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Is Zynga Really Ripping Off Tiny Tower? REALLY?

Posted by on January 26, 2012 at 6:48 pm

In case you hadn’t heard, developer Nimblebit sent out an e-mail comparing their game Tiny Tower to Zynga’s new Dream Heights game for iOS. From the shots alone, they look virtually identical in terms of presentation and gameplay (although I have to hand Zynga credit for not going with Tiny Tower’s chunky 8-bit art direction) leading to quite a bit of heat under Zynga’s tushie with accusations of outright plagiarism. Despite the newly invested confidence in Zynga’s stock, the company has had a list of issues following its IPO, so the claims aren’t helping things. But when I first heard about this story, I immediately thought the opposite: Nimblebit ripped off Zynga to make Tiny Tower.

Not long after posting my review for Tiny Tower on Android, I gave up on the game. While Zynga apologists have accused Tiny Tower of merely being a ‘Sim Tower’ rip-off (a Maxis game from the mid-90s), that’s giving Tiny Tower a bit too much credit. Like CityVille, FarmVille, or many of the other ‘Ville games, Tiny Tower is much less a strategy game and far more a tomagotchi. The game actively discourages you from playing in long stretches unless you buy virtual cash to expedite construction or tasks. Both share the same despicable freemium core gameplay that grates quickly. EVE Online had a similar mechanic that kept players from advancing too fast by forcing them to wait real calendar weeks and months to upgrade their skills (and only one at a time!).

That Zynga made a mirror copy of Tiny Tower is like accusing Microsoft of stealing Windows from Apple: both had that rich neighbor named Xerox. It’s not a great defense for either company, even if Zynga is roughly a thousand times larger than Nimblebit is.

Now if you guys would stop copying each other and come out with some real strategy games, we’d be in some real business!

Source: PC Mag

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