Flappy Bird: A Sad Tale

It was a matter I couldn’t possibly ignore any longer; a few days ago, I caved in and downloaded Flappy Bird from Google Play. The download is like, 862 kb, what could it hurt to try?

Everyone’s been talking about the game, and by everyone, all the mainstream American media, at least. It’s not even well understood why the game generated so much hype. After all, any seasoned player could count the game mechanics of this title on one hand and not even use all his or her fingers. But for the big, powerful, casual crowd, who just want a mindless distraction on their daily commute, Flappy Bird’s unreasonable difficulty is what pulled them in.

My “record,” which I got after about 30 sec with the game, is 16. After that,  I couldn’t care to try more.

But I’m not trying to argue whether Flappy Bird is a great casual game or a terrible time-waster; I want to talk more about the creator, Dong Nguyen, from Vietnam. The kind of treatment he got about his game is just unbelievable.

Regarding his decision to pull the game, commenters seem to divide into two camps: “oh, he couldn’t take the fame for making the game, what a wuss,” and those, (like me) who sympathize with him. Why should he deserve sympathy? I honestly believe he didn’t want any of this. I believe he just wanted to make a game that people can enjoy on a reasonable level, a game that’s not uber-popular but not a total fiasco either. On the other hand, many people accuse the creator of ripping off Super Mario and well, just making a game with bad mechanics.

Nguyen’s Twitter followers sharply rose, and he started to get death threats on a daily basis. I don’t think most of us know what it feels like to get overwhelmed with (some potentially dangerous) messages from completely random people.

“People are overusing my app :-(,” Nguyen wrote. “I can call ‘Flappy Bird’ is a success of mine. But it also ruins my simple life. So now I hate it.”

Meanwhile, apparently people want to sell phones that have the game installed for big amounts of money, PCMag reports – even up to $100,000. Speaking of money, hopefully Nguyen will put the money he made to something great.

Nguyen has a couple of other games you can download, like Smash Kitten. But whatever next steps the creator and his studio make, will surely be scrutinized by the media once again. Perhaps he’ll be known forever as “the Flappy Bird creator.” It’s sad to see what kind of effect media hype can have on someone’s personal life. But even if game and mainstream outlets continued to report on the happenings, they can’t be blamed for the unforgivable behavior some people on the internet display.

I wonder how much I can sell my phone for now.


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