Earlier today, the makers of mobile gaming blockbuster Tiny Tower published the kind of open letter loved by video gaming's instantly and constantly angry fuck-the-man constituency, not least because it can be disseminated by imgur. It alleged that Zynga, the popularly despised maker of Facebook McGames, stole Tiny Tower's idea and was reaping a dishonest profit from it.
On its face, yeah, it seems like developer NimbleBit has a complaint: Zynga's Dream Heights definitely isn't original game design. But is Tiny Tower's, really?
In this rebuttal, we're reminded that NimbleBit's jackpot moneymaker wasn't exactly divinely inspired, either. It seems to have drawn on Corporation Inc., a very popular title hosted by Armor Games. Nor, admittedly, was Corporation Inc. entirely original. The difference is, Corporation Inc. acknowledged its heritage in its credits—and it comes from a title published by Maxis, now owned by that indie outfit Electronic Arts.
But why is this even an issue? Copying isn't theft, remember?