Jan. 25, 2012 at 4:58 PM ET
Zynga doesn't have the best name around the block, to put it mildly. Various folks across the video game spectrum were quite delighted by news of their recently introduced stock's failure to light Wall Street on fire. Equally satisfying has been reports that their users have stopped playing their offerings in droves.
Much of the animosity stems from the fact that their games are accused of being unoriginal and derivative. Proof can be found in Zynga's latest iOS release "Dream Heights," which strikes a very close resemblance to "Tiny Tower" by NimbleBits, for the same platform. It was actually Apple's pick for best iPhone game of 2011.
This copycatting did not go unnoticed by the makers of the original game, who have voiced their two cents via Twitter. Perhaps the most compelling opinion was shared by David Marsh, one of the co-founders of NimbleBits. He states: "Even when you refuse to go work for Zynga, sometimes you end up doing work for Zynga anyway."
But it is his partner and brother Ian Marsh who has gotten most of the attention, with side-by-side comparisons in a very tongue in cheek letter addressed to Zynga:
The open letter was first highlighted by the iOS-focused gaming blog Touch Arcade, whichd also reiterate the very hands-off approach Apple has when it comes blatant clones and other forms of copyright infringement in their App Store. But given how high profile the parties involved are, and especially since Apple itself also anointed "Tiny Tower" with high praise, perhaps Cupertino may be more proactive.
"Dream Heights" is currently available in the Canadian App Store. No word yet on when it'll appear in the U.S. variant, if ever. We also asked Zynga for a response on the matter, but none has been received. If one does arrive, this post will be updated.
Matthew Hawkins is a NYC based game journalist who has also written for EGM, GameSetWatch, Gamasutra, Giant Robot, and numerous others. He also self-publishes his own game culture zine, is part of Attract Mode, and co-hosts of The Fangamer Podcast. You can keep tabs on him via Twitter, or his personal home-base, FORT90.com.