For every product made there is a cheaper, illegal knockoff version available. But when it comes to video games the level with which some people will try to convince you an Etch-a-Sketch is really an iPad for the colorblind is astounding. And it’s that very commitment to outright deception that has resulted in these blatant rip-offs bound to make someone very upset when they unwrap their gift…
How do you up the ante on a popular game console that already sounds like a cross between a plural pronoun and a body function? With a Chinese clone of the "Wii" that basically says, "When you think Mario Kart, think urine." Alas, you can’t use "Mario Kart" or any Wii games on this because it’s actually a 20-bit game system with enough processing power to let you play an illegal version of "John Madden Football ’91." The system also comes with a WiWimote and something called a WiWipad (which sounds suspiciously like the "wee-wee pads" used to housebreak puppies) but no WiWi nunchuck, which would mean even if the system did offer "WiWi Boxing" you’d spend most of the game just trying to slap your opponent with one hand.
A knockoff of the Sony PSP with a name that practically promises severe hallucinations and extreme paranoia (and features a second name—"Game Advance"—in case you were in the market for a Nintendo handheld unit from 2001), the PCP comes with five games (two of which don’t actually exist). It’s the perfect way to spend an afternoon playing such not-quite classics as "Thunderbolt Airplane" (a flight simulator that may not feature a plane), "Super Mary" (think "Super Mario" but with gender reversal or a very Catholic character), "Nonesuch Fly Racing" (with no details if this is about planes, cars, or house insets), "Street Overlord" (maybe a feudal "Street Fighter"), and everybody’s favorite "Chanticleer Hegemony" (which, if taken literally, would mean a game about rooster dominance).
There are countless Xbox 360 clones, from the PX-3600 to the X-80000 to probably a mislabeled Microsoft Windows XP to even something called "BATTMAN" with the cast of the movie "Batman & Robin" on the box (thereby ensuring dual copyright infringement and scathing reviews). But the X-Game 360 is perhaps one of the best (by which we mean "startling") knockoffs around because in addition to resembling a Babycakes Cake Pop Maker complete with a light zapper, the console is in reality a Mexican 8-bit NES emulator, meaning at least your parents can relive the joy of playing a subtitled "Duck Hunt."
No doubt someone’s gender-neutral answer to Game Boy, the Game Child was a handled game cartridge unit that did not allow for any game cartridges. Instead, where one would normally insert a cartridge there was an empty container in which perhaps you could store loose change or a list of your now dashed childhood hopes and wishes should you have gotten this for Christmas in 1989. In lieu of game cartridges, however, you instead got a single LCD game in which you stopped people from dumping oil on your land by shooting at them with a weapon that resembled a surface-to-air metal detector. The game ended when you hurled the entire unit against your bedroom wall and cried yourself to sleep, dreaming about next holiday season.
Any plans on playing "God of War: Ascension" will immediately end the moment you see the "Z" on the console. Or realize that the unit is no bigger than a Kindle wrapped in a plastic clamshell. Or notice that this video game console isn’t a console at all but rather an unwieldy handheld device with its own equally unwieldy remote and a pop-out two-inch screen that lets you endure such games as "Soccer" (minus the FIFA seal of approval probably because of the square ball), "Formula 1" (a racing game that lets you relive Atari’s "Pole Position"), "Submarine Invasion" (which may be a land-locked game), and "Space Guardian" (the game of babysitting large swaths of inky black emptiness).
Not every blatant video game knockoff is a console or available only in stores that sell partially unwrapped candy and DVD copies of "Teenager Transformed Japanese Mercenary Tortoises." This shockingly obvious rip-off of "Angry Birds"—with foxes instead of pigs and product theft instead of creativity—is available right now for the Blackberry. The game even calls out its true origins in its very own marketing copy, which reads "The animals are armed with a catapult and they fly through the air like furious birds." So if you were thinking of making and marketing your own version of "Jetpack Joyride" called "Jetpack Drive-By," the door has already been opened for you.
Are you perpetrating a scam right now? Let us know in the comments below!