Released earlier this year in January, YIIK: A Postmodern RPG is an indie turn-based RPG developed by Ackk Studios. Set in the 1990s, the game revolves around the lives of eight characters and their quest to solve the mystery of a disappearing person. YIIK overall received generally average scores and reviews, and that should’ve been the end of the discussion. However, a Reddit post by malphasia recently claimed that some of the game has allegedly plagiarized a well-known Japanese novelist.
According to the post, there is a section of game dialogue spoken by a character named Proto Woman which allegedly copies, word for word, a passage of Haruki Murakami’s 2004 novel, After Dark. The text, from both the game and the novel, reads, “She narrows her eyes and looks at the young man standing there. He is so tall, and she seems to be looking far overhead. Their eyes meet. The young man smiles. His smile is meant to show he means no harm.” Another few lines from the novel are also allegedly plagiarised in the same part of the game.
The developers of the game spoke to Kotaku regarding the use of Murakami’s writing. “YIIK does intentionally contain allusions to After Dark by Haruki Murakami! That book was an influence on the game and we wanted to pay tribute to it.”
According to Ackk Studios, via Kotaku, the utilization of the passage from the novel is because of the context in which it is used. One of the main characters, Alex, is a fan of Murakami and has read After Dark. The use of the passage is explained as Alex’s knowledge of Murakami’s novel seeping into his subconscious mind, spoken by Proto Woman. No credit was given to Murakami as it was not apparent to the characters that the words were from After Dark at all.