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The Thing About The Ripoff Complaint - Destructoid




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Take a gamer, a "creator", an actor, a procrastinator and throw it all together and you'd pretty much get me. I got into gaming by the Nintendo 64. Some of my favorites are L.A Noire, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Red Steel 2, Team Fortress 2, Gmod and plenty others.
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Greetings, fellow g1s. I've been pondering this through a large amount of time. Usually, when I see a negative review, I hear the term "rip-off". A rip-off is either a product that is not worth all the money you spend for it, or a duplicate of a different product with a different name slapped onto it. My mind at first was against this sort of thing as it has become very monotonous to see the same thing being copied over and over again. Then my mind debated that I liked some things that did just that because the formula of said thing was enjoyable to through over and over again. But then that was counterattacked by the idea that some formulas get altered to become different, leaving my mind to wage a metaphorical war against itself with the various ideals that were flying from one side to the other.

Now, before I can talk even more about how things have been ripped off in various ways, I first have to talk about the complaint itself. When a viewer witnesses that a particular part of a game or movie has similar, if not identical elements of a different game or movie that they have experienced, their mind recognizes it and the person begins to think that this lacks any sense of originality whatsoever, which may turn them off. But here's the thing, people only refer to something being a ripoff, when various other factors of the product do not work fully to their advantage. Allow me to go deeper on this.



Wow, this was pretty witty of me.

If we want to strip everything down to the lowest form we wanted to, everything would be considered a ripoff. Think about it. Love, hatred, conflict, war, unity, conservation, sins, purity, morality, allignment and various other philosophical terms have been sewn into various stories. Including those that the creative design to us or the realistic that tell tales about thier older days. We've all experience the same emotions, we've all been X years old at some point or the other, we all have fingerprints. Simply put, nothing truly in this world is, or ever can be purely original. The thing that seperates us from one another is not how we're completely different than others, having our own little bubble that no one will be able to comprehend and decipher, but how we have been crafted in a different way with similar properties and take different parts of the world and morph them to our own vision. Movies and games work like this as well.



OH SHI-

The thing with those things though is that some of us can't appreaciate it when it rips off something in a way that is inferior to the original portrayal after realizing it's a copy. For example, when Avatar came out, everyone, including me, hated it. The reason? It was basically Ferngully and/or Pocahontas with a more alienistic and fantasy-like feel coat of paint on it. Now, before I continue, I must address that even though I dislike that movie, it could have been worse. At least the look of the movie was nice, and I appreciate the effort they had when making the visuals, despite not being much of a graphics-goggler. It didn't deserve that much hate as it attempted to do a little more with it's story. Not that much, but enough to at least make it something that a person may consider renting. Now that I got that out of the way, allow me to continue.



Thank you for showing me this, /v/. Now quit acting like /b/.

The thing with repainting a story is that if you basically add nothing truly ground-breaking to your "rip-off", people will dislike it more. Flip's Twisted World gained a reputation for being a mediocre game mainly because it did not add anything to the rip-off of Super Mario Galaxy that was truly outstanding other than it was a different set of backgrounds and characters. It's not usually wise to just take a story and slap many minor changes (the design of the character, their occutation, the location) to it. Rather, you have to suckerpunch the story with a few major changes (the feelings of the character throughtout the story, the conflicts between characters, the atmosphere). But you know what's weird, with that said? TV parodies usually are "many minor changes to a story" played for laughs. And yet people seem to think it's alright. Then again, I suppose playing a story for laughs is considered alteration of the atmosphere, so I suppose it's ok. Speaking of which, alteration is an important term here.

In school, when you copy and paste a paragraph that greatky expresses your point-of-view on something and place it on an assignment, you're plagarizing. Yet if you were to take that same paragraph and word it differently, you're para-phrasing. Also known as, altering that paragraph. It's a way to display the point that you'd like to express that someone else has, but say it in a different way. Alteration is done in various games and movies, and it's what seems to make a rip-off, not much of a rip-off. Yet, if your alteration bombs and the fridge logic hits them that your creation was merely a previous creation with a different enough feel to it, they'll dislike it even more than they did when they saw that your creation was a dissapointing experience for them. That's the main two problems the repainting of a story that make it become notorious for being a rip-off. If you
make little changes that don't make that much of an impact on a creation, or if your creation is discovered as a ripoff of a different creation despite it having a good sense of alteration. Or it could be a poor sense of alteration combined with it's somewhat plagerized method.




Either I mindfreaked people, or I'm seeing things again.

Let me explain that a little better. We'll use the examples of Barb Wire and Avatar. Boy, I never thought I'd be putting those two films in the exact same sentence...but here I am, doing just that. Anyways, Avatar was a rip-off of Ferngully and/or Pocahontas, while Barb Wire was a rip-off of Casablanca. Both of them did not do that well with others. But the key difference is that Avatar became the grounds for a war that would never end, while Barb Wire was generally disapproved of from many viewers. Why? Well, James Cameron managed to blossom the enviroment that the movie was taking place. The characters might have still been the cardboard cut-out from either movie it was ripping off, but give the man credit for doing some creative changes. Barb Wire on the other hand changed the way that some events took place, but never changed the development of the characters or the surroundings. All it did as much as a drastic change is add a blond bimbo that can't act, even if her life depended on it, as the main protagonist to show off her massive rack.



Darth Vader, the most notorious character for altering the classic trope of "villain kills hero's father".

Now, the other method of "ripping off" that is less criticized is taking various different concepts to combine them into one creation. If you've noticed some of the best films on your list, you may notice that they're not original at the slightest. But do you complain? No. That's because they take so much from other things and mash it up into one single project. Who Framed Roger Rabbit, my favorite movie, borrowed from the Golden Age of Cartoons as well as various noir films. Star Wars, one of the greatest films in the world borrowed from westerns, samurai movies, science fiction, fantasy, action movies and more to create a breathtaking experience. Matt Greoging took various pop-culture references into hist two shows, the Simpsons and Futurama. Now, why don't people complain that it took all of these creations and created some warped fanfiction with their own OCs? It's because it took a bunch of different ideas, altered them a little bit and made it into one new creation.

The best way to explain this is with tropes. We've all seen tropes, right? They're everywhere. But do we complain about every single trope? No. It's because tropes that have been used a lot can be inverted, parodied, subverted, etc, to make a different expression of said trope. That way, the trope can be exploited in a new and more interesting way. Now, I'm starting to feel contradicting with saying that certain aspects are new when I stated that nothing in this world is original. In fact, the following points are basically the points that I'm trying to make here.



I wish I really had this gavel.

Nothing nowadays is original when it comes to components. If we wanted to complain about originality with every work that came our path, we'd be fighting non-stop. Yet, creativity thrives as it takes what we already have and makes something different out of it. Is it original? The components aren't. But the form and structure of the creation is. That, to me, is what complaining about originality really means. That something has the exact same components as something else. Can this still be considered a complaint? Not entirely. Even if it's too blatant, does not alter enough for the viewer to discredit it and consider it a creative spin and does not offer anything for the viewer to gain enjoyment from it, complaining about it is a tad silly. The complaint can only be truly justified is a person is taking a creation that isn't theirs and calling it their own without any alteration or with very little alteration (which means remixes) or giving someone credit.

I'll say this though, you can still say that a person did not fully manage to create something more with the component that they had (I mean, Sonic fan-characters are basically like that, and I can't say I'm a fan of them). And you can still dislike something that was altered. Various other things come into play, such as if the creator is admiring something that they use or if you enjoyed seeing the change of something. But this still leaves me with questions. How are you not sure it was merely coincidence? And shouldn't something be judged by it's own merits to be criticized fairly rather than it's connections? Don't we like certain things that turn out to be very generic?

There you have it. I tried to make my point as clear as I could, and I feel as though I've still left some mixed messages, but just know that trying to talk about creativity (alongside originality), is no easy subject. Ask any philosopher or pyschologist, and you'll see what I mean. Hope that you understood my point and liked my blog.



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