As of this post, Flappy Bird is dead. Its creator, Dong Nguyen, seemingly deleted it for no reason. But why? There is no clear answer so far. Many have speculated that Dong simply couldn’t handle the pressures of worldwide fanfare and the massive amount of flak he received was too much to handle for a simple indie developer. Others believe Nintendo may be the root cause of the dilemma. As Dong’s estimated profit of the game was reaching thousands of dollars a day – thanks to a simple advertisement popping up upon death – he was drawing the ire of Nintendo fans accusing him of using beloved Mario’s green warp pipes. This wouldn’t seem like a big deal if the game were free and had no ads, but as Dong purportedly raked in the dough from ads, Nintendo saw an infringement on their profits. Another rumor floating around the blogosphere is that Dong did not want to be known for only Flappy Bird, but also for creating other games in the future. The pressure of a Flappy Bird followup were apparently too much for him.
Currently we have no hint of the truth. Dong’s Flappy Bird (Please try to stifle your giggling…) reported millions of downloads seemingly overnight and became a hit meme in less time. There’s no answer as to how or why it happened, but it did. I have played the game and continue to pop it open when I just need a quick spurt of entertainment. I open the app and start playing immediately when I’m just sitting waiting for the bus. Therein lies Flappy Bird’s true success: speed. Games like Angry Birds and Cut the Rope have load times and take forever to just start playing, while Flappy Bird boasted an instant playability. I didn’t need to wait for the game to load like most other games force you to do, nor did I have to see three pages of ads or publisher logos to get to the start menu. I think that’s key to the popularity of this game. I have seen over a dozen people in the last day playing the game and the same reasoning comes to my mind when I wonder why. An employee at the gym waiting to close up was tapping away to knock a few minutes off his shift. A girl in line at the coffee shop mashed her thumb into the screen while she waited to get her Grandè Premium Spiced Mocha Chai Thai Vanilla Espresso Blended Tea Coffee. Three high school students on the bus sat together and played to see who could get the best score before their bus stop.
Flappy Bird’s success is vital to developers worldwide who just want to make games and see joy from people playing them. It’s great to know that success can come to anyone anywhere for any reason. Dong may not have been able to handle the pressures of success or powers beyond his control may have forced the deletion of the game, but its simplicity and the need to press replay while saying, “I know I can do this, it’s not that hard” are what made Flappy Bird fun for so many people. The ultimate key to the success of Flappy Bird is one we may never really understand, just as we may never understand why our little bird can flap no more.
Did you enjoy it? Or was it a waste of time? Beautiful success story or the beginning of the end in gaming? Let us know what you think of the Flappy Bird saga in the comments and on the forums.