The six biggest gaming rip-offs

Imitation is rife in the gaming world. But while it may be the sincerest form of flattery, imitation doesn't always create better products. We've rounded up the six smartest ideas that have been rehashed to see whether the original or the imitator is the better product.

When it comes to games, all manufacturers are guilt of imitating other's products and ideas — whether its customisable console, unique accessories and even firmware updates. Imitation is after all the sincerest form of flattery, and the re-hashed ideas and products usually build on the success of the original.

We've rounded up the six smartest ideas that have been redone by competitors, although it has not always been for the better.

6. Avatars

The Originator: Nintendo, who brought personalisation to a new level with Miis. The simple little characters are then playable in certain games, giving gamers even greater affinity with the cute mascots.

The Imitator: If internet rumor is to be believed, Microsoft is considering the idea of introducing 'Avatars' to the Xbox 360. These cute, customisable characters are also rumored to be incorporated into a multitude of games.

The Winner: Miis. Nintendo has incorporated them so successfully into the Wii brand that there's no way a newly introduced concept like Avatars can hope to compare.

5. Wii White

The Originator: Apple, who saw a bar of soap years ago and realised it would be the perfect primer for home electronic products. Whether it's an iPod, iBook or the iPhone 3G, Apple knows people can't turn away from the white.

The Imitator: Nintendo, like Apple, knows that offering a variety of colors is key- see the rainbow of available colors for both the iPod and Game Boy brand. However, it took the company a few consoles to realise the great first color is the complete absence of one. Both the Wii and DS started with one color - white - that has become synonymous with Nintendo's brand this generation.

The Winner: Draw. Nintendo went with the 'rainbow of color options' concept years before Apple, but the iPod made white electronics acceptable. Apple hasn't really tested the gaming waters (yet), so this isn't as egregious an infringement.

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Dave Rudden

GamePro (online)

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