The depth of Super Meat Boy's nostalgia-friendliness goes beyond the game's throwbacks to retro references. Such is the title's power to cast players back to the bygone 8-bit age that Super Meat Boy has also revived that age's wealth of clone games. The title sees a particularly shameless knockoff in the form of iOS title Tobor, whose developer readily admits to drawing inspiration from Super Meat Boy. And while Team Meat's Edward McMillen says he doesn't mind, he warns that Apple is doing little to stop this new abundance of clone titles on its platform.
“Someone was inspired to get into game dev because of SMB,” McMillen tells Destructoid. “That's awesome. We all start out emulating things we love.” If we're old enough, we also started out playing thinly-veiled cross-platform clones of games we love too: SMB may tout itself as Super Mario Bros re-imagined for a new generation, but back when Nintendo's was a new title, NES-lacking computer owners embraced The Great Giana Sisters – whose maps and assets so closely resembled Miyamoto's game that Nintendo had it pulled from shelves. The phenomenon wasn't an isolated one: remember when any rail-shooter was an “Operation Wolf clone,” or even when the term “FPS” hadn't been invented so we just said “Doom clone”?
Above: A screenshot from Tobor. Note the tiny hero's slightly different coloring as he avoids death by buzz saw
Of course, we're living in an age with a bit more respect for intellectual property nowadays, or so we'd like to hope: while McMillen's blasé about a newbie finding success by riding SMB’s coattails, he does grant that “if I found out these guys were my age and had done tons of apps before then I might care.” Which, of course, happens.
If there's a problem, suggests McMillen, it's probably with the climate of iOS development itself, in which “ripping games off seems to be the App Store's thing these days.” He points to the example of Angry Birds, which he says “can totally rip off Crush the Castle and make millions, and then be ripped off by countless clones, without Apple blinking an eye.” But again, anyone with an eye on history knows that's hardly new.
Jul 13, 2011