Some developers would rather copy and paste than create

Five games that copied their style from other games

Some developers would rather copy and paste than create
This article is over 8 years old and may contain outdated information

Imitation is said to be the highest form of flattery. Original games like The Last of Us and any one of the Metal Gear Solid games take hundreds of hours of story developing and world building before they see the light of day. Those developers are usually praised for their hard work. However, some try to take the easy way out.

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1) The X-Files: Resist or Serve

The X-Files is a one of the scariest shows around. All through the 90s and early 2000s when it was on, parents would make sure their kids were asleep before tuning in. It followed two FBI agents, Mulder and Scully, as they investigated the paranormal, abnormal, and all around weird. 

A video game tie-in would fit in perfectly, in theory, but Resist or Serve was just lazy. Everything about the game screamed Resident Evil clone. From the aiming to the tank controls and inventory system, Resist or Serve was a carbon copy of Resident Evil: Outbreak‘s gameplay. What makes it feel this way is that it plays like an action game, which isn’t to the spirit of the X-Files at all.  If Telltale Games decided to make an X-Files game, it would probably work well because it’d more cerebral, requiring you to solve clues and be quick on your feet. 

It wouldn’t be a Resident Evil style, third person shooter. 

2) Angry Birds

A few years ago Angry Birds was everywhere. They’ve kind of died out in popular now, but for a while you couldn’t look at a phone, tablet or TV without seeing these pissed off avians. 

The game is simple, you launch an ‘angry bird’ using a slingshot at a tower of green pigs. Where ever that bird hits, the architecture of that area begins to crumble and the pigs crash down. Hit it in different ways and it’ll fall differently, it’s all about angles. 

Angry Birds is actually a copy of a web browser-based game called Crush the Castle. Both games are about knocking down large buildings by launching a projectile from the left side of the screen. Birds uses different birds to launch, and Castle uses different rocks and other medieval things. The two are eerily similar, the pacing before and after the item is launched at their respective towers, the physics in the way they crumble and the point system. Take a look at this video of Crush the Castle and notice how similar it looks to Angry Birds.

3) Guitar Hero

Remember when music games were all the rage? For a few years straight there were about seven Guitar Hero games a year. From numbered GH games, spin-offs, and then Band Hero.

But, Guitar Hero is actually a copy of a Japanese arcade game called Guitar Freaks. Freaks is pretty much the same thing, making Guitar Hero a copy. Hero is a bit more visual, but in Freaks you have a slider with colored dots coming down the screen and you’d hit the corresponding button. 

Guitar Hero has been out of the public eye for several years and is only now releasing a new game at the end of the year. Guitar Freaks has remained relevant in arcades and has gone through several iterations. So, who had the last laugh?

2) Batman Forever

Believe it or not, there was a time when Batman games were bad. Before Batman: Arkham series, the Dark Knight couldn’t find his footing in the gaming world. Also, movie tie-ins were a big money-maker. 

When the Batman Forever game came out it was literally just side scrolling Mortal Kombat. Batman would scroll down the side of the screen, beating up thugs to eventually get to either The Riddler or Two-Face. Even the animations were the same as Mortal Kombat, everything but the Fatalities. 

1) Ms. Pacman 

This one’s a no-brainer, I mean the name PACMAN is in the title. Ms. Pacman, an obvious copy of the yellow munching master Pacman, was made by a small company named General Computer Corp. This team of only a handful of developers saw the potential in the original Pacman as a huge money-maker. 

GCC was able to get some money together and made Ms. Pacman, which came out at a time when video games didn’t have licenses, and anything could be made. It was the wild west of the video game realm. Nowadays, that obviously wouldn’t fly and Ms. Pacman is thought of as a spin-off, not a copy.


It’s weird to think there was a time of movie tie-ins and games that copied one another. But, they existed and now, are quite charming. Copies and other forms of copying probably won’t happen again, but it’s fun to look back and see what some developers tried to do to succeed. 




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Jason Green
Movie watcher, game player and all around nerd. I'm looking to turn my passion for video games into a career.