The Mockbuster
aka: Mockbuster

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Mockbuster_-_RatatouilleRatatoing_9422.jpg
A clever rat knows how to get the freshest ingredients: by stealing from another restaurant — or animation studio, as the case may be...

"Another great knock-off is DVDs. The ones that are slight variations of slightly animated kids' movies. The kind they put right next to the check-out line, so Grandma might accidentally mistake it for the real thing. And they have titles like, The Secret Princess and Her Oppressive Authority Figure 4, and the always-popular Jungle Animals in Decidedly Non-Jungle Situations."
Strong Bad, Homestar Runner, Strong Bad Email #190, "licensed"

In principle, the Mockbuster is a bit like a movie with an Alternative Pornographic Name, but there's generally no nudity. It's not part of a pair of Battling Films, because it can't even afford the fare to get to the ring where the shows duke it out. A mockbuster is a movie that is suspiciously similar to another more popular, more well-known — and, let's face it, more "real" — movie, to the point of being the copy of an entire film. Why? Trying to Make Money Off a Popular Idea, of course.

Because they're generally made by no-name studios to make a quick buck, the biggest difference between mockbusters and the movies they're based on is budget. The mockbuster has serious budget restrictions. Think "three kids with a cellphone" production values. The writing is usually subpar, too—the producers aren't striving for Genuine Artistry; they're trying to rip off a more popular idea in an attempt to con gullible consumers. Of course, depending on what they're copying, and the fact that it's probably not out yet when they start making the mockbuster, the original might not have been such a cinematic masterpiece itself.

However, if there's one thing mockbusters can do well, it's Duplicate Titles. Their designs and logos, like the colors of a viceroy butterfly, are designed to resemble the "real" movies they're copying as closely as possible. Remember, Titles Usually Fib. They also pick titles similar to the original, often containing similar words, or made-up words that sound the same.

The people mockbusters tend to appeal to seem to fall into four brackets: kids too young to know the difference between the real deal and the fake; people who might get the two confused when looking for something for their kids and grandkids; parental Propriety Police who want to get their children The Upstanding Alternative to a mainstream film that is more in line with their values; and Nerds, who aren't fooled at all, but who watch them for their awesome badness. Bad stuff is interesting! As such, they tend to be sold in supermarket magazine racks, pharmacy gift racks, and grab bags in outlet shops.

The rare cases of mockbusters that might actually try to do something "artistic" are those adapting Out Of Copyright works, though again, generally only if a more "popular" story adapting the same work came out recently. This phenomenon sometimes applies to live theater as well with regards to public domain works (Pixie Stories, The Theater Spirit) that have had a more popular version created that smaller theater companies could never produce on their own. Alternately, sometimes a degree of artistic merit comes in when the cast/crew Ham Up The Cheesy Movie.

Mockbusters tend to be made in countries outside of the US, as if in "response" to a coming American blockbuster. Those might change the plot based unobtanium to something more in touch with their national sensibilities (the Indian Ultraguy mockbuster has him getting his powers from a god, for example) and the genre might skew towards one more popular in that country (the Brazilian series Non-Villains is somewhat like a soap opera).

How do all of these copyright friendly guys get away with it? Often times, it's simply a matter of obscurity. Sure, that "Larry Baxter" guy on the back of the cereal box who has to find the "Gilded Stitch" is pretty similar to some book you read, but how much money is there really to be made from suing some company that designs bargain-basement cereal boxes? They are also helped by the fact that many people assume All Animation Is Disney anyway; it's not technically their fault if you just so happen to mistake Leo The Lion: King of the Jungle for a Disney film. As well, they're not actually breaking any copyright laws if, like the original, they're simply adapting Public Domain Stories. Somebody else already made popular films based on The Deformed Guy In The Cathedral or The Small Sea-Girl, you say? What a coincidence.

See also Similar Erotica Names (when this is applied to porn), Crappy Ripoff Items (when this is applied to commercial products), Product Codes Removed, and Same Name, Completely Different Plot Sequels (when old foreign movies have their titles for the re-release changed in order for them to cash-in from current blockbusters).

Has nothing to do with the Mythtesters or Phantomcatchers.

UK Created For Television Film channel Movies 24 ran a Mockbuster season, deliberately confusing the derivatives with the originals and calling out the trope by name. It includes The Terminators, Aliens Versus Hunters, Transmorphers Fall of Man and Snakes on a Train.


Examples (potholes lead to pages of the films being copied unless the copy itself has an article):

    open/close all folders 

    Asian Animation 

    Film - Animation 

    Film - Live Action 
  • Gamera is a unique case of a mockbuster becoming its own series.
  • The Asylum is a company that mostly makes mockbusters and bad "Christian" movies, and are quite cynical about it. In fact, there's a news article in their website that states (and these are the actual words they use) "We've decided to use some of the billions of dollars we've made ripping people off..." The majority of the examples in this section are Asylum productions. A blog entry advertising a sale on their films: "You'd have to illegally download to get a better deal than that... but then you'd just be stooping to our level...". Their DVD covers have quotes from uncredited sources, which is illegal, unless they're making those up, too.
    • 10 Million B.C.
    • The 18 Year-Old Virgin
    • 30,000 Leagues Under the Sea
    • 2012: Doomsday
    • The Almighty Thor, featuring a Thor with an Uzi. Asylum, you've done it again!
    • Universal successfully sued The Asylum for their movie American Battleship for being too obvious of an attempt to fool viewers into thinking it's Battleship. The Asylum had to change the name of their movie to American Warships, though this is less than the result Universal were hoping for. It's still rented and sold in many countries as American Battleship, though (and damned if you can find out who made the film from its cover; it's nowhere to be found).
    • Abraham Lincoln Vs. Zombies, presently buried in the fun part of Netflix.
    • Alan Quartermain and the Kingdom of Gold, which re-purposes the classic character as an Indiana Jones Captain Ersatz.
    • AVH: Alien Vs. Hunter, which despite its source pulls out a surprising twist ending. The hunter aliens are humans...from another planet.
    • Atlantic Rim. The monsters attack New York. When it was released on disc in June 2013, its page on Amazon.co.uk had a note saying (approximately) "Were you looking for Pacific Rim? Click here to be notified when the real thing comes out."
    • Battle of Los Angeles
    • Bone Alone (Home Alone if Kevin McCallister was a dog)
    • Bound (2015) is an obvious attempt to cash in on Fifty Shades of Grey
    • The Day The Earth Stopped. Notable for prompting Fox to take legal action, though said case was dismissed - if The Asylum is good one thing, it's at avoiding true infringement.
    • Death Racers (the cover art of which also bears a strong Death Proof influence). Note that Violent J of the Insane Clown Posse, who stars in this movie, said that it is "the bootleg ripoff fake version" of Death Racers at the 2008 Gathering of the Juggalos. Interestingly, it is a ripoff of a remake, but is closer to the original than said remake.
    • Halloween Night was a cash-in on Halloween (2007), down to a Suspiciously Similar Song of the franchise's iconic theme tune.
    • The Asylum were given a court order preventing them releasing The Age of Hobbits three days before The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. How did they think they'd get away with that, when "Hobbit" is a trademark of the Tolkien estate? Because "Hobbits" in their title refers to Homo floresiensis, obviously.
    • I Am Omega, which even also bills itself as an adaptation of the book I Am Legend. Their choice of "Omega" is interesting because The Omega Man was the title of a previous film adaptation of I Am Legend.
    • Jailbait is a mockbuster of Orange Is the New Black. They even have on the front of the DVD box, "In the vein of Orange is the New Black".
    • King of the Lost World, which claims to be based on Arthur Conan Doyle's book The Lost World, but is a clear King Kong ripoff. In fact, the cover art even goes so far as to point out that Doyle's book inspired King Kong (1933) (which is true, but hardly justifies such ridiculousness). It also says that the "story" it's based on inspired Jurassic Park!
    • They released an adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' The Land that Time Forgot released just in time to counter the Land of the Lost movie.
    • A modern adaptation of Moby-Dick. Ahab (Barry Bostwick) is a Navy captain who repurposes his high-tech submarine to track down Moby Dick, here a prehistoric whale the size of an aircraft carrier, after it took his leg decades ago. Despite being made by The Asylum, it's not half-bad and features many references to the original story.
    • The Mega Shark franchise got in on the action with an Attack on Titan mockbuster entitled Mega Shark vs. Kolossus, in which Mega Shark fights a Humongous Mecha version of the Colossal Titan. The Japanese release is even called Mega Shark vs. the Titan.
    • Paranormal Entity. Its sequel 8213: GACY HOUSE is apparently some kind of Paranormal Activity 2 rip-off. It was actually released in the UK as Paranormal Entity 2 (though it's more likely that it was due to the John Wayne Gacy case not being as well known outside the US).
    • Pirates of Treasure Island. "We're not stealing from Disney; they're stealing from Stevenson!"
    • Princess Of Mars made it out while the legitimate John Carter adaptation was still stuck in Development Hell. May be a mockbuster of Avatar instead, based on the promotional material. Starring Traci Lords in the title role.
    • Sherlock Holmes (Asylum) can use the name since he's a Public-Domain Character), featuring Gareth David-Lloyd (Ianto in Torchwood) as Dr. Watson. Holmes investigates a case with tentacle monsters, androids, dinosaurs, and robot dragons setting fire to Parliament. Attempts Rule of Cool to the twenty-third power. Also of note; despite using a character whose entire works are available for free online, they apparently couldn't even be bothered to spend five minutes skimming the Wikipedia article; in this film, Sherlock's name isn't actually Sherlock, his brother's name is not Mycroft, the brother worked as a detective alongside Lestrade instead of founding the Diogenes Club...
    • Sinister Squad
    • Snakes On A Train. Incidentally, that one did provoke a lawsuit.
    • Universal Soldiers (note the plural)
    • The Terminators (Again, note the plural).
    • Titanic II. It's not a sequel to Titanic, though, but a new film about a totally different ship called the Titanic 2.
    • Transmorphers and Transmorphers: Fall of Man. Although the funny thing about this is that the Transmorphers movies are Terminator ripoffs with a Transformers-sounding name. In fact, it blatantly steals elements from the Transformers films (the robots do transform, albeit badly and slowly, and they are extraterrestrial in origin), The Matrix trilogy (insofar as fashion) and the Terminator films (particularly Salvation). Trifecta! For the toys, there is Beast Tech Fighter, Quick Change, etc.
    • Sunday School Musical to High School Musical. Also The Moral Substitute!
  • Following in The Asylum's footsteps is TomCat Films LLC, the filmography of which is largely mockbusters:
  • Bruno Mattei is the director of a number of mockbusters. For an extensive look into Mattei's films, check out The Bruno Mattei Show, in which Brad Jones discusses the man's filmography with Ed Glaser, Noah Antwiler and other friends. It's quite insightful into how a mockbuster comes to be. For that matter, Bruno's career consists almost entirely of Nazisploitation and Mockbusters, though these were never mutually exclusive. It's almost too bad he's dead - his ripoff of Inglourious Basterds would be... something. The best known are:
    • Back in 1990, there was Terminator II. Which was actually released before the official sequel. Humorously enough, Terminator II is actually a ripoff of Aliens.
    • Robowar with Reb Brown.
    • Jaws 5 (Fourteen More to Go), ripping it off almost word for word.
    • Hell of the Living Dead. Not content with trying to shoehorn the movie into Romero lore, Bruno Mattei lifted much of the soundtrack from Dawn of the Dead (1978), as well as Contamination (which is a ripoff of Alien). Even the uniforms are similar to those in Dawn.
  • Late in 2010, Eric Parkinson, former president of Hemdale (which also made the first Terminator movie), tried to make a cheap CGI animated spin-off of the franchise called Terminator 3000, but production on that movie was halted due to a cease-and-detest letter he received from Pacificor, the then-current owner of the Terminator franchise rights. However, Eric claims that he kept the animation rights to the franchise under Hemdale when he sold the live-action sequel rights to Carolco in 1990, and that he took those rights with him when Hemdale closed down.
  • The War of the Worlds (the title is public domain now) actually got two mockbusters to go with the Spielberg film. One of them actually follows the original story by HG Wells by setting the invasion in Victorian Britain.
  • After the Ju-on franchise had two Direct-to-Video features, two theatrical movies, and an American remake on the way, Ju-Rei came along to copy it as an even cheaper DTV version than the first two were.
  • Tornado!
  • Certain Mystery Science Theater 3000-featured films such as the Conan-inspired Ator series, Escape 2000 (in which people try to Leave the Bronx instead of Escape from New York), Mad Max-alikes Warrior of the Lost World and City Limits, Japanese Planet of the Apes clone Time of the Apes, Hobgoblins (not Gremlins), Pod People (whose name invokes Invasion of the Body Snatchers, while the aliens look like Alf and the plot is ripped right out of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial) and Operation Double 007 a.k.a. Operation Kid Brother (featuring an all-star cast of James Bond veterans and starring Neil Connery, Sean Connery's brother). Escape 2000 is a sequel to a The Warriors knock-off named Bronx Warriors.
  • Alien 3000 for Alien
  • Erotic Indonesian movies in general. A few notable examples.
  • The Italian-produced Alien 2: On Earth. Incidentally, this is the originally conceived plot for the third movie.
  • Italy is also responsible for the Star Wars ripoff Starcrash, which somehow has a John Barry soundtrack and stars Christopher Plummer - and David Hasselhoff!
    • Starcrash may be more (in)famous, but The Humanoid beats it for sheer plagiarism. Whenever possible, props and costumes (and even entire scenes) are copied wholesale from A New Hope, to the point that Starcrash seems completely original in comparison.
  • High School Musical: Sunday School, which is also a blatant rip-off of Sunday School Musical. A mockbuster of a mockbuster?
  • After Impact.
  • This was a big problem in Italy during the Spaghetti Western craze of the Sixties. The relaxed copyright law in Italy at the time meant as soon as a character got popular, knockoff movies would appear claiming to star that character. Django, Sabata and Sartana were famous for having their names recycled in knockoffs. (They couldn't do this to the most popular Spaghetti Western character ever, for reasons which are quite obvious if you think about it a little, but it didn't stop one film claiming to be "The Return of Clint the Stranger".)
  • While Curse of the Ring doesn't have anything to do with the Lord of the Rings movies, and is in fact originally called Ring of the Nibelungs - the plot being based off of the Sigfried/Brunhilde/Fafnir saga - the movie's marketing and even logo font really, REALLY tries hard to be mistaken for a Lord of the Rings movie.
  • Almost everything released by Video Asia, the masters of In-Name-Only Sequels. One of the worst offenders, they don't even make their own mockbusters: they just rerelease old foreign movies with different titles.
    • The obscure, forgettable late '80s movie Hells' Heroes was changed to Inglorious Bastards 2: Hells' Heroes. The Cinema Snob reviewed it.
  • Mac and Me, a 1988 ripoff of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial best remembered for its aggressive Product Placement for McDonald's, Coke, and some other stuff. Ironically, unlike most of these examples, Mac was released by a (semi-)major studio: Orion Pictures. It was a rare misstep for them, coming as it did in the middle of a string of highly successful films, including four Best Picture Oscar winnersnote 
  • The Man Who Saves the World and many other Turkish ripoffs of then-popular movies.
  • There were at least two Indian Superman films produced, complete with musical numbers.
  • The Real King's Speech, notable for injecting irony straight into the veins of the audience.
  • Gargantua, a 1998 TV-movie cashing on the then-recent Godzilla.
  • Somewhat unfairly, the original Battlestar Galactica movie was accused early on of being a rip off of Star Wars, presumably on the basis that after Star Wars debuted, ANY movie set in space was ripping off Star Wars. Legal action was even threatened - but sensibly quickly dropped when it became clear that a setting in space was really the only obvious link between the two.
    • Perhaps a bit more similarities than that: the Cylons are, if only in appearance, a gaggle of chrome plated Darth Vaders and the Viper spaceships are fairly similar to X-Wings with the bottom pair of wings shortened and the top pair removed. Justified in that there's only so many ways you can make a metallic face resemble a human one, and airplanes with the same function tend to look pretty similar and it's reasonable to expect the same to hold true for spaceships.
  • Lady Terminator—basically the same as its namesake, but instead of an android, it's an archaeologist possessed by the Queen of the South Sea. Other than that, according to The Cinema Snob, if you haven't seen Terminator, but you've seen Lady Terminator, you've seen Terminator.
  • Cowboys & Aliens was ripped off by Cowboys And Vampires and Cowboys And Zombies.
  • Bloody Murder, which is about a group of young people hired to fix up and act as the counselors of a secluded summer camp with a dark past involving a drowned boy. Unfortunately for them, a maniac adorned in a hockey mask starts knocking them off. Sound familiar? There's even a character named Jason. When he disappears, we get several scenes of people asking "Where's Jason?" or "Have you seen Jason?"
    • 1981 saw the release of Srigala, an Indonesian rip-off of Friday the 13th, which goes as far as doing a shot-for-shot recreation of the infamous ending scare.
  • Chihuahua: The Movie is audacious enough to admit that it's a film for those who like Beverly Hills Chihuahua.
  • 3 Dev Adam (Three Big Men) is a notorious 1973 Turkish film featuring three famous (and extremely unauthorized) superhero characters: Captain America, Spider-Man, and El Santo. Spidey, of all people, is actually the sadistic villain of the piece.
  • True Bloodthirst, seen on (where else?) Syfy.
  • The Tuxedo is Dreamworks' take on Disney's Inspector Gadget movie.
  • The Godfrey Ho Ninja Movies are this for the ninja movie craze that existed at the time.
  • Subverted with Boy Eats Girl; it was never intended to be a Scary Movie mockbuster, but its Scandinavian title, Scary Video 5, gives the impression of this (four Scary Movie movies had been made at the time when Boy Eats Girl went on video).
  • Poseidon Rex, a monster film featuring an amphibious dinosaur that threatens the human race. It had been on DVD since October 2013, but it was given a special theatrical release in April 2014 to get some more publicity in the wake of the hype surrounding Godzilla (2014).
  • The Devil Within Her's plot is very similar to Rosemary's Baby, and one of its alternate titles is Sharon's Baby.
  • Codename Wild Geese - cunningly disguised as a sequel to The Wild Geese, complete with Lewis Collins—who was apparently fired off Wild Geese II for his role in the rip-off, having had a contract with Wild Geese producer Euan Lloyd.
  • The Black Cobra is a Blaxploitation ripoff of Cobra.
  • Supersonic Man is an Italian clone of Superman: The Movie.

    Live Action TV 
  • The Hamas-made kid's show Tomorrow's Pioneers features characters who are blatant ripoffs of American cartoons, though said characters are given radical Islamist twists by the writers.
  • Belarus' state-owned television station briefly produced and ran a sitcom called The Theorists which was about a group of nerdy physicists who befriend their attractive female neighbor. Yes, it was an unauthorized copy of The Big Bang Theory. CBS and Warner Bros. had actually begun legal proceedings when the cast and producers of The Theorists discovered their show was a ripoff note  and quit en masse, forcing its cancellation..
  • The direct-to-video series Peppermint Park (infamous for its Uncanny Valley puppet designs and its "The Letter M" sketch) is a particularly blatant Mockbuster of Sesame Street.
  • Mega Powers, a Power Rangers knockoff.
  • Aryamaan - Brahmaand Ka Yoddha, an Indian knockoff of Star Wars. It is a rare case of a movie franchise being ripped off by an entire TV series. The show itself is referred to by its producer as "an Indian version of the famous Star Wars", but it's such a blatant knockoff that it can't even be considered a "version of" Star Wars. Aside from the obvious lightsaber knockoffs, the opening also is the famous Opening Scroll (but in Hindi!), the "Thar Planet" is very clearly a Tatooine knockoff, there is a superweapon that resembles the Death Star with a grimacing face, the robot Tobot bears a striking resemblance to C-3PO, a planet is seen being destroyed in Alderaan fashion, the king's multiple wives wear saffron robes very similar to those of Padme's handmaidens...

     Literature 
  • The Russian/Eastern Bloc books series The Wizard of the Emerald City is a re-telling of the Land of Oz stories by L. Frank Baum. In some editions, in the afterword the author, Volkov, acknowledges the 'inspiration', but more often than not this was omitted when printing. As the series was published in 1939, this makes it Older Than Television - though barely so.

    New Media 
  • "Did You Know Gaming" is a Tumblr blog featuring little-known facts about video games. "Did Yuo Know Gaming" is a Tumblr blog featuring humorous, false facts about video games.
  • The Tumblr "Imagine Your OTP" lists romantic scenarios for shippers to insert their favorite pairings into. Similarly to the above example, a simple typo reversing two letters gets you to the parody blog. "Imagine Yuor" OTP lists twisted, overly violent, or just plain bizarre situations that only a troll shipper would want to imagine. The blog still manages to get asks from users who confused it with the original and wonder why a romantic shipping blog would post such creepy scenarios.
  • There are definitely many expies of the Angry Video Game Nerd, but the only one who really qualifies as a mockbuster is Isvaffel, mainly because his earlier videos from 2009 have "Angry Video Game Nerd" of the video (and he kept that title in the intro).

    Pinball 

    Tabletop Games 

    Theater 
  • Since the source novel is in the public domain, musical versions of The Phantom of the Opera ran rampant in the 1990s (regional tours, community theaters, etc.) to cash in on Andrew Lloyd Webber's adaptation — enough so that Time magazine did a whole article on the phenomenon. But not all of them qualify as this trope: Ken Hill's version is the one that inspired Lloyd Webber to take his own stab at the story in the first place, and Maury Yeston and Arthur Kopit's Phantom was actually written around the same time as Lloyd Webber's but couldn't get produced until afterwards due to the competition. One of the mockbusters was videotaped and later released on DVD, and the Phantom Reviewer took it on.
  • Similarly, a few stage musical versions of The Hunchback of Notre Dame appeared around 1996, perhaps hoping to compete with a Screen-to-Stage Adaptation of the Disney movie, which was considered likely in the wake of Beauty and the Beast. Disney's version had a successful theatrical adaptation in Germany in 1999 but has not been staged elsewhere.
  • Cirque Productions and Le Grand Cirque are companies that are this to Cirque du Soleil (seriously, compare the websites), to the point that the former was sued for using "Cirque" in their name; it didn't work, since that's just the French word for "circus". Judging from reviews at Ticketmaster's website, the former's shows have successfully tricked ticket buyers who didn't do the research and thought they saw an actual CDS show. It doesn't help that, until 2006, CDS tours only visited major cities, and thus knockoff troupes could make hay by visiting places that weren't. As well, knockoffs often have extended runs in casino-heavy towns like Atlantic City and Reno, as opposed to Las Vegas, where the real deal has put down roots.
  • If a popular fairy or folk tale gets adapted into a Disney Animated Canon film, expect a knockoff stage version to tour the children's theater/school group circuit soon after, and perhaps be available to community theaters after that. The Enchantment of Beauty and the Beast is a good example.
  • The album of Jesus Christ Superstar was released before the theatre show or movie were, resulting in multiple adaptations touring the stages before the official release.

    Video Games 
  • The company Gameloft applies a similar concept to video games, where they release shameless copies of well-known franchises (usually on cellphones); the difference here is that their games are usually quite well-made (although some of them, most notably the Mac OS X and 3DS ports of Gangstar: Miami and Asphalt, respectively, were met with negative reception, being that they were lazily ported—especially Gangstar, having outdated graphics compared to the the ones they were imitating). One of their more interesting examples is Shrek Kart, which copies Mario Kart but replaces the cast of well-known characters with a different cast of well-known characters rather than a bunch of Captain Ersatz's (unlike with most of their games).
    • Another thing that makes Gameloft less of a negative thing than other examples on this page: almost all of the games they copy have not yet been released on cellphones/iOS, so they serve a positive role in bringing the genre to mobiles, instead of just competing with better alternatives. Being a subsidary of Ubisoft, they're able to use their licenses such as Assassin's Creed and Brothers in Arms to make mobile/iOS games as well.
    • An even more interesting example: their clone of the Batman: Arkham Series. Wait for it... it's a The Dark Knight Rises licensed game. So they just copied Batman using a different incarnation of Batman.
  • There is a webgame called Chick'n Bash. It's especially odd because there are plenty of other webgames in the "smash the tower" genre that have vastly different aesthetics from Angry Birds.
    • There's a similar one called Chicks'n'Vixens.
    • On the non-avian side, there's Angry Bunnies.
  • An app known as "Hedgehog Dash" was released in 2013. It is a very blatant Sonic the Hedgehog rip-off. The logo for it is basically identical to the Sonic Dash logo. It disappeared just as soon as it came, without obscure reason.
  • Final Combat, the Chinese clone of Team Fortress 2. Characters and gameplay were strikingly similar, and even had their own "Meet the Team"-like videos online. However, it gets even worse when you realize that some weapon models and walk cycles were ripped straight from Team Fortress 2, and one of the stages is a clone of the fan-submitted TF2 map "Harvest".
  • In the same vein, Xuan Dou Zhi Wang is the Chinese interpretation of The King of Fighters (but at least you can say the people making it genuinely like KOF because the gameplay isn't all that bad). The situation has gone meta with the addition of actual KOF characters (Terry Bogard and Benimaru) under license.
  • Many of the unlicensed NES games made by Taiwanese company Sachen fit this category:
  • Several console rip-offs, such as the Funstation and Vii, have been made.
  • There's Pirates: Legend Of The Black Buccaneer, which came out for the PS2 on the heels of the success of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.
  • A significant portion of the indie games one can find on the Xbox Live Marketplace and the Nintendo eShop turn out to be rip-offs of popular games, past and present, including a particularly cheap Minecraft clone titled CastleMiner that even got a zombie-oriented sequel less than four months after its release. Before the Wii U received its own port of Minecraft, the eShop was absolutely flooded with third-rate knockoffs.
  • The Chinese PC game Duludubi Star is a bizarre knockoff of Super Mario Galaxy with Mario replaced with a baby dragon, voice clips stolen from Klonoa, and the Jeopardy! theme, of all things.
  • Smartphone app 3D Cartoon Land: Safari, a transparent and horrendous imitation of Super Mario 3D Land.
  • In December of 2012, Hammerpoint Interactive (one of their members, Sergey Titov, worked on Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing) released a ridiculously poorly made MMO clone of the famous zombie mod DayZ, creatively titled The War Z (later retitled Infestation: Survivor Stories). Let's just say that many, many gamers were not amused. It was SO broken, and the advertising filled with so many lies, that it actually was taken off of Steam, and Valve offered a refundnote .
    • It gets better. Six months development time (despite Hammerpoint insisting otherwise), the developers effectively banning people at random in an inane attempt to get rid of hackers, among other things, and a month before "release", their trademark over the game's name was taken away from them because of Paramount, who had their own trademark for an intended World War Z game, and "The War Z" was obviously way too similar. Naturally, the response from Hammerpoint is to claim this is not the case, despite all evidence against them, until suddenly complying and changing the name as above.
  • Unearthed: Trail of Ibn Battuta appears at first to be just another Action Adventure game, but playing it reveals that it's aped a lot of more popular games, with the Uncharted series being the main target.
  • That Hunchback had already been converted to the Amstrad CPC didn't stop Blaby Computer Games from releasing The Bells, which has the same premise and similar gameplay but painfully bad programming.
  • Taomee has made blatant knockoffs of popular browser online games like Boke and Magic Monster, the former a knockoff of Poptropica and the latter a knockoff of Moshi Monsters.
  • Q Kitty Garden is partially a knockoff of Mushroom Garden.
  • One of the oldest examples in video games is Crazy Kong, a knockoff of Donkey Kong with original programming. Surprisingly, this seems to have been the authorized arcade version of Donkey Kong in some parts of the world.
  • Mega Man actually managed to do this with another Mega Man game, with the DOS version of Mega Man 3, which is a completely different - and inferior - game to the NES Mega Man 3, made by a different company. Not only was the game titled such to cash in on the original (to the point that there is no DOS Mega Man 2; they completely skipped over it,) but they invented a robot master that looks like the robot on the original cover (who is Spark Man in the NES game) to justify using the exact same cover.
  • Harcourt's Mega Math Edutainment Game series is a Mockbuster of Edmark's Mighty Math series. Not only do the two cover the same topics, many of the activities are very similar (e.g. using fiery explosions to teach fractions, using buried treasure to teach the number line), both have the Grow Slide feature, and the logos for each series have the same font! Ironically, after a series of buyouts, both series are currently owned by Houghton Mifflin (though only the Mighty Math series continues to be sold by them as it was the original).
  • No one actually owns the Tycoon trademark, so for every good tycoon game like RollerCoaster Tycoon or Zoo Tycoon, there are dozens if not hundreds of no-budget knockoffs pumped out to capitalize on the name. For example, School Tycoon is unrelated to Rollercoaster Tycoon but has a similar format, albeit revolving around school.
  • Titus Software, in their early years, produced the Classiques series of games for the Amstrad CPC and other then-popular computers. These releases consisted of compilations of generic knockoffs of famous Arcade Games.
  • The unlicensed Sega Genesis game Adventurous Boy is a Chinese knockoff of Fantasy Zone.
  • The BBC Micro has a whole ton of rip-off clones of popular arcade games of the time, many of them produced by Acornsoft itself. Instead of Galaga we have Zalaga, Frogger became Hopper, Asteroids became Meteors, Space Invaders became Super Invaders, Donkey Kong became (the less similar-sounding) Killer Gorilla and so on.
  • The Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, the Sinclair ZX Spectrum and the Dragon 32 also used to have lots of knock-offs during the early times of their lifespan. Eventually, some mighty companies like Ocean Software bought the actual arcade rights to convert the games themselves and strove to remove knock-offs from the shelves, and the programmers of these knockoffs, no longer able to hide themselves behind clones, started creating their own original ideas.
  • Fit of Fighting and History of Martial Arts are ripoffs of Art of Fighting and Fighter's History with plagiarized graphics but a completely different engine.
  • ''Foxotic'' was an MMO that appeared in late 2013 advertised itself as an original MMO for kids. However, thanks to players digging through the game, it was actually a ripoff of Club Penguin, along with Club Penguin inspired MM Os Pandanda and The Travels of Winglingon and Wenks Virtual World. It was later discovered that Foxotic wasn't just a ripoff, it was also made to screw Club Penguin, which is highly unusual since mockbusters are usually made to compliment their original source, rather than make fun of. Fortunately, Foxotic disappeared in early 2015.
  • There was once a video game company known as Phoenix Games, which hilariously touted itself as "The only European super budget publisher" note . The quality of their games implies that their definition of "super budget" is very different from the usual. Many of their games are obviously trying to pass themselves off as video game adaptations of well-known Disney cartoons, including beloved classics like Snow White And The Seven Clever Boys, Lion And The King 3, Mighty Mulan, and the infamous Dalmatians 3.
  • The Arcade Game Puckman Pockimon is essentially a Pac-Man clone where the second player can control an Off-Model Pikachu head. The game's hardware, apparently manufactured by Chinese Sega Genesis bootleggers, is also used for Jue Zhan Tian Huang, a bizarre, poorly-programmed remake of Street Fighter II as a Beat 'em Up.
  • A lot of Rainbow Arts' early output is this. They later abandoned their position once they established highly-selling original video game franchises.
    • Katakis for the Commodore Amiga is their rip-off of the video game R-Type. Funnily enough, Irem found out about this, but since most Japanese publishers had trouble with programming for the Amiga, they hired Rainbow Arts to help port R-Type to the Amiga.
    • The Great Giana Sisters is this to the original Super Mario Bros., to the point where Nintendo actually sent in lawyers. Behold.
  • On the ZX Spectrum, after the initial wave of Arcade Game clones died off, Harry S Price made something of a career of ripping off obscure commercial releases and type-in games from magazines, slightly modifying them and publishing them under different titles.
  • Evil Night, an arcade Rail Shooter released by Konami in 1998, is very much a ripoff of Sega's House of the Dead, which came out the same year. The premise and several of the characters are quite similar (with two of the three protagonists being obvious copies of Thomas Rogan and G). The game is clearly meant to piggyback off of the popularity of the franchise that inspired it, but it eventually spiraled into obscurity when House of the Dead fans christened it a "knockoff" and its problematic arcade hardware helped it disappear from arcades. The game later generated a cult following of sorts.
  • The Ukrainian company GSC Game World, of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. fame, made a game called Warcraft 2000 during the 1990s. This is a glorified mod of Warcraft 2, sold as an official sequel. The plot is about grey aliens manipulating Orcs and Humans to wage war.
  • Super Fighter: This was a mockbuster of Capcom's Street Fighter II made by the Taiwanese company C&E in 1993. The developers even traced some character animations, lifted the sound effects and some music (though with some modifications) from the Street Fighters games and some of the characters are even borderline plagiarism of characters from those games with the most blatant being the Japanese Karateka Jaan (based on Ryu), the Russian wrestler Sarkov (based on Zangief), and the Anime Chinese Girl Phoenix (based on Chun-li). It even has a spin-off called Super Fighter Block Battle. Three guesses what it's based on.
  • Fur Fun, originally known as Kewpie – Jazzy, is a blatant ripoff of Banjo-Kazooie and its Spiritual Successor Yooka-Laylee. It has even been found with the former's assets in the game files, and the failed Kickstarter plagiarized the later's own Kickstarter.
  • Most of the Arcade Games released by Century Electronics for their "Convertible Video System" and/or as conversion kits for Galaxian, Scramble or Donkey Kong boards had gameplay more or less based on popular titles from The Golden Ageof Video Games. Singled out by this retrospective article as "big time" ripoffs are Cosmos (Astro Blaster), Logger (Donkey Kong) and Hunchback Olympic (Track & Field).

    Western Animation 
  • Dogmons!, a Pokémon/Digimon knockoff from the company behind Mega Powers!.
  • The Legend of Lucky Pie is a stylistic knockoff of Adventure Time produced by a handful of young Chinese animators. It stars a humanoid boy named Lucky Pie and a shape-shifting horse named Lucky Ge who go on adventures in a strange fantasy land.
  • Filly Funtasia is this towards the My Little Pony TV shows, specifically Friendship is Magic. The Filly name itself predates Friendship is Magic (being around since G3) but remains this to the My Little Pony franchise as a whole.
  • China has Miracle Star, a rip-off of The Amazing World of Gumball. The creators of Gumball responded by making an episode where the Wattersons meet the knock-off characters, who make money by copying everything they do and posting videos on the internet.
  • Block 13, a Kuwaiti knock-off of South Park. It used the same paper cutout art style as South Park, and also stole that show's main characters and gave them Arab clothes to hide the fact that they originally weren't Kuwaiti characters. It is Lighter and Softer compared to South Park, though.

    Other 

    Parodies 

Alternative Title(s): Mock Buster

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheMockbuster?from=Main.Mockbuster