Nimblebit has passed around an image comparing Tiny Tower and an upcoming iPhone game from Zynga called Dream Heights, alleging that NimbleBit “wanted to thank all you guys [Zynga] for being such big fans of our iPhone game of the year, Tiny Tower!”
Apple named Tiny Tower as its iPhone game of the year in December.
The image from NimbleBit has a humorous tone, but the three-man company isn’t shying away from accusing Zynga of taking a little more than its fair share of inspiration from Tiny Tower.
I’ve contacted NimbleBit and Zynga, but have yet to hear back from either company.
The move from Nimblebit has come under some scrutiny for Tiny Tower’s own inspiration from Sim Tower, which was released by Maxis back in 1994. Sim Tower has since been ported to iOS, as well, but under the name Yoot Tower, playing on the name of the game’s creator, Yoot Saito.
In an interesting twist, NimbleBit designer Ian Marsh pointed out that Zynga once tried to acquire NimbleBit.
Cloning and iteration is common problem in mobile and social games. Super Crate Box creator Vlambeer famously raised a stink over its Radical Fishing being cloned, and will be exploring the issue at the Game Developers Conference with a panel called “Clones: Advancing the Discussion.”