If you’re an indie games developer and you aren’t getting sued for somehow impinging on someone’s intellectual property with the title of your latest game then you must be quite depressed. After all, it’s the latest fashion! Everyone’s at it, from small-fry like Mobigame to the big fish like Minecraft creators Mojang, getting sued for the whole gamut of one-word titles, from Edge to Scrolls. But help is at hand – here’s a convenient list of seven suable game concepts that you can take, create, and then get sued for. Now slap yourself on the back – you’re part of gaming’s latest trend!
The word: Charts
The concept: You play the world’s greatest mapmaker, Ted Charter, charting an intricately-designed but perilous fantasy world so you can make a living selling maps to adventurers.
The lawsuit: Sony does a mental and claims Charts could be confused with their own Uncharted games. Unfortunately, it doesn’t help that Ted Charter is played by Nolan North. Although what main character isn’t voiced by Nolan North these days? I CAN’T THINK OF ONE.
The word: Fruit
The concept: A narratively-innovative World War II shooter that casts you as a gay soldier in a hostile straight world. Includes a ‘No Homosexuality’ option so the angry man from the Bioware forums can skip straight from the title screen to the end credits.
The lawsuit: Halfbrick sue you, not because of the similarity with their existing game Fruit Ninja but because of the similarity with their nascent (and rather confusing) new project, the identically-named gay-slicing game Fruit Ninja. Fortunately, Halfbrick drop both the new game and their lawsuit when they release that a game involving slicing homosexual men in two is going to go down like a cup of cold sick with those hand-wringing leftie gamer types.
The word: Professor
The concept: An exciting simulation where you control a professor through his or her daily life. Present a lecture, carry out some research, do a poo – the interactions are virtually limitless!
The lawsuit: Nintendo and Level-5 are apoplectic – Professor Layton is the one and only gaming professor! Fortunately you manage to distract them by pointing them to Konami’s Doctor Lautrec before running off into the sunset in a needlessly cinematic fashion.
The word: Left
The concept: A desperate last-ditch attempt at creating an FPS with some semblance of originality, Left‘s ‘innovation’ (read ‘gimmick’) is that it must be played with a special ‘inverted’ control pad. Now lefties are righties and righties are lefties!
The lawsuit: Valve attempts to make you leave your concept for dead through the courts, but fails. They finally manage to kill your blossoming franchise, however, when they make fully configurable controls a condition of putting games on Steam.
The word: Yakult
The lawsuit: A tie-in with the popular drink, Yakult is a puzzler that has you creating the right conditions to grow the bacteria that is the drink’s active ingredient.
The lawsuit: You get sued by Sega, but fortunately their case falls apart when it turns out it was just a dyslexic lawyer getting ‘Yakult’ mixed up with ‘Yakuza’.
The word: Soul
The concept: A rhythm game set in a lovingly-crafted recreation of the 1960s soul scene. Includes music by Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and a bunch of other names easily copy-and-pasted from Wikipedia.
The lawsuit: Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls creator From Software throws a fit, but softens to you when you promise to make Soul the hardest, and most soul-destroying, rhythm game since the Big Bang.
The word: Mine!
The concept: A sue-’em-up, you play the role of an arrogant game publisher, erroneously claiming common words and phrases are your intellectual properly and starting spurious lawsuits against indie game developers.
The lawsuit: Ironically, Minecraft creator Notch sues you, claiming people will confuse Mine! with Minecraft, bringing this post full-circle in a way that is both convenient and contrived.