Plagiarism in the Arcade?
by Christine Lay
So, what does "plagiarism" mean? Well, according to my trusty Reader's
Digest Oxford Complete Wordfinder, plagiarism is defined as "the act of
plagiarizing".....which was like yeah...a lot of "help". Grr...the stupid
things wordfinders have on them these days! Wasn't that definition like,
sort of obvious?!
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Anyway, upon digging furthur into that good 'ol wordfinder, I finally found
the definition I wanted under "plagiarize" which is defined as: "take and
use (the thoughts, writings, inventions, etc, of another person) as one's
Normally, we would associate plagiarizing with books and quotes. However,
is there such a thing as plagiarizing in the arcade centre? Well, I'm no
expert at all this but I'll let you, the lovable reader (and I really love
you coz you're reading my coloumn) decide.
But first, let me paint you a scenario:
Note: You might wanna change a few details in this scenario...maybe the guy
in there dosen't look like such a nerd...might be a cute babe...or some ten
ft. tall monster who looks like he can beat the crap outta the machine
itself if it happens to win him.
You are lurking in your arcade centre one fine day, waiting for your turn to
the Samurai Shodown/KOF97/MSH vs SF/ etc. machine, and you spot this guy with who
happens to use the exact same character you're using. You sneer in your
mind as you think: Ha! This guy's using my character! Let's see if he's as
good as me at it or not...
Upon observing him playing a few moments later, you feel the sudden urge to
grab him by his scrawny little neck and dunking him into the toilet bowl (or
something like that...use your imagination in what u wanna do to him) You
wanna pull your hair out and scream!!! And why? Because this guy, who
looks like a total nerd who does not know how to play is definitely better
than you, with moves you can only dream of. And you feel J-E-A-L-O-U-S!!!
I can assure you that such a behaviour is only natural and normal for arcade
players. An arcade player sort of regards the characters he use in a game
as belonging to him and only he alone can bring out the best in the
character in his expert hands. It's perfectly normal, I swear. Maybe it's
got something to do with our egoes...:þ
Anyway, you start getting murderous thoughts and you start silently cursing
that player to die dIe DIE!! However, you've gotta do all this while
keeping your face blank - you might wanna even look just a bit bored. Just
in case that stupid nerd playing the game notices your anger and jealously
and starts to gloat. No way man, you are NOT gonna give him that satisfaction!
After much whining and fuming, you finally settle down to plot. You start
looking discreetly at his fingers, trying to figure out just how he does
those moves. When you finally get the sequence of those execution of moves,
you carefully memorize and save them into your mind. When the
idiot-who-happens-to- be-better-than-you finally finishes the game and gets
up, you start forward towards the machine...only to change your mind. You
decide to wait until he leaves, or you might wanna go to another arcade
centre. You're not gonna let him see you attempt to execute HIS moves. The
object of your hatred gets up and walks past you. You try to look bored and
sniff a little as if to say "Ha! I could do better than THAT!"
As soon as Mr. Know-it-all is out of the picture, you jump into action. You
start to practise those moves. Months/weeks/days/hours/minutes/seconds (all
this depends on your ability to pick up new moves) pass and you finally
manage to perfect those moves. Yeah! You've finally managed to do that
wolverine air combo followed up by a fatal claw - all in the air! You are
ecstatic! You feel wonderful! YOU ARE THE MAN!
Time passes and you continue to use those moves you stole (you wouldn't
think of it as stealing of course), maybe even improving them a bit to make
them cause even more damage. People gather around you when you start to
play...you can hear them going "ooh!", "aahh!" and "he's soooo good at it!"
behind your back. Your ego swells till it can swell no more. However,
unbeknownest to you, a pair (maybe even more) of eyes stare at you
disapprovingly as they monitor your hands, as if trying to figure out how
you execute those moves...
Some more time passes by and one day, you go into the arcade centre to find
a huge crowd gathering over the machine. Squeezing past everyone, you look
at the twerp playing. Then it hits you...."HEY!" you scream indignantly.
"He's using MY moves!!!".....
Sound familiar? Well, I'm quite sure that it has happened to some of you
before...not in such an exaggerated form though...
So is that plagiarism or not? Well, it might be in a way, but I prefer to
term it as "learning from someone who's better than me - 'till I perfect
those moves and beat the crap outta him." ;)
This situation is unavoidable, as there are only so much moves and tactics
in a game. Besides, I'm quite sure the person whom you got the moves from
probably stole it from some other guy or game booklet. So, unlike
plagiarism in books, plagiarism in the arcade might not be that bad a thing.
After all, you learn some thing new and it makes you a better player. Most
of us who "stole" a move usually change it a little to suit our playing
patterns, and as time passes, we forgot that we "stole" it in the first
place and regard that move solely as our own - which might explain why we
might feel a bit pissed when we see someone else using exactly the same
thing when playing.
By the way...remember that wolverine combo mentioned above? It's possible
to do all that. I know the moves and I'M NOT GONNA TELL YOU! And where did
I get it? Well...I sorta...um...borrowed it from this guy I saw playing in