The Top 7… shameless rip-offs

The games that stole from the best attempting to beat the rest

Ripped off: Street Fighter II

The photocopied premise: A series of fighters from all corners of the globe come together to scrap on various streets to win an acclaimed tournament.

What it borrowed: Character designs, special moves, locations, animations. Hell, developer Data East would have probably stole the fillings from your teeth just to make some scratch. So shameless was the rip-off that many of Street Fighter’s soon to be iconic characters were copied almost exactly, minus a few cynical changes (like a clear Guile clone who throws prickly roses instead of sonic booms).

Naturally, Capcom weren’t too pleased at seeing Ryu, Chun Li and Zangief appearing in someone else’s game, only wearing different coloured pants. They filed a lawsuit against Data East, but lost on the grounds of ‘scenes a faire’. Basically, the court deemed there was no way Data East could make their game without including a large Russian man, a guy who moves exactly like Vega and a level that looks eerily like Balrog’s boxing stage.

How to make a Street Fighter II knock-off

Is it really just a rip-off?

Of course it is. But while history will always look back on it, lower its glasses and tut in disapproval, it should be remembered that Fighter’s History was actually a pretty decent knock-off (plus it let you punch a bull in the face). Because it copied SF’s controls so closely, it’s actually a lot more fun to play that many other beat ‘em ups of the time. Still, there’s no denying it deserves a time out to reflect on its naughty, trademark-stealing ways.

Ripped off: Pokémon

The photocopied premise: A young boy goes on an adventure to trap and imprison friendly monsters. The lad then takes his newly enslaved creatures and forces them into brutal battles with similarly black-hearted individuals.

What it borrowed: Hmmmm, does taking the exact premise, structure, box art style and three syllable title from the Nintendo franchise count as stealing? Yup, it sure does. The game even came in three different versions (Sun, Star and Moon), mimicking Pokémon Red, Green and Blue.

The games boxes couldn’t be more similar, either. Save if the pretender’s packaging had a small yellow rat on it.

To their credit, developer Hudson Soft did introduce one idea of their own. Namely, a system that let you dismantle your monsters and graft new weapons, such as guns and the like, onto their carcasses. In retrospect, going all Frankenstein on their audience probably wasn’t the best way to entice the sugar-addled sprogs to the world of Robopon.

How to make a Pokémon knock-off

Is it really just a rip-off?

Robopon was an innovative, genre-redefining, inventive piece of software that in no way stole any ideas or themes from Pok… we don’t really have to continue with this, do we? The answer you’re looking for is yes. A massive, resounding fifty foot yes perched atop the Empire State Building swatting down Pikachu-piloted biplanes.

Aug 31, 2009


Copy, paste, unoriginality!



Poor man's games
Sort of the same, but worse




The music keeping it in the family

We recommend