Would it be possible to create a game that refers to other games and/or movies without any form of agreement with the license owners of those titles? Think "Ready player one", first level is a replica of Doom, second super mario.. etc.

I can't imagine the author signing a contract regarding every title he mentions in the book. I guess this works a bit different with games and movies than it does with books, am I right?

1 Answer 1


A video game can certainly refer to other well known games, just as many books refer to other books by other authors. Such literary references have long precedent and are not copyright infringements.

However, IF a sizable amount of the plot or contents of another game are reproduced, that is quite another matter. When a grams is described as:

first level is a replica of Doom, second super mario.. etc.

That sounds very much like a derivative work. A derivative work is one clearly based on a previous work. Making a derivative work requires permission from the copyright owner of the source work (assuming that it is under copyright, as most video games will be). In the absence of such permission, this is an infringement of the copyright on he source work, and the holder could sue and quite possibly obtain damages.

If significant elements of the source works are not in fact reproduced, then I have badly misunderstood your question.


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