Friday, August 15, 2014

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Here's How the Developer of Gunpoint Confronted a So-Called Ripoff of His Popular Infiltration Game

Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Tom Francis is a game journalist turned indie developer who evidently has a solid sense of humor. Last year he released Gunpoint, a highly acclaimed 2D game about stealth, confrontation and office-building infiltration. This year, Francis caught wind of a game named Ronin that looked suspiciously similar to his own, and whose creator brazenly referred to it as a "Gunpoint ripoff". So Francis did what anyone would do: He recorded a video of himself playing Ronin because, in his words, "it's really fucking cool."

Francis is quick to point out in his blog post on the subject (which bears the slightly deceptive title "It's Time I Did Something about This 'Gunpoint Ripoff'") that Ronin isn't actually ripping off Gunpoint at all. The inspiration there is clear, but as far as Francis is concerned Ronin is a game that stands on its own, and Gunpoint was designed to inspire in the first place. He writes:

It’s clearly not a Gunpoint ripoff, because the core mechanics are so different. A lot of what it does copy is superficial, and that stuff doesn’t matter. But the jump is pretty central, and if that was directly taken from Gunpoint, I’m delighted. I wouldn’t want anyone to reuse Gunpoint’s artwork or music, but the ideas in it are absolutely there for the taking. Every non-standard thing about it, from the jumping controls to the saving system, I did because I wanted more games to be that way. If there’s actually a case where Gunpoint caused more games to work this way, that’s a huge thrill for me.


Be sure to check out Tom Francis' full post on Ronin, including a downright incendiary update, here.

Mixed reality iris 2013Janine Hawkins (@bleatingheart on Twitter, Iris Ophelia in Second Life) has been writing about virtual worlds and video games for nearly a decade, and has had her work featured on Paste, Kotaku, Jezebel and The Mary Sue.


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Arcadia Codesmith

You mean he didn't file a patent for "Method of video game character propulsion utilizing lower extremities for vertical and/or horizontal thrust" and then sue every other game with walking and running?

Pathetic fool.

Motoko Henusaki

It’s nice to see a dev taking a reasoned and reasonable position. Very, very nice.

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