From Clones to Genre
While genres can be known for a variety of works, they don't always start out that way. Usually they start out as loads of obvious Follow the Leader copies of a Genre Busting or making work, or a Genre Popularizer for a genre so small that this is the first time the mainstream has heard of it. Eventually all the followers stop being that, and start having loads of works that stand on their own. This is the point that you don't just have a bunch of clones, you have a full genre.
This doesn't always happen, though. Kart-racing Video Games have yet to go past just being Mario Kart clones in spite of both Mario Kart and the clones having been around since The Nineties. On the other hand, this can happen almost immediately. Tetris was such a simple game, any clone needed to set itself apart to avoid getting sued.
The opposite is Genre Killer.
- The Cyberpunk and by extension all other Punk Punk Genres were all started by William Gibson's Neuromancer. The first turning point could be argued to be The Matrix, which both popularized the genre, and put an original enough twist on it to turn it into more than just a clone. The Second turning point was when author K.W. Jeter decided to call the genre in which he was writing Steampunk leading to, if not every other work of Punk Punk, at least the idea of Punk Punk as a category.
- As in the quote, the First-Person Shooter started out with the template codified by Doom, to the point that those that came after were commonly called "Doom clones." The turning points are largely accepted to be the first GoldenEye game and Half-Life.
- The Fighting Game was popularized by Street Fighter II, and while some games set themselves apart, like Mortal Kombat, those were through gimmicks like blood. The fighting was still heavily based on SF. Even later Capcom fighters were just SF II clones. The turning point was Virtua Fighter, not just with the Polygonal Graphics, but adding a different style than the acrobatics and special moves of SF II. Later games like Tekken and Soul Calibur added their own dimensions.
- One could argue that the emergence of Tekken and the Soul series merely split the genre into subsets: 2-D fighters and 3-D fighters.
- Now aside from Western RPGs having an open world for years (such as The Elder Scrolls series, going all the way back to Arena), Wide Open Sandbox games were largely clones of Grand Theft Auto III, until deliberate twists on the open world (such as Burnout Paradise, Crackdown and No More Heroes) made it into a full genre.
- Originally, Real Robot shows were Gundam clones. Then came Super Dimension Fortress Macross, which took the genre into more or less what we know today, and finally things like Patlabor and Armored Trooper VOTOMS that went for the very top of the hardness scale.
- The Abridged Series genre was started by Little Kuriboh's Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, but the launch was series afterwards, like Naruto the Abridged Series and Sailor Moon Abridged.
- The Multiplayer Online Battle Arena genre began as a custom map for Starcraft called Aeon of Strife, and Warcraft III and its map editor came out, several maps were created that were styled after AoS. The genre was popularized by Defense of the Ancients, followed by DotA: All-Stars. The popularity of these games spawned such MOBA games as League of Legends, Heroes of Newerth, and Dota 2. The term MOBA was coined by Riot Games for League of Legends as a marketing term specifically because everybody referred to the genre as "DotA clones" and they didn't want their game always being compared to DotA.
- The Pokémon franchise spawned craze in Japan for anything with collectable monsters, that would later be immitated by series such as Dragon Quest (via the Dragon Quest Monsters series) and Telefang (which overseas was ironically sold as a bootleg Pokemon game, after being poorly translated). The collectable monster concept proved successful as a card game as well, when the Pokemon card game was released. This success would lead to Yu-Gi-Oh Duel Monsters becoming extremely successful. The success of Yu-Gi-Oh! lead to imitators trying to get on the bandwagon of making a show about a game, so that kids will want to buy the real version. With so many shows like this out there nowadays, such as Duel Masters, Beyblade, Battle B-Daman, Medabots, Bakugan, and Chaotic just to name a few, one could say that "Card Game Animes" have become a genre. They all feature a tournament arc, talking about what the game is "truly about", and posing dramatically while playing the game.