Inter-Genre Wars: Limited Creativity

by Evan H

Warning: Contains NAME OF GAME/S Spoilers

I'll put the point of this topic right out in the open from the outset. I get highly annoyed when people accuse games of being copied from one another solely because they belong to the same, or similar genres. Yeah, I know that this audience likely doesn't suffer from that particular malady, but with any luck, I can get some constructive criticism on my views, or at least a sympathetic ear.

Nearly every gamer has heard the argument in some form: Digimon is a copy of Pokemon. Sonic is a clone of Mario. Terranigma, God forbid, is a replica of Zelda. A lot of us may have made the argument once or twice. I often find myself pointing out that Digimon exsisted prior to Pokemon, although in no way do I think that Pokemon is a copy of Digimon.

I am a game developer/programmer with one game under my belt (nope, not an RPG. I ain't that good yet.) I personally believe that game writing is art. In art, one person is often inspired by another's works, and builds their own piece branching off from a similar starting point. Suppose you painted a skyful of stars, and someone accused you of plagiarizing Van Gogh. Would that be fair? Actually, it would be quite ludicrous. So why are so many gamers so eager to make total fools of themselves?

The simple fact is, genius has limits. Creativity only goes so far. You cannot expect every new developer to invent a new genre; it doesn't work that way. Squaresoft's Final Fantasy, their last fond hope of writing a successful game, was an attempt (and a success I think) to do what Dragon Warrior did, only better. They didn't desperatly try to invent something totally new and original. Instead, they decided to do something that had already been done, but better.

If you are fast to judge a game as being a blatant copy, or know someone who is, I sincerely hope this aids in changing your views. I rashly promised my Christian friends who Do-Not-Approve of Pokemon to provide a Pokemon alternative for them, and now I am trying to do what Game Freak did, only better, and in a different way-- all the while desperately hoping that people will see that it is NOT a copy. So you can see just a hint of why this is a big pet peeve with me.


Evan H.

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