Update: The app is now back at $1. WTF Apple?

Original post:

A while back I got a mail from a fan who asked “when will Garden Gnome Carnage come to iPhone?” I answered that he should be on the look-out for an announcement soon, as we do have plans to release GGC on iOS!

The funny thing was that he replied and said “I see the game’s out now, congrats! One thing though, and I mean no disrespect by it: why is the iOS port’s graphics dumbed down 10x? I was really looking forward to pixel art goodness. I was, in a word, disappointed.”

I was very puzzled by this reply, since we haven’t released the game on iPhone yet! So I checked it out – and lo and behold – someone has stolen our game and put it on AppStore.

In this industry it’s not uncommon to see games that are very familiar to one another. But this is one different. Here’s a rundown on what they stole from our game:
  • The name. The frickin’ name as seen in the icon and main menu is “Garden Gnome Carnage”.
  • The Music and sound. We’re talking ripping files here. It’s the exact same music – lifted from our release.
  • The theme. Graphically, everything looks exactly like our game – but much worse.
  • The Gameplay. Very (very) badly emulated swing gameplay. Same core, but oh so badly done.
  • The instruction screens. Looks like he painted over the screens with his own graphics.
Suffice to say – I was, and am, pretty pissed. Not only has someone stolen our game, but we have also got bad publicity with our fans that expected more from an iPhone port of GGC!

I have already been in contact with Apple, and I hope they will take it down as soon as possible. I noticed the price has been dropped and it’s now free – I assume Apple did this during the investigation. Or the Grinch (as I call him) did it when Apple sent him a notice.

Another thing the Grinch did during the last 24 hours was to remove his Twitter account. It was up yesterday when I looked, but it’s down today. I assume this was in response to some form of notice from Apple – it looks like he’s going into hiding now. I still got his name and picture though, and his profile is still up on some other communities he uses.

I hope this blog post will somehow reach him, and he’ll remove the app of his own free will. And if not that, I hope Apple see the theft for what it is and remove it. Regardless, I’m positive this will be resolved shortly, and that you all can look forward to the REAL Garden Gnome Carnage for iOS very soon!

Filed in News

32 thoughts on "The Grinch who stole Christmas"

  1. Pingback: Matthew Wirick
  2. Pingback: Matthew Wirick
  3. Aquin says:

    You guys certainly aren’t the first and you won’t be the last. A lot of high-profile indie games continue to be stolen and re-released on Apple’s iPhone.

    Apple’s response? They allow it to continue, as they most certainly will do so in your case. I’m starting to think going after the thieves is a waste of time.

    Seeing as how Apple is profiting off stolen work, they’re susceptible to copyright law. Any one indie dev trying to do something alone would be impossible… but maybe we need to band together and really put it to them.

    Because their lack of policing seriously needs to end.

  4. at first I was like wtf? and I’m still like because it’s stolen property wtf?

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  11. Steve says:

    At the very least you should file an injunction against the party that did this. But I’d threaten him/them with a lawsuit as well. I had someone do something similar with a game I made in the 90s, and ended up getting a mid-5 figure settlement out of it. (I could have tried to get more in court, but they would have just closed shop and filed bankruptcy. Sometimes you have to look at the reality of the situation, especially with smaller companies.)

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  16. josh g. says:

    Forget just getting the game taken down. You should be sending Apple notice that any sales revenue of the game should be sent directly to you, not him.

    This isn’t just an extreme case of game cloning, this is blatant copyright infringement. (The kind that IP law was actually meant to protect against.) IANAL, but I think it’s safe to say you could *easily* sue for lost revenue.

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