No video game is completely original; Mortal Kombat was inspired by Street Fighter II, Halo was inspired by Half-Life and the Super Mario franchise was inspired by massive amounts of hallucinogens. But then there are some beloved games that weren't so much "inspired by" other games as they were "the exact game, with a minor paint job." Those knockoffs then went on to make millions of dollars.
5Angry Birds Is a Knockoff of a Free Browser Game
Chances are that everyone reading this has by now played or seen someone else play Angry Birds at least once, or most likely several dozens of times. The iPhone time-waster is simply the most popular game ever made. Basically, you use a slingshot to launch wingless birds into the air and destroy flimsy structures occupied by egg-stealing green pigs. It's as brilliant in its design as it is stupid in its story.
It's the video game version of Flavor Flav.
On the other hand, you probably haven't heard of Crush the Castle, an online Flash game that was released a mere eight months before Angry Birds and bears more than a few ... similarities. And if you have heard of it, then congratulations, you can now tell your friends you liked Angry Birds before it was cool.
"It was hardcore back in the day. People died."
For starters, the goal in Crush the Castle is also to launch projectiles from the left side of the screen over to the right, where your enemies (in this case, medieval soldiers and royalty) stand hiding within a hodgepodge of wooden planks, stone slabs and other easily knock-downable constructions. They use an old-fashioned trebuchet instead of a giant slingshot, but the gameplay is exactly the same.
So what sort of projectiles do you launch? Well, there's the standard sphere ...
Big deal, lots of games have ball-shaped characters.
Then there's the jumbo version of the standard sphere ...
Just a logical progression from the last one.
The one that splits into three parts ...
That's just, uh ... natural progression ...
And the one that explodes upon contact, like a bomb.
OK, fuck these guys.
We aren't the only ones who have noticed the similarities. In fact, the relationship between Crush the Castle and its vastly more popular knockoff, Angry Birds, has been the subject of collegiate study -- one researcher took it upon himself to find out why, out of two essentially identical games, only one emerged with shitloads of cash, apparel and a freaking TV show. His conclusion was that the cute characters and charming art style of Angry Birds made all the difference: Apparently it's just a matter of taking an obscure game, slapping animal faces on all the objects and boom, instant hit.
But we think the most compelling argument here is: How the fuck do you even arrive at the idea of building-dwelling pigs vs. slingshot-using birds if not by taking the perfectly logical concept of trebuchet vs. castle and just randomly changing shit to hide the theft?