IGN's PSP April Fool's Joke might not have been funny, but at least it wasn't a complete rip off!
Being a site that focuses on the industry and the media, we rarely get a chance to turn the lens on ourselves. After all, we don't like to talk about ourselves too much; this is a site about games, not big egos and life lessons. But sometimes our hand is forced, and we feel like we have to become part of the story ... if for no other reason than to set the record straight.
As you all know, this week brought us April Fool's Day, a day where everybody tries to come up with silly and clever ways of fooling us into believing their lies. It was also the four year birthday of this very site you're reading. We chose to launch on that Foolish day because we knew very early on that we would be dealing with topics that would make good April Fool's jokes, stories that were funny and stupid, but almost believable at the same time.
It's for this reason that I cringe a little every time April 1st rolls around, it feels like for one day of the year everybody on the net is trying to be just like Defunct Games. But this year brought an article that wasn't just similar to the types of stories we feature, it ripped us off without a care in the world!
We only hinted at a Gyromite game for the GBA, but IGN went ahead and made it for us (shown here with watermark).
IGN is one of the most popular video game websites on the net, they offer daily updates on all of the current generation consoles, and feature a number of unique topics you rarely see on a game site. But on April 1, 2005 they stole the idea of turning Duck Hunt into a Classic NES Series title for a Nintendo handheld.
In the article titled Duck Hunt: Classic NES Series (published March 13, 2005), we published an account of how Nintendo had announced this classic Zapper game for the Game Boy Advance, while IGN did almost the same thing three weeks later by announcing the DS version of this game. The cover art is almost exactly the same, the articles are similar, and they only happened 19 days apart. What are the chances?
To add insult to injury IGN's Game Boy Advance section ran a story featuring cover art for the game Gyromite, the classic NES game that worked with R.O.B. In the Defunct Games article I wrote that I was "hoping that this game will spur Nintendo to release other such titles, such as World Series Tournament that used the Power Pad or Gyromite that used R.O.B." I don't want to complain, but it's almost as if IGN read the full article and said, "yes, you're right, that is funny."
I can only dream that IGN will steal my Jihad! idea.
Of course there are differences, for example we devised a product that allowed you to plug in your old zapper, while they decided to create a stylus that looked exactly like a zapper. There's also the little matter of the system, they announced it for the Nintendo DS while we had it for the Game Boy Advance. But even with those similarities noted, it's hard to get over the fact that our story wasn't even a month old before IGN decided to rip it off.
IGN is a site that gets millions of hits every day, they offer plenty of content and a lot of reviews that have little to do with the content of Defunct Games. They do their thing, we do ours. If IGN starts taking our ideas, there won't be too many reasons left to come to this site ... and that will leave a lot of us homeless and feeling unloved.
So even if it was an April Fool's Joke, that's not a reason for somebody to blatantly plagiarize something I worked moderately hard on. How would they like it if I took their idea to make you view and advertisement no matter what you wanted to look at, charged you for "premium" content, and hype up every game, no matter how bad it turns out being? Not very good, that's for sure. Not very good at all.