By Kim Szekely
Flappy Bird: either you love to hate it, or you hate to love it. The random explosion of popularity gave society a reoccurring question in their mind: What IS Flappy Bird? Everyone knows about the deviant video game. Anyone that I have asked about it either sighed, or gets an evil look in their eye with secrets of an extremely high score hidden in the back of their cornea. It is a game of skill and focus; one that has lead to divorces and broken friendships.
Flappy Bird is an extremely addictive game about a bird that flies over pipes when you tap the screen of your phone or tablet. It sounds simple, until you attempt to play it. There was never any advertising for this game which tempted society to try it out for themselves. This wide spread was simply by word of mouth. On the topic of how she had heard about Flappy Bird originally, Sophomore Monica Parish replied, “My friend was playing it when we were out to dinner with other friends.” Junior Rachel Parish stated, “All of my friends play it, my peers play it, and even my siblings play it.” Jennifer Kowalchek, a junior, responds to how she heard about the highly competitive game, “Through kids yelling about it in class.” It builds up a level of curiosity and it makes you want to do whatever they are talking about. To be concluded, it is infectious.
Flappy Bird was released to the public on the 24th of February 2013, for IOS on Apple’s iTunes store. It had been in development for about four months. The early version was originally entitled “Flap Flap,” but due to the fact that the creator, Dong Nguyen, found out that there was another app called Flap Flap, he changed the name to Flappy Bird and began programming. When he released the app to the app store he sent out a tweet telling everyone that it was out and that his high score was forty-four. By October it was on the “Popular Family” charts in the app store. On January 10th of this year the app was on the top ten list for US free apps. On the 1st of February, it was the number one game in fifty-three different countries. He was on top of the world… literally! That was why it shocked the world when seven days later he announced his plans to delete his chart topping game from the Apple iTunes, and the Google Play stores. His goal was accomplished a day later.
When Nguyen announced his plans to take the game down, people immediately thought there was some legal issue that was forcing his hand to take it down. This made logical sense, due to the fact that he had taken most of the game designs and sound effects from Mario brothers and the general idea and bird design came from the 2011 popular game “Pui-Pui.” When asked about these, all of the people denied taking any legal action against Flappy Birds. Because this game is nearly a direct knockoff of Pui-Pui, it comes to ask the question, why did this game do so well?
There has been a lot of speculation about why Dong Nguyen took his addicting game off of the market. According to Sophomore Monica Parish, “He claimed he didn’t want to ‘change his lifestyle’,” and Junior Kc Kloppel jokingly added, “He was overwhelmed with all the praise he was getting and took it off, knowing that he would go down in history.” But according to a Forbes interview, he took it off because it was addicting. “Flappy Bird was designed to play in a few minutes when you are relaxed,” Nguyen stated, “but it happened to become an addictive product. I think it has become a problem. To solve that problem, it’s best to take down Flappy Bird. It’s gone forever.”
Flappy Bird was such a huge hit that the day after it was taken off of the app store, people could see others auctioning off their phones or tablets for thousands of dollars due to the fact that this ‘rare app’ was installed on them. Rachel Parish commented, “iPhones on eBay are getting over a thousand dollars just for having Flappy Bird because the app is now unavailable and somewhat ‘valuable’. To be honest, I wouldn’t waste my money on it, for the game will get boring and out played.” Monica Parish jokingly stated, “Yes, I’ve heard that people are selling their iPhones on eBay with Flappy Bird on it for a crazy amount of money and people are stupid enough to buy it.” Jennifer Kowalcheck stated, “What? I can make money off of this utter nonsense?” It may seem crazy, but it is completely true. The day after Flappy Bird deceased, people began buying these phones.
Flappy Bird appeared one day, and then it was gone the next. Everyone has their own opinion; some hate it, such as Rachel Parish, stating, “I hate it, don’t want to waste my time on it.” Some love it, such as Kc Kloppel, who says, “It is God’s gift to mankind.” Some refuse to get involved with it, but it has affected everyone one way or another. It just makes you wonder what game will take everyone by storm next now that this one is gone. With Angry Birds and Flappy Bird, my best guess is that it may have a little something to do with birds.