From Clones to Genre

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"I'm hesitant to use the term Grand Theft Auto clone anymore, because open world games are becoming so ubiquitous that the term feels hopelessly quaint, like how we used to call First Person Shooters Doom clones."

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.

Examples (in order of genre, popularizer, and turning point to full genre):