If you were in Jakarta last week, chances are you would notice a person tapping his/her phone repeatedly, at an almost fixed period between each tap, and alternated by an expression of disappointment every other minute. You might be looking at a “victim” of the newest trend on the Internet: Flappy Bird.
The game is very simple.
A bird, which somehow forgot how to fly, has to be “tapped” to gain some extra height, otherwise he will lose to the binding power of gravity. As a difficulty factor, an endless series of pipes (which totally reminded me of early 90s’ Super Mario) will show up out of nowhere from the top and the bottom of the screen. The objective: get through as many pairs of pipes as you can.
Sounds simple enough? Apparently, that “simplicity” turns out to be frustrating to some people, though not the kind of frustration that makes people want to stop playing.
Instead, people keep on playing it, in order to reach the highest score possible. The cause to the popularity of the game can be summarized in one sentence: “it seems easy but turns out it isn’t”.
A lot of people got hooked on the game because they want to beat their friends, which in turn resulted in a series of desperate attempts to get their scores as high as possible to make it impossible for their friends to overtake.
As mentioned above, the popularity of the game is solely accounted by social media (if there is another factor, it might be the nostalgic look of the game and the annoying face of the bird). People play; people share their scores; other people wanted to beat them, and the cycle repeats itself.
Various memes were created and Flappy Bird became an Internet sensation out of nowhere. Every major news site covered the game, which was released earlier in 2013.
The popularity is shared with the creator as well. Dong Nguyen, the creator, received around 60 thousand followers in his account, @dongatory, in just the past 3 days. He kept on answering comments, critics, and suggestions from Flappy Bird users, happy or frustrated. At first, this indie game creator seems like he’s having fun.
But apparently, he is not. The Flappy Bird has done something to him, what it has done to millions of people out there. It frustrated him, but maybe in a different way.
His first tweet showing the frustration was “I can call ‘Flappy Bird’ is a success of mine. But it also ruins my simple life. So now I hate it.”
And after 9 hours of replying to others’ curiosity of the said tweet, he finally said something, clear as the light of the day: “I am sorry ‘Flappy Bird’ users, 22 hours from now, I will take ‘Flappy Bird’ down. I cannot take this anymore.”
Yes, people, you read it right.
The creator of the phenomenal “Flappy Bird” game is about to take the game down, leaving the daily $50,000 revenue from in-game advertisements and over 5 millions downloaders with the question: “WHY?”
There are some theories to might answer that million dollars question:
1. His strong indie spirit
All the publications are just not for him. He hates the press too much to be happily receiving their endorsements. Maybe not to that extreme, but what he tweeted might be a clue to that: “Press people are overrating the success of my games. It is something I never want. Please give me peace“.
2. He wants to make more games
He doesn’t want to stop making games, and having this “super-game” is just not what he wants. He’s afraid of being established as a Flappy Bird creator rather than being a game creator (as a reminder, he also has some other great games such as Super Ball Juggling and Shuriken Block).
On top of that, he also thinks that Flappy Bird is at the end of its journey, anything added to the game will simply ruin it, as he mentioned in an interview with the Verge
3. He might be facing a lawsuit from Nintendo
Consider this: the design of the bird is said to be inspired from Nintendo’s Cheep Cheep (in the Super Mario Franchise), along with the design of the pipe, which totally reminds us of the transporter pipes from Super Mario. The background also rings a nostalgic sense to the game.
Even though there is no publicly expressed lawsuit so far from the Japanese game giant, words have been spreading on the Internet about the possibility.
4. This is a publication stunt
By showing an intention to take a game down at a top of its performance, the name Dong Nguyen and Flappy Bird will forever be remembered in history, as a sudden phenomenon that disappeared too soon. This sets you up for releasing a new game in a few months and the hype on that new game will be extraordinary. As Robert Scoble puts its, we can already imagine the new game to be labeled as “From the developer of Flappy Bird…”;
Everyone will buy that new game, making him even richer, because of the fear that he’ll delete that game too.
Flappy Bird have been taken down by Dong Nguyen by now, leaving disappointments and curiosity everywhere: So, what is next?
What do you think?
If you hate Flappy Bird, you can try the more sadistic Squishy Bird. Unlike Flappy Bird, Squishy Bird allows players to squash the birds with the pipes they were supposed to evade from. Users can control the vertical movement of the pipe with their mouse. The game is over when the birds manage to fly to the other end of the screen and disappear.
We just found you another addictive game, didn’t we?