If you own an iphone or ipad or any other Apple product that you use to regularly game then odds are you might have seen an all too familiar character starring in a less than high calibre game. I'm here to ask what, if any, lessons we can take from the rearing of such a blatant rip off.
Copyright issues aren't new. Let's face it, as long as something is popular enough someone else is going to want to either "artistically borrow" it, or just outright steal it in order to get a piece of the pie. It seems that in the case of one "Ultimate iZelda Climb" to be wholly the latter idea.
Appearing in the app store earlier this month, this game featuring the easily recognizable Link (although he certainly has looked better...) is your basic rendition of a climbing platformer. Before anyone worries that the world is coming to an end because the Big N allowed one of their powerhouse franchise characters to appear on a rival platform there's no need to get alarmed on that account: the game is as cheap of a rip-off as you can probably get without having kids in sweatshops doing some of the labour for you.
While Nintendo has yet to put their foot down on this by the time of this writing -- perhaps due to the studio that produced (and I do use that term very loosely) the game having multiple fronts and possibly dead end offices -- to me this shows that while the apps for gaming trend is undoubtedly a good one, that some extra steps are going to have to be taken to ensure that people don't abuse copyrights for their own personal gain.
Following up the initial post, Destructoid featured another article dealing with the issues of copyrighting in general as it relates to games. Basically if (I'm thinking more when) this goes to court, Attack Touch would have to prove that what they've used Link for is fair use, and that in that light Nintendo couldn't actually do anything about it. While the article does mention parody, it is rather tongue in cheek about the whole thing. I fully expect that the only reason Link or any of the lampooned characters were chosen was to appeal to an audience that might think that the game being offered is an official, legitimately backed game rather than a shoddy rip-off using mainstream characters in order to make a quick buck.
One thing that I believe this proves beyond a shadow of a doubt is that there has to be more moderation when it comes to just what gets allowed to play in the app store. I'm not necessarily talking about just having people with enough brain cells to ensure that obvious attempts to cash in like this aren't let through to the store. Of course the consumer can do something about it as well, by not buying the titles that scream "Hello, I'm a shovelware money grabbing rip-off!" and making sure that other people don't as well. Sure, there will be people either too young or too naive to know better, but the vast majority of us do know what we're doing, and it can't hurt to pass the word along.