The Vietnamese video game developer, Dong Nguyen, creator of chart-topping smart phone game Flappy Bird, has announced that he will withdraw the game from app stores as of Monday, February 10, 2014. The free game has been hugely popular on iOS and Android, but its inventor struggled to cope with its success. Tweeting on Saturday, February 8, 2014, he said: “I am sorry ‘Flappy Bird’ users, 22 hours from now, I will take ‘Flappy Bird’ down. I cannot take this anymore. ‘Flappy Bird’ a success of mine. But it also ruins my simple life. So now I hate it,” he tweeted. “Press people are overrating the success of my games. It is something I never want. Please give me peace.”
According to The Financial Times, the game has been downloaded over 50 million times. Even Apple celebrated the game’s rise, when its official App Store Twitter account celebrated its score of 99 earlier in the week. Introduced on January 13, it literally took the gaming world by storm. Coming and going as it turned out.
I only had my first encounter with it a week ago. Home from coaching soccer and there was all usual crash, bang, wallop as my son was preoccupied with his Assassin’s Creed 2 game on his decrepitude-riddled XBox360, while his amigo, Stokely, was grimacing like he was suffering the most extreme case of constipation while staring into his Android smartphone and f-bombing the universe.
“Hey,” I said. “Mind your friggin’ mouth when you’re in someone else’s manor.”
“I’m sorry, Mr. Bagg, sir,” he replied.
I gestured for the phone and there was the culprit, Mr. Flappy Bird. Who? You were maybe asking, depending on your age, just how hip you actually are, and the amount of free time you own to kill.
Floppy Bird itself is a game involving an obese green bird. If you tap the screen once, the bird soars into the air. Leave your screen untapped and it crashes to the ground like a bomb went off in its underbelly. The bird lives in and among a world full of pipes, and your job is to guide it through the gaps between each one. Should the bird miss any one gap, even by less than a vengeful fraction of an inch, it dies, and you have to start again.
Me? I’m useless. My reflexes are gone, the kids say. My pathetic high score is six. I’ve only maneuvered the fat bastard past just six gaps. 33 seconds has been my max before the daft, tubby bird careened over, smashing its weak little skull against the pipe. Thus I had to start from the beginning, again! Yes. Give me a number. I became one more happily dissatisfied loser. I despise it, too. Yes. I hate Flappy Bird. The bird is a jerk!
But, really, America’s best and brightest minds are seeing Flappy Bird as an existential condition of the universe. Well, so says writer and game designer Ian Bogost in a 2,800-word piece in the über elitist Atlantic magazine. “A condition in the sense of a circumstance, but also in the sense of a blight, a sickness, a stain we cannot scrub out but may in time be willing to accept. A stain like our own miserable, tiny existences as players, which we nevertheless believe are more fundamental than the existence of bird flapping games or machine screws or the cold fog rising against the melting snow in the morning,”
Wow. Assa lotta weltschmerz und zeitgeist for one wee app, innit? From my point-of-view, however, it’s neither nor. Flappy Bird was downloaded so much simply as a result of it being so incomprehensibly frustrating that you felt compelled to download it, even though you spend more wasted time cursing it, you just have to play. Indeed, some folks find the game so all-consuming that they started a web site: http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/flappy-bird-problems
And then there are the scores of vendetta-obsessed loony birds who make their own anti-Flappy Birds YouTube vids.
So, I ask you all, was Flappy Birds the new Angry Birds? Easy answer. No, it is not and never shall be. Angry Birds is fun to play. Flappy Birds just makes you want to sit next to your friend playing Angry Birds and kick him to death. I have a feeling this whole thing is not yet quite over, somehow. What is Mr. Nguyen up to? Mr. Bagg will keep you informed.