This is why you need to stop buying anything from Zynga

Anyone who’s read even a bit of this blog can probably tell that I stick up for the little guy a lot.  I constantly publish news and reviews about indie games.  Its mostly because I genuinely enjoy playing them, but I also enjoy their underdog determination to make something of themselves without the help of bigger companies.  Entrepreneurship as well as artistic expression and creativity all get rolled into one with indie games.
That’s why I get upset when I see things like this: huge, almost meglomaniac companies like Zynga ripping off the little guy without so much as a word of credit or offer of royalties.
Of course a lot a lot of it has to do with the sorry shape that copyrights are in these days, but I don’t want to get into all that right now.  What I want to get into is how Zynga, a now 2700+ man strong company, has ripped off 3-man developer Nimblebit with their latest game Dream Heights.
You see, Dream Heights is almost a screen-for-screen adaptation of Nimblebit’s popular iPhone game Tiny Tower (which itself is a spiritual successor to one of my favorite classic games: Sim Tower).  You only need but look at the following image, sarcastically sent from Nimblebit to Zynga to see the ridiculous problem here:
I’m not saying developers don’t have domain to copy one another a bit.  Some of the best games are derivatives of others (like Guitar Hero from Guitar Freaks, or Serious Sam from Duke Nukem), but on this one its a little too blatant.  This is like taking an amazing painting, putting a frame on it and calling it your own.
At least with Words with Friends they gave us a lot of options that weren’t available from Scrabble, but the unfortunate thing about Zynga is that I can’t think of a single game of theirs that isn’t somehow ripped off.  Its a little sad to think that, even if it is understandable from a business perspective.  I don’t mind so much when you rip off Scrabble, I do mind when you’re ripping off a small 3 man company and don’t at least give some people credit.

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About Ryan Saul

Hailing from Portland, OR I work by day and blog by night. I like to consider myself a video game connoisseur, playing as many new things as I can get my hands on. Its hard to hold me down to one game for very long before I move on to the next big thing. Luckily, that works pretty well in terms of video game blogging.

2 responses to “This is why you need to stop buying anything from Zynga”

  1. Flammable Games says :


    It’s not that I defend what Zynga has done, but Drumcowski has a very good point here as well:

    I think innovation is the most difficult thing to find among current games I’m afraid.

    • Ryan Saul says :

      Thank you for the follow-up article, very enlightening. As Nimblebit had also pretty blatantly ripped off SimTower I figured I could stop my research there, didn’t consider there could be another tower building game similar to Tiny Tower, yet not SimTower. On the broader scope the whole app market for both iPhone and Android is just filled with copied garbage which seems to get bigger every day. I remember when all you could find was tower defense games.

      At the end of the day Zynga does need to be taken down a few notches. Its not the greed that makes the company bad necessarily, we’re all a little greedy at the end of the day, its the oppressiveness of its employees and complete lack of creativity that turns me off from them. Same goes for Activision who would much rather create a sequel than try something new. It will catch up to both of them soon enough.

      Thanks again, I may have to do a follow-up of my own next week :D

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