The 6 most blatantly 'borrowed' gaming concepts of this generation

This gaming generation has seen great innovation, yet it has also seen its fair share of imitation. We pit the originators against the imitators to see who does it better!

With the increase of firmware updates, unique accessories, and customizable consoles we've seen this generation, one company's great idea might not remain exclusive for long. Here's six smart ideas that have been redone by competitors, and sometimes, not for the better.

6- Avatars

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The Originator:

Nintendo, who brought personalization 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, customizable 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

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The Originator:

Apple, who saw a bar of soap years ago and realized it would be the perfect primer for home electronic products. Whether it's an iPod, iBook, or, come mid-July, the 3G iPhone, 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 realize 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.

4- Guitar Hero: World Tour

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The Originator:

Harmonix, who took its Guitar Hero concept and expanded it threefold with Rock Band, introducing a second guitar, vocals, and drums. The game was a great success, spawning a sequel due this September.

The Imitator(s):

Two companies are hoping to follow Harmonix's footsteps this fall. Activision is working on Guitar Hero: World Tour, which will have the same four-piece concept, as well as a custom music mode. Konami is prepping Rock Revolution, which will utilize the company's rich music game pedigree--it developed Guitar Freaks and Drum Mania years before Guitar Hero and Drum Mania.

The Winner:

Rock Band, but not by much. Harmonix hasn't revealed much about Rock Band 2's new features yet, while Konami and Activision have been more forthcoming with details, but an entire year of band dominance has left a near-insurmountable gap between the companies. Guitar Hero does have the name recognition, and Rock Revolution the pedigree, but Rock Band is a proven winner already.

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Dave Rudden

GamePro (online)
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