The backlash against Zynga for its (pretty blatant) plagiarism of Tiny Tower may have been one of this week's big stories, but it certainly isn't the only recent case of game companies ripping each other off. Late last year, 6waves Lolapps was accused of doing the exact same thing, and now the company's finally defending itself.
In faces you missed this, here's the salient details about the case: Back in late December, 6waves Lolapps released Yeti Town for mobile devices. However, once everyone started downloading it, the publisher was accused of ripping off mechanics from Spry Fox's Triple Town. Heck – we even said as much in our review.
As a result, Chief Product Officer for 6Waves Lolapps Arjun Sethi and Marc Tardiff (who works for Escalation Studios, the developer behind Yeti Town) sat down to chat about the accusations with Gamasutra and (kind of) put things to rest. According to them, the game started out as a side project that the folks at Escalation were working on as something to do between development cycles; it wasn't even planned as a commercial release until much later, when the studio and its parent company realized that they had something that could become a full-fledged game.
"The game turned out to be really fun," said Tardiff, "and we had an opportunity to test some of the stuff that 6waves Lolapps wanted to do, and given that there wasn't anything like it on the platform, we decided to release it."
So how did they explain the similarities between Yeti Town and Triple Town? "There are a lot of other match-three games out there that are similar, and I think that being criticized is just part of a natural process," said Sethi.
Tardiff followed up by stating, "Even if you look at something like Minecraft and Infiniminer … they started off in similar directions, but Minecraft has evolved so much in the last year or so into something completely different, and we want Yeti Town to take the same approach."
Commentators on the story, meanwhile, are critical of this "natural progression" defense, since they claim the match three mechanic isn't the only thing that's been copied in Yeti Town.
As an interesting side note, everyone with the slightest iota of interest in the subject should read the thoughts of Spry Fox’s Daniel Cook on the subject of plagiarism. While not specifically directed at Yeti Town, it’s interesting to see where his thoughts land on what constitutes originality and what doesn’t.