxxxxxx or Sim xxxxxx played on a PC, they can hardly claim originality.

In Related Old News: Zynga Sues Vostu for Cloning (3, Interesting)

famazza (398147) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827245)

I remember very well. In the remote year of 2011 [techcrunch.com] Zynga [wikipedia.org] was accusing Vostu [wikipedia.org] of cloning some of their game.

Also in 2009 [techcrunch.com] Zynga was sued for Copyright infringement, this time the settlement was filled by Psycho Monkey, due to the game Mafia Wars.

It seems that there is something very supicious happening with Zynga.

Re:In Related Old News: Zynga Sues Vostu for Cloni (2)

goose-incarnated (1145029) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827363)

It seems that there is something very supicious happening with Zynga.

Well? Spit it out then - your post gives very little indication of what it is you actually suspect.

MAXIS is going to be pissed (1)

skine (1524819) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827249)

When they hear about this.

Re:MAXIS is going to be pissed (0)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827875)

When they hear about this.

Not a problem, we are all just pawns in Will Wright's new title, "Sim Everything". He pushed the "copycat" slider all the way up to make Zynga do that. Totally expected result, why else would the "copycat" slider be there anyway? Just watch out, if he ever takes a break from his game everyone is going to start peeing on the floor.

News? (1)

flimflammer (956759) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827253)

This is pretty much business as usual for Zynga.

so whos the one witb this game for android? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38827381)

If nimblebits is worried about the zynga deal, why aren't they worries about http://www.mobage.com/mobile? Unless that's partner or something, because they have a game tiny tower with identical looks and from what I've read identical game play minus one or two very minor missing options found on the iPhone version

Re:so whos the one witb this game for android? (1)

nanoflower (1077145) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827517)

They aren't worried about Mobage because that game IS Tiny Tower. As it says on the web page https://market.android.com/details?id=com.mobage.ww.a560.tinytower_android [android.com] "The #1 iPhone Game Tiny Tower comes to Android for the 1st Time" so there must be some sort of licensing between the two companies. Zynga could have taken that approach after the company decided not to be purchased but instead of working out some sort of licensing that would have benefited both companies they decided it would be cheaper to copy the game. I'm sure there are some differences (that's natural unless two people are forced to build the same product) but those two games look almost exactly the same. Far too close for it to be anything other than an intentional copy.

Fair Game (1)

derek5432 (1604895) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827479)

I had a lot less sympathy for nimblebits when I read the part about how Zynga tried to buy them first.

Marsh also said on Twitter that Zynga "did try to go the honest route and try to acquire us first."

I'm an indie game developer, and if a giant like Zynga approached me wanting to buy my company or the rights to the game, I could either:

1) Take the pile of cash, then go start another company.

2) Refuse. After all, the game is my baby, right?

If I took route #2, I should not at all be surprised if the megacorp then decided to clone my game. In fact, I'd be surprised if they didn't. Zynga certainly seems like a seedy company, but in this case it looks like they deserve some kudos for actually approaching the devs before cloning the game.

So? (1)

Digital Vomit (891734) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827543)

So what if one company's software got "ripped off" by another company? That's a good thing; it promotes competition between the two companies to create a better version of the game.

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38827827)

If everyone did this then nobody would develop in he first place if they knew they were just going to be ripped off. What you do is you create a better game to steal the customers from the other company.

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