For the uninitiated, Flappy Bird was a free iPhone game in which the player controlled the altitude of a bird (which was essentially a fish with a Pringle wing) using simple taps. The game was deceptively difficult, frustrating many—it’s an accomplishment in and of itself to score even one point. The occasional few could rise above it all, moving into double digits, earning elusive medals. Screenshots boasting impressive high scores were populated people’s Facebook feeds. But for the most part, it was simply the subject of many an angry tweet.
A Chicago Tribune article even labelled Flappy Bird as a philosophical mantra. “I flap, therefore I am.” The frustrations of Flappy Bird represent the constant obstacles that block life’s successes: the message is to persevere, to keep getting up after you fall, to flap flap flap.
But then, developer Dong Nguyen took it down off the Apple app store and Google Play. Flappy Bird could be downloaded no more.
In an interview with Forbes, Nguyen said: “Flappy Bird was designed to play in a few minutes when you are relaxed. 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 is still playable — anyone who downloaded the game prior to it being taken down can still play it. But there are no new downloads, nor are there ads. Mashable ran an extensive timeline of the chain of events leading to Flappy Bird’s departure, from its humble obscure beginnings to its explosive grab at pop culture.
Thus developer Dong Nguyen has created a Flappy Bird-sized hole in everyone’s hearts. With some dopey graphics and skillful, ostensibly simple coding, Nguyen galvanized a nation.
With the departure of Flappy Bird from official sources, people have tried their darnedest to keep it alive. There have been auctioned phones still holding the game. There have been knock-off codes. Sesame Street launched their own take with Flappy Bert. It’s incredible to think how just a few days of code managed to transform our population.
Huppke, R. W. (2014, February 13). Flappy Bird: A philosophy is born. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved from http://www.chicagotribune.com/site/ct-flappy-bird-huppke-20140213,0,1209480.story?page=1
Nguyen, L. A. (2014, February 11). Exclusive: Flappy Bird Creator Dong Nguyen Says App ‘Gone Forever’ Because It Was ‘An Addictive Product’. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/lananhnguyen/2014/02/11/exclusive-flappy-bird-creator-dong-nguyen-says-app-gone-forever-because-it-was-an-addictive-product/
Warren, C. (2014, February 11). 28 Days of Game: The Strange, True Story of ‘Flappy Bird’. Mashable. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2014/02/10/flappy-bird-story/