This past week, one game seems to have risen and fallen faster than a bird without wings. The super-difficult Flappy Bird iOS and Android app recently made a name for itself – spreading like wildfire and then disappearing. Even more interesting was the game’s developer taking the game down for seemingly unusual reasons. Flappy Bird is gone, but for those of you that did get it, the game lives on. My own attempt at playing Flappy Bird yielded a score of 10. I wanted to take a closer look at this phenomenon to understand more.
I haven’t played Flappy Bird long, but the gameplay is incredibly addictive. The problem with getting hooked like this is that it’s a frustrating kind of addictive. Every time you play another round, it almost feels like you’re getting worse at the game. Naturally, this frustration leads you to keep playing until you have a breakthrough; and, the cycle continues. Rinse and repeat. Give all this, the game appeared to go viral in early February with seemingly everyone talking about Flappy Bird’s cruel willingness to offer scores like 0.
Some reports were that Flappy Bird’s developer, Dong Nguyen, was making more than $50,000 a day. This was simply from in-game advertisements, because the game was free and included no in-app purchase options. Strangely, this success seemed to have the opposite effect on the Vietnamese developer. On Saturday February 8th, he announced on Twitter that the game would be removed.
While gone for new installations, the game (and frustration) lives on for those who installed it before the take down. In the short time I’ve been playing, I have gathered some tips from much better players:
1. Relax and get into a flow. Don’t flap the bird too fast or too slow.
2. On iOS, the game can get very sluggish. Force quitting the app between games and relaxing can improve gameplay. I’m told that the Android versions play smoother.
3. Playing the game on a tablet should improve your score since the pipe openings are better to judge.
1. An interesting online-playable version of the game is out there called Flappy Bird Typing Tutor. This game ups the difficulty ante by requiring you to type words to flap the bird. Good luck getting one point on this one.
2. TorrentFreak has a great question: If the game is gone and the author has walked away; Is it morally ok to pirate it?
3. Phones with Flappy Bird installed are being listed at prices upwards of $1,000 or more on eBay and other online outlets. What’s not clear is whether folks are buying this.
4. In a Rolling Stone interview, Flappy Bird creator Dong Nguyen reveals more about why he stepped away and illuminates the story behind the game.
Did you get your hands on the game?