Tuesday, November 24, 2015


In modern English the word "facsimile" is synonymous with "fax," or "copy," but the origin of the word comes from Latin.  "Fac," is the imperative of "facere" (to make), and "simile," means "similar" in English.  So, what does any of this have to do with video games?  Well...I can think of a couple of relevent examples.

Ever heard of a game called Orion: Prelude?  It's often referred to as "The Best Worst Game" on Steam.  Typically it can be found on sale for about $1.  Having played the game for around seven hours I recommend not paying more than that amount for it.  Rather than simply telling you about this FPS, let me ask a few questions:  Do you like Halo?  How does wave-based co-op multiplayer sound?  What would you think if the Covenant were replaced with dinosaurs?  If your answers are "Yes", "Yes", and "Great!" then this game might keep you entertained for around an hour or two.  Otherwise go buy a pack of gum with your hard-earned dollar.  Trust me, You'll get a lot better return on your investment.

Normally when I think of knock-offs I tend to imagine the label "made in China," or possibly Taiwan.  Not so with this title.  Apparently the job of copycat game development  more often than not ends up in the hands of someone living in Russia.  That's not to say I don't like Russian made games - far from it.  I've played more War Thunder and World of Warships than I care to admit (even though one sometimes feels like a doppelganger of the other).  That aside, Bloodbath Kavkaz feels...well, to put it nicely - unnecessary.  The first Hotline Miami had enough convoluted storytelling and gratuitous violence to satisfy a deranged psychopath.  Just in case that wasn't enough for you though, the same developer went on to make a sequel - Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number.  It has more of everything to the point that a lot of what made the first game good ended up lost in transition.  More specifically, the expanded level layout and increased number of enemies led to a great deal more frustratingly random player deaths.  It undermined the intensely tactical puzzle solving that made the original game special.  If, for some reason you want more 2-D pixelated gore though there's always Bloodbath Kavkaz...I guess.

Last example, for this blog post is Prey for the Gods.  Get it?  "Prey", not "Pray".  Haha...they so clever.  Ahem.  Anyway...it's a Shadow of the Colossus rip-off, but I can't say much more than that because the game isn't out yet.  For all I know it might actually be good.  Keep in mind I'm not inherently against the idea of a derivative game provided it does something that the originator didn't.  Even if said changes were not wholly successful I'd still be willing to praise the game for attempting to innovate on its respective genre.  Much like a Xerox machine though, if all you're going to do is make a copy then (by definition) the duplicate is guaranteed to be of inferior quality.  So take some pride in your work, struggling game developers.  It's okay to borrow from the masters (after all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery).  Just remember to make your own mark on those clones.  Otherwise it's a waste of time and effort.  Doubly so for people that go through all the toil of making something that boarders on copyright infringement.    

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