i think those are fair points, however, both of those are basically the same point: that they aren't "original". i don't think that's necessarily a bad thing though, not every game can be original. if not for all the unoriginal doom clones that were released shortly after doom was, there would be no fps genre. unoriginal clones are just a side effect of the formation of a genre. look at minecraft-likes and tower defense games for more examples; as any genre forms you are going to get a bunch of clones, it's just how the process works
it's like, if there's less than a few hundred games in a genre, we call them all 'clones' of the original game, if there's several thousand games in a genre, we just call them games in a genre
Well, I mean I do think that they are two separate things. At their root, yes, both of them are essentially "A group of people have gaps in their knowledge and therefore find this interesting."
Specifically, this type of soft DRM has been in effect since at least '94 (since I know Earthbound has it), perhaps longer. I guess the irony here is that the made it specifically about piracy, which some people find hilarious? I think it merited about half a smirk from me, but there's no accounting for taste.
As for cloning? Yeah, I understand that there is room in a genre for similarity, and that as more games come along that's how a genre is formed. With that, I think all games fall along a continuum of relation to any other game which is something like:
Clone (Luftrauser Clone -> Luftrauser)
Near Clone (Ninja Fishing -> Ridiculous Fishing)
I think most people recognize that the "Clone" is bad. The "Near Clone" is where things get very grey and muddy. I'm not saying this game is a full "Clone" but I think it sits in between "Clone" and "Near Clone".
I think VDZ's point about 'Falling block puzzle games' being a genre but 'Tetris' not being a genre is the correct distinction. Obviously, similar games are going to exist, and that's entirely ok (and a good thing as seemingly small tweaks to a game can reveal new things about a genre). But this doesn't seem to bring anything new to the table (except for the 'cute' DRM).
Yeah, management games have existed, and obviously there are going to be similarities between games of the same genre. But even looking at Kairosoft, they produce very similar games, but they always bring something new to the table. I'm having trouble putting it into words, so I'll go through some management games to try to make my point.
Rollercoaster Tycoon vs Zoo Tycoon: Very similar gameplay (in that it is all about managing customer reactions), but the difference in theming and other mechanics (like the rollercoaster creation) mean these seem suitably distant.
Rollercoaster Tycoon vs Theme Park: Despite similar gameplay and theme these games feel different. Perhaps it's the humor of Theme Park, or the greater emphasis on Rollercoasters in Rollercoaster Tycoon, but I wouldn't say that Rollercoaster Tycoon is a clone of Theme Park.
Game Dev Story vs Game Dev Tycoon: I find it hard to find any differences here. The gameplay is the same. The theme is the same. The graphics are different? Their font choices are bad? Not sure that they are pushing the genre forward in any sort of substantive way.