In response to Candy Crush Saga creator King.com trademarking the words "candy" and "saga", indie games website itch.io hosted a subversive game jam.
(Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia)
It's not uncommon for companies to trademark names, but few have caught as much public attention and flak as the creator of popular mobile game Candy Crush Saga, King.com. This is for a few reasons, but most notably that King.com then filed a complaint against popular indie title The Banner Saga, went after a casino slots game that used the word "Candy" in the title and, it transpires, cloned another developer's game, Scamperghost, in 2010.
Add on top of that the fact that many of King.com's most popular games are reworkings of other popular games (Bejeweled, Peggle, Bust-a-Move) and suddenly the move to hurt other developers seems both petty and hypocritical.
Now, it can be argued that a system that lets you trademark a word but not gameplay is a little behind the times. In fact, that's the argument that seems to be behind Candy Jam, a protest hosted on indie gaming website itch.io. It response to the question "Why?", the creators respond, "because trademarking common words is ridiculous, because ethics matter and because it gives us an occasion to make another game jam."
The rules of the jam are simple. Make a game involving candy somehow. If you can, use the word "candy". For bonus points, use the words "scroll", "memory", "saga", "apple" and "edge".
At time of writing, the jam has 292 games, all of which can be played for free online.
King.com, it ought to be noted, clarified that it had no intention of stopping Banner Saga from using its name; it simply wanted to establish a precedent whereby future games could not infringe on its IP by trying to use the words "candy" or "saga" (which is not really all that much of an improvement). The company also apologised for cloning Scamperghost and removed the clone from its website.