Flappy Bird: Flapping To the Top


Erika Zelaya '15

A student plays Flappy Bird in class. It is addictive.

Erika Zelaya '15, Staff Writer

It was downloaded more than 50 million times and made $50,000 in one day, according to http://www.newsweek.com/. The world’s number one free app for smart phones involves a chubby yellow bird and green “Mario Brothers look-alike” pipes. “Flappy Bird”, a game app which has overnight become a success has a pretty simplistic concept. You tap your finger on the screen so that the bird does not fall head first into the ground, or the pipes. This Bird Game was created in May of 2013, almost a year ago, by game designer Dong Nguyen. The game is popular because it is the most irritating, frustrating, difficult and idiotic game ever created, and probably one of the most addicting.

In an unforeseen act, the game was deleted by its creator this month. This game skyrocketed to the top, just to be killed by its maker. The reasons are somewhat unclear. There are allegations that the game was taken down due to speculations that the games statistics and rankings weren’t accurate, and not on accisent. However, creator Dong Nguyen refutes all accusations and tweeted that the game has nothing to do with his legal problems, suggesting that iTunes did not ask him to take it down. He has also now notably tweeted that “it…ruins my simple life. So now I hate it.” $50,000 a day can be a bit overwhelming, many thought he could have found good use for his money, maybe donating to charities. He added in response, “I just can’t keep it anymore.”

Perhaps his specific reasons will become clear in the following weeks, but at the moment it seems that its popularity and success was too much. After the game was deleted last Saturday, smart devices with the app installed began to sell on eBay for $5,000 and $6,000; an iPad went for $8000 with the app installed. Although it was an extremely popular game, I believe that its removal will be for the best.

It is deeply disappointing that our society has uplifted a game as idiotic as “Flappy Bird” to become the most popular game app. Our obsession with this game speaks to a higher consensus that the world values pointless use of time rather than opportunities to learn.

Achieving a high score in “Flappy Bird” is the equivalent to kicking a wall numerous times until you get tired of the repeated action, and leave. It is arguable that it is a good way to kill time and is completely innocent; however, “Flappy Bird” is just another example of our society reducing actual entertainment outlets to their bare minimum. Seven second videos and 140 characters or less writing can’t actually have anything of value. “Flappy Bird” can barely be considered a game, with its mediocre game graphics and simplistic concept; other games would be embarrassed to include it in their category. The fact that a person would pay $5,000, over half the average cost of tuition for a public college, for a game where a bird flies through pipes says a lot about our society. We are partaking in a game that involves zero skill and absolutely no thinking.

Hopefully Flappy Bird has flapped out of our lives forever.