I really loved Thomas Was Alone, a charming indie puzzle platformer from developer Mike Bithell. Apparently, the folks who make games for Wired's UK division liked it, too, because they cranked out a game that cribs heavily from Thomas Was Alone.
CFBDSIR2149 Was Alone doesn't have the endearing narration of Danny Wallace or the excellent soundtrack by David Housden. But the newsgame tied to an article about an orphan planet does parrot the tone, text boxes and get-to-the-exit level design of Thomas. Despite being an unmistakable—and inferior—clone of Bithell's game, no acknowledgement of that inspiration is in the text. The developer of the CFBDSIR2149 game does mention Thomas Was Alone in the comments.
Bithell himself found out on Twitter:
Wired creates "Thomas Was Alone" clone based on the recent discovery of an "orphan" planet. wired.co.uk/news/archive/2…— Jordan Erica Webber (@jawsew) November 28, 2012
that is a clone, right? And a bad one.. I'm right to be a bit miffed... right?— Mike Bithell (@mikeBithell) November 28, 2012
OK, have emailed editor. I think it's just a big misunderstanding :)— Mike Bithell (@mikeBithell) November 28, 2012
As of this writing, there hasn't been any change in the article text. No game deserves to be ripped off but it's especially troubling when it happens to an indie release. Everyone go play Thomas Was Alone. It's better anyway.
Update: Mention of Thomas Was Alone—and a link to the game on Steam—as inspiration has been added to the article. All is well.