Games inform each other. Creators borrow mechanics, iterate, and create new titles based on old experiences all the time. This is accepted, organic behavior. Some titles push it up to 11, though, and take so much from their inspirations that words like rip and steal better describe the endeavor. We saw this earlier this year from Capcom. Now, there’s a newer game on the horizon called Tobor [99¢] that’s ruffling feathers for taking too much from Super Meat Boy, a side-scrolling 2D platformer lauded for its wicked mechanics and play.
You’ve heard this story before, but how often do you see a non-boilerplate response? One part of Team Meat, Edmund McMillen, recently chatted with Destructoid about Tobor and its similarities. He feels the opposite of what you’d assume: conflicted, as opposed to super ticked off.
“On one side, I feel really flattered. On the other, I don’t really care,” McMillen said.
“[Tobor's creator] admits he was inspired by Super Meat Boy, but doesn't feel he's copying it, so at the very least I take that as someone was inspired to get into game dev because of SMB, and that's awesome. We all start by emulating things we love, so I take it as a big complement.”
“SMB is ‘a serious clone of Super Mario Brothers’ in many people's eyes. Granted, I believe it goes the extra mile to make itself what it is... this game seems simple enough to feel harmless to me. I mean, if I found out these guys were my age and had done tons of apps before then I might care a bit more, but probably not much.”
McMillen goes on to say that the App Store is an environment clotted with knock-offs, and notes that some knock-offs even have knock-offs due to their popularity. He believes there isn’t a game on the service that doesn’t have a clone. The system just doesn’t care. Instead, it rewards.
Man, that’s a bummer note to end on. Let’s all go to a party store, grab some hats and kazoos and meet back here in an hour. OK?