I never would have thought that a game requiring me to do nothing but tap a screen to navigate a wide-eyed, yellow bird with no tail through an obstacle course of metal pipes would drive me so insane and have me so addicted that even though playing it makes me angry, I still continue to play.
Flappy Bird, for those who don’t know, was created by Dong Nguyen, a Vietnamese developer, through a studio called DotGears. The goal of the game is to navigate a bird safely through metal obstacles that vary in height. If you touch a pipe you hear a loud smack, and your bird dies. Then you begin the course all over again.
Flappy bird seems to be the new Candy Crush Saga. It has so many people into the game, but it creates love-hate relationships. It continues to grow even more popular even as the game’s players continuously complain about it.
The game’s concept seems really simple, but it is actually very difficult to play. Countless times I have found myself yelling at the screen in public just because I have failed to get that wide-eyed, yellow bird through the metal pipe. Somehow, I always feel slightly better when someone not too far from me is doing the same thing.
Flappy Bird has caused a stir on social media as well. From Vine video crazes to hate tweets on Twitter and help groups on Facebook, the game has spread. But why do these mindless games become so popular so quickly?
Because we are a society so into technology and the new things that whatever generates “hype” we are willing to try, just to see what it is all about. In the case of Flappy Bird, the insane difficulty of tapping a screen for hours only to receive a high score of three is what has made the game so popular so quickly.
Many people I have talked to have said they only downloaded the game to see how hard it actually is. They want to try to pass their friends’ high scores. It all comes down to the simple fact that everyone loves a challenge, and these games, while seemingly mindless, pose a challenge.
The game has stirred up so much controversy that Nguyen has decided to remove the game from app stores because he cannot take the publicity and the internet hate messages he has been received.
“I am sorry, ‘Flappy Bird’ users, 22 hours from now, I will take ‘Flappy Bird’ down,” Nguyen tweeted on Feb. 8. “I cannot take this anymore.”
Although I have a love-hate relationship with Flappy Bird, I now wonder what new games will come out to top it. Its fame was short-lived, and although it received so much ridicule because of its difficulty, people still continued to play it. I may have hated it. I may have constantly yelled at my phone and even contemplated throwing it away a few times. But I, just like many other Flappy Bird fanatics, will miss the game taking up hours of my time to receive an incredible high score of three.