App Developers Call Out Zynga for Being a Copycat

Paul Lilly

Brothers and business partners David Marsh and Ian Marsh put out a mobile iOS game called Tiny Tower. Perhaps you've heard of it. Apple named it the best iPhone game of 2011, and it currently has a 4.5/5 star rating on iTunes based on more than 98,000 rating submissions. Zynga liked it so much that it released (in Canada) what appears to be a blatant rip off of the free game, and is charging for it.

It's called Dream Heights, and according to TouchArcade, Zynga didn't just copy the premise, it lifted the restocking mechanic, elevator upgrades, UI elements, and other parts of the game.

Zynga's actions haven't gone unnoticed by the Marsh brothers, who have taken to social media to call attention to what the Farmville maker is doing.

"Even when you refuse to go work for Zynga, sometimes you end up doing work for Zynga anyway," David Marsh tweeted .

Ian Marsh took it a step further by writing a snarky open letter to Zynga in the form of a JPEG image with side-by-side comparisons of the two titles.

"We noticed you are about to launch a new iPhone game called Dream Heights! Congratulations! We wanted to thank all you guys for being such big fans of our iPhone game of the year Tiny Tower!," Ian Marsh wrote. "Good luck with your game, we are looking forward to inspiring you with our future games! Sincerely (all 3 of us), NimbleBit."

Much ado about nothing? Kotaku points out that Tiny Tower isn't exactly original either, drawing from Corporation Inc. by Armor Games, which itself isn't entirely original.

Do you think the Marsh brothers have a legitimate complaint, or is this the pot calling the kettle black?

Image Credit: Ian Marsh

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