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?

[Via Destructoid]

  • Anonymous

    SMB devs are douchebags anyways. Just the way they handled their dumb prank of an app (it was called shits and giggles I think) is enough for me to boycott anything they made. Only problem is that there isnt really anything from these idiots to boycott. Wish they had more crap out there to boycott :P

    • Anonymous

      Too true. Nothing but excuses and petty morals from those guys. They've had one success and now they think they're gaming royalty. Everything they say these days just makes them sound arrogant. I hope this clone plays really well, just to shove Team Meat's theory that it couldn't be done right up their lazy asses.

      • Anonymous

        They have a right to be arrogant. They released one of the tightest controlling and critically acclaimed  games of last year.

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        Yeah, Super Meat Boy really is incredible. For what it's worth, I thought their Tiger handheld iOS game was pretty clever too.

      • Scott Lembcke

        Um what? McMillen has made and worked on a number of popular indie games. Perhaps you've heard of Gish or Braid? I'm also confused why you are bashing him for not being upset that somebody cloned his game...

        In the past I remember him being somewhat grumpy about Gish clones, but I guess he has learned to deal with it. Cloners, like pirates are just something you have to deal with and you can't really stop them. Heck, depending on how it's done, it's not even illegal. Furthermore, one of the old Mario games I have for my gameboy has sawblades and wall jumping... I suspect that the shared SMB contraction for both was not a coincidence.

        What McMillen made with Super Meat Boy was a very well polished experience, but unlike Gish at least he can't claim that it was entirely original. Much like Notch/Minecraft, he can't really get too upset when people clone their clone.

    • Jim

      Zits & Giggles. Were you lucky enough to get it for $400?

      • Anonymous

        Almost. Had exactly 399 in my itunes account and hit the buy button. Forgot about the taxes and by the time I bought another gift card to buy this gem, it was already gone :(

      • Anonymous

        Almost. Had exactly 399 in my itunes account and hit the buy button. Forgot about the taxes and by the time I bought another gift card to buy this gem, it was already gone :(

      • Anonymous

        Almost. Had exactly 399 in my itunes account and hit the buy button. Forgot about the taxes and by the time I bought another gift card to buy this gem, it was already gone :(

      • Anonymous

        Almost. Had exactly 399 in my itunes account and hit the buy button. Forgot about the taxes and by the time I bought another gift card to buy this gem, it was already gone :(

      • Anonymous

        Almost. Had exactly 399 in my itunes account and hit the buy button. Forgot about the taxes and by the time I bought another gift card to buy this gem, it was already gone :(

      • Anonymous

        Almost. Had exactly 399 in my itunes account and hit the buy button. Forgot about the taxes and by the time I bought another gift card to buy this gem, it was already gone :(

    • Jim

      Zits & Giggles. Were you lucky enough to get it for $400?

  • Aruki

    +1 to McMillen!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/OoOoOomonkey John Usher

    Pretty much everything these days has another game it can be compared to so there's no point in getting angry just because someone copied the style of your game. I think there right by taking it as a compliment.

  • Decoy Octopus

    Who cares. Both these games suck anyways.

  • HisDivineOrder

    Where's Super Meat Boy for iOS?  Also, arguing SMB is copied when using those initials shows you SMB's inspiration is a little... odd, but in their defense Team Meat is open about that and the creators of Tobor seem to be as open about their inspiration, too.

  • Anonymous

    "Either way, ripping games off seems to be the App Store's thing these days, anyway. It would be hard to put the blame on the product of Apple's lack of control over its own service. If Angry Birds can totally rip off Crush the Castle and make millions, and then be ripped off by countless clones, without Apple blinking an eye, then why should anyone out there feel like it's wrong to rip off any game ideas? I actually believe there is a clone of everything on that service..."

    Blaming apple for clones in appstore? Always knew this guy was just another anti-apple troll!

  • Anonymous

    Is it an oversight that the first mention of the app‘s name doesn’t link to the App Store, or is this a journalistic slighting? Is it another ‘whoops’ that there’s no “App Store Link” at the footer of this story?

    Say what you will about this app, but these omissions remind me of Gruber’s comments on attribution and credit: http://df4.us/hwn.

    • Jim

      Tobor
      99¢http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tobor/id447788224?mt=8
      You're welcome, Brad.

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      Eep, this is my fault I usually edit in these things if they're missing when scheduling content for the day but today we're getting a new puppy-- Didn't realize the links were missing doing things quickly this morning! I'll add the links as soon as I get back home if someone doesn't do it sooner. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/apparent.symmetry App Symmetry

    damn, was really hoping for some good controls for this one... and they had to use tilt... TILT!?!?!?! The WORST possible control scheme for platformers... GRRRRR!!! Hope it's changed in an update... 

  • Brian Hobbs

    It's always a bit of a bummer to see games copied so closely and then see the success of those games, but it's certainly no shocker.  (That being said, I can't personally speak to how much this game rips off, or what kind of success it is receiving).  It is good that he looks on it with a positive light, though, because either way, it's inevitable.

    "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.  Is there anything of which one can say, “Look! This is something new”?  ...   For a person may labor with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then they must leave all they own to another who has not toiled for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune."

    Ecclesiastes 1:9; 2:21

    • http://twitter.com/rocketcatgames Rocketcat Games

      Man I really have to question the meaning of "new" if nothing new has been invented since 400 BC.

      • Brian Hobbs

        Yes, you should have seen Solomon's Meat Boy for the Stone Tablet.  A little slow, graphically speaking, but strikingly similar. 

      • http://twitter.com/rocketcatgames Rocketcat Games

        The Stone Tablet was a complete ripoff of caveman wall paintings, which in itself was a complete ripoff of our earliest pre-human ancestors getting sick and pooping in weird colors.

  • http://twitter.com/rocketcatgames Rocketcat Games

    "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."

    To be fair, the App Store isn't unique here, at all.  Maybe it's just a tad more blatant here?  Knock-offs being rewarded over innovation is just a general problem of the game industry, if not all creative industries.

    Mostly, I wish that there was more of a distinction between games that are, say, 50% clones of other games, and games that are 99.9% bootlegs of other games.  This would weed out some of the lamer, more pointless arguments like "UH GAME A IS 99% SIMILAR TO GAME B, BUT GAME B IS A RIPOFF TOO BECAUSE IT HAD A MAN THAT COULD RUN AND JUMP AND SO DID MARIO.  CHECKMATE!"

    • Anonymous

      SMB devs are just anti-apple trolls. Whatever he said makes no sense. Its the same for all mobile appstores (including android and Microsoft), PC and will be the same for Windows Appstore for Win8 (if.when it shows up). So why talk crap about just apple?  How the hell is this apple's fault?

      They just like to talk crap about apple coz it gets them some attention.. As great a dev they may be, they arent much more than attention whores IMO

      • Anonymous

        I’m going to have to disagree. Edmund McMillen‘s cohort Tommy Refenes made some good points in his rant at GDC last year. [http://youtu.be/ZsbwGFScEb4] I wouldn’t say that he’s anti-Apple, per se. Rather, he’s against shoehorning console games onto a touchscreen device. I agree completely. 

        There are many great games for iOS. In fact, he says as much at 4:27 of the aforementioned video: “There are some games that work very, very well on the App Store.” But none of them have virtual controls.

        There are a few *good* games with virtual controls. League of Evil comes immediately to mind, and I’m sure there are others. But these games are good in spite of their virtual controls, not because of them. Nobody can say with a straight face that these games wouldn’t play better on a device with buttons.

        So I can see why they’d pooh-pooh the App Store. The type of game that’s their bread and butter doesn’t work here. Instead of making a shitty port, they’ve chosen to skip using this hardware. It’s a wise choice. And if you’ll play any of these clones, you’ll see that he’s right.

        And finally, to be fair about their alleged Apple biases, they’re currently porting Super Meat Boy to the Mac. So far, they’ve only confirmed support for Steam, but I’d be shocked if it doesn’t also show up on the Mac App Store. Come back here in a month or two, it’ll probably be Game of the Week.

  • Nickervision

    Tobor is great fun and since SMB was not on the app store, what choice do we have if we want some mobile meat boy.  Also, I have pulled out my hair on this one, very tough game.

    • Anonymous

      This is better and free today http://itunes.apple.com/app/chocorun/id435292025?mt=8 

    • http://twitter.com/Inaba_kun Phil Baxter

      That's not how it works. Just because you can't afford a Rolex that doesn't mean it's fine to buy a cheap knock off from a street thug.

      Sometimes you can't have what you want. That's life. 

  • Bluecomb84

    Heck, I would think if anything this might confirm what they say about iOS not being a good platform for SMB. Or it could show them that this works well and possibly inspire them to actually port SMB to the iPod. He may not be angry because he wants to test the water without actually spending any money.

  • Mauricio Tanobrilho
    • http://twitter.com/dunkelg Alejandro Jimenez

      This other copy has just been greatly updated ;-)

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QdIZd1pn5I

      And I think it's a big deal we got it to work perfectly WITHOUT virtual controls, just one finger touch.

  • Anonymous

    Just noticed Tobor got pulled.

    Or maybe not "pulled", but it's not on the App Store anymore...