I never got to play Flappy Bird.
That may seem like an odd statement, as that game was #1 on the iOS App Store for weeks. But nonetheless, I never got to play Flappy Bird, and probably never will, now that its creator Dong Nguyen has pulled it from the App Store and Google Play.
An odd blend of Super Mario graphics, endless-flapper gameplay and punishing difficulty, Flappy Bird’s success is mystifying at first glance. But from all accounts, players willingly and repeatedly submit themselves to the agony and the ecstasy of trying to improve their high score. Of course, this is all hearsay. I never played it.
Nguyen’s reasons for pulling the game are charmingly personal: he's cited both a desire to be left alone by the press and a fear of his game's addictive properties getting out of control. To the everyday ambition-driven capitalist, Nguyen probably sounds crazy, given that in-app advertising reportedly netted him $50,000 a day. But not everyone has the same definition of success. Angry Bird fans on Twitter may have metaphorically hung Dong in response, but dammit, it's his right as creator to take his game down. I for one applaud Mr Nguyen for taking action, and wish him a peaceful life and whatever brand of success he craves.
In a heartening turn of events, the removal of Flappy Bird has inspired Flappy Jam, a currently ongoing game development jam in support of Nguyen. Its objectives:
make a hard, almost unplayable game
use assets inspired (not ripped) from classics
FLAPPY word or gameplay not mandatory
have fun, be supportive. hate must not win
The collaborative, friendly spirit amongst indie game developers is freaking great. As of this writing, there have already been over forty games submitted. There's even a remake of Flappy for the Oculus Rift, God help us. My favourite I've played so far is Maverick Bird, which brings the retina-searing colours and pumping music of creator Terry Cavanaugh's Super Hexagon to the table, as well as a really satisfying-feeling dive manoeuvre.
Flappy Jam entries are due February 24th. If you're into that sort of thing, get busy codin' or get busy repeatedly dyin'.