The curse of the very Flappy Bird

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Cute, round, yellow? Yes, these are certainly words to describe the Flappy Bird. Spawn of Satan would be another. As far as virtual birds go, Flappy Bird has become the latest app sensation and internet craze – besides drinking obscene amounts of alcohol and posting it to Facebook – following in the footsteps of it’s bird ancestors of the angry variety, Doodlejump and Temple Run.

Flappy Bird is, or was, notorious for it’s difficulty, the sound of those beating wings, and the utter stupidity of the main character. The first few times I attempted to play it, I was amazed at the way this idiotic little bird falls flat on it’s face for no apparent reason.

The app began to get famous just because of how unbelievably difficult it was to beat – that was until the creator of the game had a complete meltdown and decided to erase Flappy Bird from existence.

In his Twitter bio, Dong Nguyen describes himself as a “passionate indie game maker”, and apparently the soaring success of Flappy Bird was not what he wanted. The Vietnamese developer posted a series of gradually more distressed tweets, stating: “I can call ‘Flappy Bird’ is a success of mine. But it also ruins my simple life. So now I hate it” and “I am sorry ‘Flappy Bird’ users, 22 hours from now, I will take ‘Flappy Bird’ down. I cannot take this anymore.”

In other direct tweets to fans, Nguyen claimed that the success of Flappy Bird no longer made him an indie game maker – which begs the question: is this a case of a hipster game maker throwing a hissy fit because his game went mainstream, or is this a fabulous publicity stunt designed to make more people flock to Flappy Bird?
Perhaps I’m being cynical, but surely the point of developing a game is to make sure that people can play and enjoy that game – whether you make a profit or not. Surely a self-professed “indie game maker” would want the games he spends so much of his time working on to be enjoyed.

It also seems rather strange that Nguyen introduced a new update to the game prior to its removal from the App Store, which featured many things that reviewers had requested, such as making the game easier, making adverts appear less frequently and the option for Flappy’s colour to change.

However, Nguyen also seemed hard hit by the negative feedback the game received – most of which was a complete joke designed to exaggerate just how bad the bird is.

One reviewer wrote: “This [game] is… addictive. I haven’t slept. I used to sleep like a baby. Now I can’t. I lie in bed. I can hear Flappy Bird taunting me to try and beat my score again. When I close my eyes I see Flappy Bird. I haven’t eaten. I see Flappy Bird in the food on my plate. I hear him within the voices of those I love… I now understand that Flappy Bird is no bird. Flappy Bird is satan. Flappy Bird ruins your life.”
As well as this, there have been multiple videos dedicated to the game, including one where two men dressed up as the bird and sung a relatively catchy song.

Another video with a title along the lines of “BEST WAY TO BEAT FLAPPY BIRD” showed a man playing a few levels, losing, and smashing his Android phone repeatedly up with a hammer – although whether that’s because Android phones are useless is another matter. The demise of Flappy Bird has certainly left a hole in the world of app gamers.

Nguyen claims that his decision to remove the game had nothing to do with legal issues and he was not willing to sell the game to someebody else as he did not want to profit from it. This hasn’t stopped other people from attempting to profit. Phones have been listed on eBay for ridiculously high prices simply because they have Flappy Bird installed – although it has been suggested this is a hoax perpetrated by Reddit users – whereas other people have attempted to replicate the simple game. American band Fall Out Boy have recently released their own version named ‘Fall Out Bird’, so that people can drop members of Fall Out Boy on their face instead. Marvellous stuff.

The curse of Flappy Bird is one that will inevitably lose its strength in a few weeks. Much like other popular apps like Temple Run, Candy Crush and Farmville, Flappy Bird will soon be forgotten or replaced by another app craze that seizes people’s lives and time. The yellow bird of procrastination will haunt players no more,

However, there is a much darker side to the world of Flappy Bird, after the creator received death threats and a rumour began to spread of his suicide. Angry Flappy Bird fans tweeted – ironically – Nguyen threatening all manner of horrible things if he proceeded in his decison to remove the game. Whilst some of these might only be exaggerated, sarcastic tweets intended to amuse those with a darker sense of humour, it is clear that Nguyen is affected deeply by hate and criticism.

We all need to be more careful about the things we say to others, what might seem like a harmless joke to you could very easily be misinterpreted over the medium of social networking.

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