Most of us can tell the difference between an homage and a rip off. For instance: Hot Tub Time Machine = homage to the '80s. Dane Cook = shitty rip-off of Louis C.K. Hipster beards = homage to child molesters. Jerkin’ = rip-off of a baby giraffe with cerebral palsy learning how to walk. It's simple, really. There's paying reference (and deference) to the trailblazer that came before you, or there's a cheap imitation. And never the twain shall meet.

Of course, as lovers of both pop culture at large and video games specifically, we’ve become accustomed to the constant re-use of gaming tropes and mechanics. On the positive side, there are numerous games—like 3D Dot Game Heroes—that manage to walk that mud-covered line between homage and rip-off with finesse, acquitting themselves as a love letter to a much-loved formative game. But we’ve also seen numerous blatant, inferior rip-offs spurt from the loins of some hack developer looking to make a conscience-free dollar. We're not saying that's what Capcom has on their hands, but they're nonetheless being accused of plagiarism; their new iPhone game MaXplosion bears more than a few imilarities to last year's great downloadable 'Splosion Man. And Jah knows they're not the first, so let's take a look back at some of the most egregious examples of games ripping off games...

By Ryan Woo