Seemingly out of nowhere, Flappy Bird has flown down and overtaken the smartphone gaming scene, besting app records across the marketplace. It’s challenging to walk around campus and meet someone who hasn’t heard of the seriously addictive, albeit mind-numbing, game to captivate PSU goers and the greater population. It takes a page out of the seriously repetitive genre that the smartphone era has ushered in; most will remember games like Doodle Jump and Tiny Wings that offer hours of simple, fast-paced gameplay with little reward. Flappy Bird is a ‘side-scroller’ of sorts with no end in sight, as players work to avoid warp pipe obstacles guiding the iconic ‘Flappy Bird’ through a winding maze.
The challenge is simply not hitting the warp pipes, which is easier said than done. Players need to tap at just the right time to avoid crashing, and thus having to restart the game from the very beginning. When asked why he plays the game regularly throughout the day, game enthusiast and Pixxel Press editor Benjamin Higman replied, “I think there is a great competitive element to the game. It’s enjoyable to play with others and see who can rack up the highest score”. That has been the question everyone has been asking since the game first struck gold, earning the first place ranking for games in both the Apple App Store and the Google Play store.
Controversy has been surrounding the game for quite some time, as many critics claim the author, ‘Gears’, ripped most, if not all, of the graphics it uses in Flappy Bird from previous Nintendo games. While the game is simple in its design, described that “It wouldn’t be challenging at all to program. Think of the simplicity of Pong; now just add some 8-bit graphics and you have Flappy Bird,” by Computer Science student Mark Lambert, Gears sees about $50,000 a day in revenue thanks to advertisements. Flappy Bird borrows many of its graphical style from classical Nintendo games, such as the warp pipes, the backdrops for the night and day scenes, and even Flappy Bird itself.
A number of developments have transpired in recent days surrounding the game, and most may be surprised to find it is no longer on the marketplace after reading this article. On Friday, February 14th, Flappy Bird developer Dong Nguyen remarked via Twitter that “[in] 22 hours from now, I will take Flappy Bird down. I cannot take this anymore”. Again, many speculate the reasoning for this is simply Nguyen’s fear of legal action being taken. Others believe the shutdown is temporary, and a stunt just to get more downloads and capitalize on ad revenue. On that following Tuesday, Nguyen had this to say about his reasoning during an interview with Forbes: “… 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.” While Nguyen’s words might appear quite noble, it is worthwhile to mention he is still collecting money from those playing the game.
Finally, smartphones of every variety have been appearing on eBay this week at an unusual price tag of $1000 and more. The primary selling point, you ask? They come installed with a copy of Flappy Bird. As of this moment in time, on the 11th of January 2014, the highest smartphone advertised for having Flappy Bird is a whopping $9,400 dollars, with 34 total bids. In the time it took to finish that sentence, the price for the same bid has just gone up to $11,000, and 46 bids.
Don’t fret though! Many other developers are picking up the chalice and continuing to create spin-off renditions of the game.
Fall Out (Boy) Bird, anyone?