Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The BG News and Wikipedia

I'm sure that plagiarism has happened at college newspapers across the country, so I set out looking. So far I haven't come up with much in googling through a few articles, but this Kid Icarus review from The BG News and its similarities to the Kid Icarus Wikipedia entry got me thinking.

Let's check out a few quotes.


From Article:
"Pit runs and jumps vertically and horizontally across levels, just like Mario. He shoots arrows much like Samus Aran shoots her gun in the original "Metroid." He also collects treasures just as Link does in "The Legend of Zelda" series. There are also some RPG elements involved."

From Wiki:

"In volume 204 of Nintendo Power, an article was written about the game describing it as blending together elements from The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros. and Metroid, stating that Pit can 'jump like Mario, collect items like Zelda, and shoot enemies like Metroid.' "

From Article:

"Released on the same date and using the same game engine as the original "Metroid," "Kid Icarus" was overshadowed and forgotten by those who had not played it."

[By the way, this fact seems wrong. My own wikipedia search says that Kid Icarus was released in July 1987, and Metroid in August of the same year]

From Wiki:

"Kid Icarus is often compared to Metroid (which was released the same year), as it uses the same game engine."


So, is this plagiarism or coincidence? What if, instead of a video game review, this was a sociology paper submitted to a journal (and, obviously, was about sociology instead of wii virtual console games)?

I emailed BGNews editors yesterday, letting them know this was going up and asking for comment. They did not respond.

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Blogger AHFB said...

Any comments you have are appreciated. Come back tomorrow for the good ol' tearing apart of a UMich paper.

10:58 PM  
Blogger heidi said...

That really doesn't look like plagiarism at all to me - The two sources are not worded the same at all, and though the article presents similar facts (but you said he refered to the Wikipedia article), he also adds elements that aren't present in the Wikipedia article (like the names of characters), and fronts opinions/ideas that are also new.

Also, maybe the reviewer and the wikipedia editor think along the same lines, and therefore present accepted or common comparisons amongst gamers about the similarities of characters or game play. I don't frankly know enough about video games to know, but it's a possibility.

11:25 PM  
Blogger AHFB said...

Oh, when I said "The article seems to suggest that his ideas come from Wikipedia" (now removed for clarity), I meant that the things the author highlights suggest that some of his ideas come from reading the Wikipedia article, not that the author himself suggested it.

I dunno, I mean, I just think to myself, what if I were running a class, assigned a paper, and everyone's analyses came back with the exact same observations that Sparknotes made? Or, what if I assigned a paper on Global Warming and everyone's papers brought up the same points that that day's New York Times did?

I'm no expert. Maybe I'm looking for trouble too much? Other thoughts everyone?

11:39 PM  
Blogger AHFB said...

Not to argue against myself here, but on a second read, this doesn't strike me as outright plagiarism: I mean he's not pullin the ol' copy/paste.

But still, there's something I just don't like about people going to sites like Wikipedia as their sources.

You can still make a definite case for this as plagiarism though.

The ideas (comparing Kid Icarus to the specific video games elements of the day) are likely not the author's own. It's a paraphrase, sure, but one that doesn't acknowledge its source. (Indiana University resource on paraphrasing)

My comment comparing it to a class assignment still stands, but beyond that, I'm tried of thinking about such an inconsequential article.

1:30 AM  
Blogger Meg said...

It seems to me that anyone versed enough in the NES would compare the games in the way that the BGN did. Because Wikipedia is aggregate knowledge, it seems that those ideas would be floating around anyway, especially with something as accessible as video games.

9:35 AM  
Anonymous a_gamer said...

Yeah, but just because you run and jump doesn't make it "like mario." Level design is entirely different.

12:06 AM  
Blogger AHFB said...

I guess most of it falls under common knowledge (e.g. the release date, assuming his is correct), but really I guess this is more a discussion about where people get their ideas instead of one about plagiarism.

/Done talking about this once and for all.

12:14 AM  
Blogger Brandon said...

God, I move away for a few months... what the eff is the "BG News"?

6:57 PM  
Blogger AHFB said...

The BG News is student newspaper at Bowling Green

3:08 PM  

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