The Flappy Bird saga is cooling down just so slightly so let’s roundup the latest news and put a (hopefully) final chapter on this fad. If you haven’t been following the Flappiness, let us explain. Flappy Bird is a super-simple, classic-Nintendo-inspired infinite side-scroller for iOS and Android devices that players play by simply tapping the screen to make a bird fly through pipes.
For some reason, Flappy Bird – despite launching in May of 2013 – exploded in popularity as of late and its one-man developer Dong Nguyen (his studio is named .GEARS) didn’t love the attention and announced February 8th that he was taking the game off of the app markets. The result was more media attention, more downloads and dozens upon dozens of clones.
I’m not exaggerating that last bit , having downloaded two-dozen or more of these myself out of curiosity and trying them all out on an emulator. I even made videos of 12 of them here. Flappy Chicken, Flippy Bird, Flappy Bee, Flappy Jellyfish and best of all, Flappy Octopus – I’ve played them all.
Oddly enough, all of the attention and clones are working against Nguyen’s real reason for removing his infamous app. He understands the addictive nature of Flappy Bird and his idea was to remove it as a result:
“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.”
Thing is, over 50 million Android users already downloaded it and by removing it, more attention was put on it and its clones, meaning more users are falling into that very same addiction. Curiously, Nguyen’s other four apps remain online and The Verge estimated that from Flappy Bird, he was pulling in approximately $50,000 per day from ads so it’s shocking he’d turn that revenue down – but noble nonetheless.
He was stressed about the situation and couldn’t sleep, so he felt removing Flappy Bird was the right thing to do. Despite that, some internet trolls issued death threats via Twitter while some took the opportunity to sell phones with the game pre-installed for tons of money on eBay. Everyone’s trying to cash in.
Another Supportive Indie Game Jam
Just like some indie devs encouraged everyone and anyone to make candy-themed games (see: Candy Jam) as a result of King Ltd. (maker of Candy Crush Saga) going after games that use the word “candy” or “saga,” developers are jumping up on the creative front to support Nguyen in a similar fashion. And hence, we have the Flappy Jam. There are 148 games already submitted at the time of this writing.
[Update: Added two gameplay videos so you can see these two games we're referring to]
One of the most notable ones is the Flash-based Maverick Bird, created by Terry Cavanagh (Super Hexagon) which features epic music. Try it out here. Also joining in on the fad is the band Fall Out Boy who created, you guessed it, Fall Out Bird. There’s also a browser-based Flappy Bird MMO here.
Hit me up if you have the know-how and want to work with me on Flappy Rant! I’m serious.
Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.