Thursday, July 25, 2013
By: Matthew Doucette
So, check out the bundle!
The original Decimation X3 review was pulled as it accused us of copying Space Invaders Extreme, a game that came out 13 years after ours:
"Decimation X3, a clone of Space Invaders Extreme"
"Asking me to play a lift of [Space Invaders Extreme]..."
"Decimation X3 is indeed a shameless rip-off of Space Invaders Extreme through and through."
"The biggest difference [in Decimation X3 from Space Invaders Extreme] is that it’s skinned to seem more like a retro game."
"So Decimation X3 went all kelpto on [Space Invaders Extreme]..."
"...in some ways its even better than Space Invaders Extreme."
"It’s cleaner [than Space Invaders Extreme] for one thing, so losing track of what’s happening isn’t an issue here like it was with its inspiration."
"I think the controls are even tighter [than Space Invaders Extreme] too."
"The real Space Invaders Extreme is only 800MSP..."
"As far as knock-offs go, Decimation X3 is the best I’ve seen yet..."
"Grab three friends and enjoy your off-brand cola and near-expired cans of SpaghettiOs while jamming on the best ripoff of a good thing since Pixar stole Doc Hollywood and called it Cars."
To be fair, Indie Gamer Chick did have one hint of understanding our game was unique...
"It does enter bullet hell territory at times but it always seemed like there was just enough room for me to squeeze through, no matter how heavy the fire. All the power-ups are well implemented too. In a lot of ways, it’s the perfect one-dollar game."
...and she genuinely liked the game and would have rated us #1 on her leaderboard, but was not aware Xbox LIVE Indie Games cannot support leaderboards or achievements:
"Obviously it’s the game to get. If Decimation X3 had offered [leaderboards or achievements], it likely would have been #1 on the top ten list here."
So, we asked for a notice on the original review that stated clearly:
"It turns out Decimation X3 originated 13 years before Space Invaders Extreme."
Our request was inspired by our support of the Indie Game Chick Bundle. In doing so, we were sending our fans to the accusational review. We did not wish to confused our fans by subjecting them to an untrue account of history that painted us as frauds. Since 'who came first' is a fact, not an opinion, a simple notice would quickly and cleanly clarify the issue.
Indie Gamer Chick did one better and offered to do a re-review of Decimation X3 because she was also unhappy with her false accusations. A month later her re-review turned out to be an opinion piece laced with defensive wording and an attempt to belittle our efforts to clarify the truth. It seemed as though she could not admit to her mistakes in a clear manner and decided to defend herself instead.
She blamed the obligation of the re-review on us. Where is the journalistic integrity? I want to make it clear, despite insinuations to the contrary, Indie Gamer Chick re-reviewed the game on her own doing. We did not ask for the old review to be pulled offline or censored, nor did we ask for a new review to take its place.
A Reviewer's Obligation:
The ordeal has me wishing to spell out the obligations of video game reviewers, which includes knowing your history, researching the genre, researching the game's origins, researching the studio's past work, and being intellectually honest. Do research and show facts when you bash a company. When you make assumptions, you risk being wrong. And, if you are pointed out to be wrong, admit to it gracefully and spell out the truth clearly to the readers you have misled.
To Review the Reviewer:
It also has me wishing to raise consciousness of the fact that game developers are allowed to review poor game reviews, and should not be labelled negatively when doing so. As it stands now, if a game studio defends themselves, it comes off as complaining. I understand this. This is a part of doing PR for an indie studio. But, it should change. We are indie. That means it is just two guys, often just one. And we have the freedom to say what we want, but sometimes people are gravely misunderstood.
Origins of Decimation X3:
History is interesting.
Jason's Space Invaders '97 was our own unique and special derivative of TI Invaders, with inspiration from Raiden. We consider TI Invaders to be the best Space Invaders clone ever. Jason's game came out 12 years before Space Invaders Extreme and over 7 years before the original Geometry Wars, noted for its intense retro style. The Decimation X series is our professional release of this game.
- 1978: Space Invaders released.
- 1981: TI Invaders released; An influence on Decimation X and a clone of Space Invaders.
- 1982: Space Invaders and Galaga style (known as "gallery shooters") prototypes designed by seven-year-old Xona Games authors.
- 1990: Raiden released; An influence on Decimation X.
- 1996: Space Invaders '97, our Decimation X prototype developed; When Decimation X started.
- 1997: Space Invaders '97, our Decimation X prototype finished;
- 2003: Geometry Wars, released on original Xbox; Often thought to be the original intense retro game.
- 2008: Space Invaders Extreme released on Nintendo DS and PSP
- 2009: Space Invaders Extreme released on XBLA; The game Decimation X "cloned".
- 2010: Decimation X, X2, X3 released on XBLIG and WP7
Screenshots help tell the story:
Space Invaders '97... made by us in 1996 (finished by 1997).
Decimation X... made by us in 2010.
Space Invaders Extreme... made by Jeff Minter in 2008.
Even though the visual above show the true history, we do adopt a similar retro/visual style as the famed Jeff Minter. Our Decimation X3 review on Reviews on the Run mentions a likeness to Jeff Minter. His games, as Wikipedia states, "feature something of a psychedelic element". We like his visual style, but we do our gameplay differently.
If you think the visuals look different enough, the gameplay is even more distinctive.
We specialize in tight gameplay that the hardcore Japanese players adopt. And we are not fans of the gameplay in Space Invaders Extreme. And it's no offense to Jeff Minter, as we simple take our games down a different path. We feel and take pride when others note, "If you liked Space Invaders Extreme - you'll love Decimation X. It is, dare I say, much better...".
All of this said, it's amazing we had one fan dig deep enough into our history to discover the true origin of Decimation X. This would have been a tough story to know, but it goes to show, know your history!
Jason posted a very clarifying quote:
"I want to make one fact clear: Decimation X3 is not a clone / inspiration / knock off of Space Invaders Extreme. Not in any way. Not even remotely. The original Decimation X game was developed in 1997, a full 12 years before Space Invaders Extreme.
Decimation X series is inspired by TI Invaders, which is a clone of the original Space Invaders. (TI Invaders was made 3 years after than the original, but it was — by far — the best clone ever made, even better than the original. It had new invaders giving the feeling of level progress and bonus levels.) Decimation X series is TI Invaders on crack / steroids / red bull. It’s the same basic gallery shooter with ideas from TI Invaders, but the gameplay elements are original: bullet rain, precise motion, small hit box, crazy particles, many different power-ups, constant rain of power-ups, icon showers, multi-layer shields, etc. Reviews on the Run mentioned two things they’ve never seen before in any game; not bad for a genre impossible to innovate within. The original 1997 game even had 4-player co-op, making it a first.
Also Decimation X costs 10% the price of Space Invaders Extreme. You can buy 10 copies for a single copy of Extreme. And it’s more fun."
Indie Gamer Chick:
P.S. We love Indie Gamer Chick!
About the Author: I am Matthew Doucette of Xona Games, an award-winning indie game studio that I founded with my twin brother. We make intensified arcade-style retro games. Our business, our games, our technology, and we as competitive gamers have won prestigious awards and received worldwide press. Our business has won $180,000 in contests. Our games have ranked from #1 in Canada to #1 in Japan, have become #1 best sellers in multiple countries, have won game contests, and have held 3 of the top 5 rated spots in Japan of all Xbox LIVE indie games. Our game engines have been awarded for technical excellence. And we, the developers, have placed #1 in competitive gaming competitions -- relating to the games we make. Read about our story, our awards, our games, and view our blog.