map's blog reinventing the wheel, one corner at a time.

Actually it’s about ethics in video game development

If you follow my work a bit you know that my company TheCodingMonkeys published its first original game this year. It’s called RULES! and is a fun action-puzzler. Marcel, Aga and everyone else who worked on it poured their hearts and souls into this little thing for over nine months. We love that thing and we are proud of it.

Last week however we got a mail that pointed us to a browser game that looked more or less exactly like our iOS game. We had been cloned.

The Rules! compared to RULES!

From the looks of it, the company responsible for publishing the game is based in Germany, like us. Here are a few of their games you might recognize by a different name:

Other games by the company

In the case of RULES! they did not stop at the graphics design, however. Everything, down to tutorial, game play, level design and even music and sound effects is a cheap copy of what we did in RULES!. To illustrate here’s a side by side comparison video. (I sped up the ads between levels for the clone, they last 30 seconds each.)

Adding insult to injury, this company is being government-sponsored by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and supplies its browser games to two of the biggest german web mail providers.

So where does that leave us?1 Well, first of all I will talk to my lawyers, I guess. Secondly, I certainly will check back with the government why they are sponsoring a company like that.

And thirdly. Well thirdly I’m hurt. I am disappointed. We aren’t the first to be disgustingly cloned, but that does not make it feel better. The people that created RULES worked for months on every little detail to make sure its a great experience. Having these torn to bits, badly reimplemented and cobbled together to create something to earn a few quick ad bucks feels vile. And criminally unfair.

  • Update: The company has taken down the clone after multiple requests to do so.