Millions mourn as addictive game, Flappy Bird, is taken down.
In my house, there’s tension in the air. My flatmate and I are barely talking. We’re too busy trying to smash each other’s high scores on the latest addictive app, Flappy Bird. He set a record of 44, but I hit back with 55. #Winning. Yes, I’m becoming a total pro at steering a little animated bird between green pipes so he doesn’t crash into them and die.
I’m not the only one whose social interactions are suffering due to an irritatingly addictive game – in the six months since Flappy Bird was released, downloads soared to over 50 million worldwide. Impressive.
But just as the game was set to break all sorts of records, its creator Dong Ha Nguyen took to Twitter to make a shock announcement.
“I am sorry ‘Flappy Bird’ users, 22 hours from now, I will take ‘Flappy Bird down.”
By 5pm Sunday, the game had been removed from Apple’s app store and Google Play.
Cue: TOTAL disbelief from the gaming world. Why would the creator of an extremely popular app want to take it down? Especially when it was reportedly earning him an average of $56,000 a day from advertising.
Rumours spread that the sudden decision was due to legal action by gaming giant Nintendo because the game resembled early versions of its hugely popular Super Mario Bros franchise. Both Nguyen and Nintendo later denied this. Nguyen Tweeted on February 8, “It is not anything related to legal issues. I just cannot keep it anymore.”
Another theory for its sudden removal is that Nguyen has had enough of the haters. With Facebook pages such as ‘I fucking hate Flappy bird’, ‘We hate Flappy Bird’ and ‘Flappy Bird – I hate you’ liked by over a collective 50 000 people and a multitude of Twitter and Instagram trolls posting #IHateFlappyBird over 3000 times, perhaps the criticism got too much.
Australian game developer Joshua McGrath from Doppler Interactive thinks the criticism of the game might have been the main issue. “Dong Ha Ngyuen created an innocent game and did so for a love of the process of development, not from cultural malice… I think he was unprepared for the harsh response and the ferocity of unmuzzled-humanity, so withdrew his game,” he explains. So is that it for Nguyen then? Will he disappear from the gaming world? That’s unlikely, thank goodness. “I still make games,” he Tweeted.
For those lucky enough to have already downloaded Flappy Bird, the game lives on, which is probably not great news for my housemate and me as we’re still not speaking. Although we have promised each other if the rivalry gets too much, we will sell our phones on eBay as devices with ‘Flappy Bird’ installed are fetching anywhere between $300 and $5,000. Not bad if you can beat the addiction. Flap flap flap… – Rebecca Hopper
Photo by Rebecca Hopper