Image: Flickr, Desiree Catani
Released in mid 2013, Flappy Bird has gone from zero to hero to most reviled since late last year. Things got really interesting when videos surfaced online with millions of views showing tips, making jokes and of course the crazy comments on how difficult it is. This all led the Vietnamese game programmer, Dong Nguyen and .GEARS to make big bucks from its in-game advertising.
He was raking in about $50,000 per day on the last report. A few days ago, the developer announced on Twitter, that the game would be removed from the both the Apple iTunes App Store and Google Play app store. So what made the game so popular and why did it end suddenly?
As with most things that go viral on the Internet, it started with a group of intense people who discovered its retro look and extreme level of difficulty. Simply put, they had a “love/hate” connection with the game. The 8-bit flapping bird and green pipes that very nearly matched those seen in the Super Mario Brothers NES game from Nintendo caught our collective attention. I guess we’re still nostalgic about old video games. But try as they might to get past a score of three or four, the quick game reset helped to fuel anger and rage towards the game and its developer.
The indie game developer said, “I cannot take this anymore.” Many speculated he couldn’t handle the constant inquires from the press. There were hints that he never wanted the enormous success that Flappy Bird has enjoyed, even becoming the number one game in the Apple App Store.
Chris’ Top Score of 191
I have enjoyed the past few days with the game and achieved a high score of 191 on a Samsung Galaxy S4 Android smartphone with WiFi turned on. Some have said getting a high score without WiFi or cellular turned on isn’t as tough because ads get a chance to load. A recent PC Mag post said that scores near 70 is like witchcraft! So what does a score of 191 invoke, perhaps double rainbows.
Success on this scale for any indie game developer is almost unheard of in today’s crowded app stores with carefully calculated marketing plans. It should wake up a company like Nintendo to the potential market for an official release of retro games on modern mobile operating systems like Android and iOS.
Maybe this is the start to a Disney Vault kind of situation where Mr. Nguyen makes an app, releases it for a few months and then removes it. There’s nothing stopping him from bringing it back in a few weeks or months from now. What’s your high score? Share a screen shot of Flappy Bird with me on Twitter @24k.