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Top 10 gaming rip-offs

24 Apr 2012

Knock-offs. Homages. Clones. Copycats. Rip-offs. Call them what you will, but it’s no great secret that developers have been riding on the coattails of proven success stories since the dawn of gaming. Here’s the top 10 most brazen rip-offs of classic games.

10. Zuma

Year: 2003
Ripped-off: Puzz Loop (1998)

We doubt PopCap would ever expect to be seen as the home of originality when it comes to game design, but the company sure does know how to take popular and common concepts and do them just right. Peggle redressed Pachinko for a new generation, Plants Vs. Zombies won at tower defense and, while slightly more leftfield, Zuma also took an existing concept and styled it up in its own little Aztec bubble. PopCap isn’t alone in having a go at the Puzz Loop formula, either – the likes of Luxor and Tumble Bugs read from much the same cue card as well.

Top 10 gaming rip-offs


9. Vexx

Year: 2003
Ripped-off: Super Mario 64 (1996)

Just like Street Fighter II and GTAIII, Super Mario 64’s launch made such a splash on the games market that the imitators were quick to jump on the bandwagon. Still, even years of dross like Croc and Bubsy 3D would not prepare us for Vexx, Acclaim’s hateful little feline thing turning up to the party seven years late and still falling short of even some of the worst copycats. Making your way to the top of a mountain to fight a sumo felt like playing a version of Whomp’s Fortress coded by a team that didn’t understand what made games fun and had no intention of learning. Probably because that’s exactly what it was.

Top 10 gaming rip-offs

8. Fighter’s History

Year: 1993
Ripped-off: Street Fighter II (1991)

It amazes us how many developers must have thought fighting games were easy after Street Fighter II took the world by storm. But the floodgates opened and the piss-poor clones cascaded forth, some sailing a little too close to Capcom’s fireball-lobbing flagship for comfort. Data East’s take on the one-on-one action incurred the wrath of Capcom by featuring overly familiar characters, moves, presentation and even stages, though the house of Street Fighter lost the ensuing court case on the grounds that the elements it suggested that Data East infringed upon were deemed generic, staple ingredients for such a game and as such not subject to copyright laws.

Top 10 gaming rip-offs

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