If you’ve spent any amount of time at all on Facebook in the last couple of years, then you’ve assuredly been at one point or another attacked by a barrage of Farmville or Mafia Wars invitations. Both of these casual games (along with dozens of others) came from the same development company, known as Zynga. It’s safe to say that their greater reputation with the online gaming community has been…storied, these past couple of years, due in no small part to the argument that Zynga makes their money by copying other smaller casual games, slapping on a shiny coat of paint, changing the name and sending it out to market. This, along with numerous complaints over their less-than-stellar customer service have managed to paint Zynga, who recently went public to an estimated valuation of $9 Billion, in a less than positive public light.
Recent developments however have now however pushed Zynga from “shady corporate businessmen” to “Snidely Whiplash tying down and robbing indie game developers” in the minds of the internet populace, as their latest casual opus, Dream Heights, has been shown to be an almost exact carbon-copy of a related indie game, that of Nimblebit’s Tiny Tower.
The picture (shown below) is damning, to say the least, as nearly every aspect of Tiny Tower‘s gameplay mechanics are shown to be stolen whole-cloth. Though, of course, Zynga’s game looks much prettier (which you can suppose is one of the benefits a company with twenty-eight hundred plus employees can have over a indie development group housing a grand total of three employees).
Even from a company with a less-than-crystal-clear public persona this all looks despicable. Though I guess looking back this hasn’t exactly been a new trend, as even their flagship title Farmville was a blatant theft.