The Life and Death of Flappy Bird

Flappy_BirdAs of February 9, the Creator who giveth us Flappy Bird hath taken it away.

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,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

Warren, C. (2014, February 11). 28 Days of Game: The Strange, True Story of ‘Flappy Bird’. Mashable. Retrieved from

6 thoughts on “The Life and Death of Flappy Bird

  1. It is very interesting and weird to see how society become addicted to trends. I personally downloaded the game and erased it after. Now because of all the “buzz” going around about it I regret downloading it. This makes me think a lot because I realize I am falling into societies trends.


  2. I totally am guilty for following the “buzz” of flappy bird. I heard about the game because it was a trend; it became the new candy-crush game. I got hooked on it instantly and regretted it instantly. It consumed all of time and I hated how social trends had such an impact on my time.


  3. I have never downloaded Flappy Bird, nor do I ever play games on my iPhone. I hear from close friends to strangers all the time of the ongoing addiction of difficult app games that get you hooked. Much appreciation goes out to Dong Nguyen with putting his foot down and eliminating the app. Today, there is too much addiction to technology. We need to invest our time in more productive things, like relationships.


  4. I find it very interesting that the creator of flappy bird took it down because it became addictive. He seems to have his morals in check as well as goals. The game did not serve the purpose it was supposed to and therefore he took it down. Usually if a product becomes addictive the producer takes advantage of it. In this case, a man who could have made a lot of money off of an addiction he created chose the right decision.


  5. One of the strangest things, in my opinion, are all of the complete copies of the app available in the app store for free. Even Fall Out Boy released their version of the app on google play. How is this allowed?


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