And the war of words continues this week, as NimbleBit and Zynga's battle over the similarities between the former's Tiny Tower and the latter's Dream Heights has set the industry ablaze with talks of what is and isn't appropriate in the world of design inspirations.
After calling out the Big Z via illustrated letter last week, NimbleBit is now pointing a proverbial finger at Zynga CEO Mark Pincus, who today warned companies like NimbleBit against "throw[ing] stones when you live in glass towers." NimbleBit's Ian Marsh didn't take too kindly to his statement, and has issued one of his own. While speaking to Touch Arcade, Marsh had this to say:
"It is a smart idea for Mark Pincus and Zynga to try and lump all games with the name Tower together as an actual genre whose games borrow from each other. Unfortunately sharing a name or setting does not a genre make. The games Pincus mentions couldn't be more different. Sim Tower is a true "sim" with macroscopic management and fine tuning of a buildings facilities. Tower Bloxx is a timing based high score game.
If you take a quick look before "pulling the lens back" as Pincus suggests, you'll find an innumerable number of details in the game that were painstakingly crafted to be identical to Tiny Tower. These are core gameplay mechanics and rules, not similar settings or themes that games in the same genre might share.
Why are there 5 different business types like Tiny Tower? Why do 5 people fit in an apartment instead of 4 or 6? Why are there VIP elevator riders that perform the same functions as Tiny Tower? Why do businesses employ exactly 3 workers and produce exactly 3 products that are stocked in exactly the same way as Tiny Tower. Even the tutorials at the beginning of the game follow the exact same steps.
All of these things are poorly hidden underneath an uninspired veneer which has become Zynga's trademark."
It doesn't take examination under a microscope to see the similarities between Dream Heights and Tiny Tower, and it also doesn't seem like either developer is going to back down anytime soon. If this ever becomes more than just a war of words, we'll make sure to let you know.
Which side do you take in this debate? Is Zynga guilty of "copycatting" Tiny Tower with Dream Heights, or are there enough differences to easily see that they're two different games? Share your opinions with us in the comments!