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Dong Nguyen


Dong Nguyen grew up in Vạn Phúc, a village near Hanoi. He discovered video games by playing Super Mario Bros. as a child and began coding his own at age 16. At 19, while studying programming at a local university, he won an internship at Punch Entertainment.

    Alumni of
  • Hanoi University of Science and Technology

Dong Nguyen

Last Updated: October 29, 2023

Dong Nguyen: The Mysterious Creator Behind the Flappy Bird Phenomenon

Dong Nguyen, known to the world as the enigmatic developer of the mobile gaming sensation Flappy Bird, is a programmer hailing from Vietnam. His rise to fame and subsequent fall from grace are nothing short of extraordinary. Let’s delve into the intriguing life and career of this gifted game developer.

Early Life and Background

Dong Nguyen was born in Vietnam and grew up in Vạn Phúc, a village near Hanoi. His fascination with video games began during his childhood when he played classics like Super Mario Bros. As he grew older, he started coding his own games, showcasing his prodigious talent in programming.

The Birth of Flappy Bird

Flappy Bird was not Dong’s first venture into game development. In 2012, he had designed the character Faby for a canceled project, which would later become the protagonist of Flappy Bird. The game itself was a product of dedication and ingenuity, created in just two to three days. Initially, the game was easier, but Dong found it lacked the challenge he desired. So, he tightened the difficulty, transforming it into the addictive and infuriatingly difficult game millions would come to love and hate.

The Sudden Rise and Fall

Flappy Bird had a slow start but became a global phenomenon when it caught the attention of Swedish YouTuber PewDiePie. The game’s simplicity and maddening difficulty appealed to players worldwide, and it skyrocketed to the top of app store charts. At its peak, Flappy Bird was earning Dong around $50,000 a day in advertising revenue.

However, success came with a heavy price. Dong became an unlikely celebrity, enduring constant paparazzi attention, accusations of plagiarism, and even allegations of writing fake reviews to boost the game’s initial popularity. The game’s players were not without their own issues, as some found themselves addicted, leading to complaints from teachers and parents about its impact on their lives.

All of this attention weighed heavily on Dong’s shoulders, and he eventually decided to take down Flappy Bird in 2014. He stated that he didn’t intend for his game to be an addiction but a source of entertainment.

Life Beyond Flappy Bird

Following the removal of Flappy Bird, Dong retreated from the spotlight but continued to work on new game projects. He acknowledged that nothing he created in the future would ever replicate the success of Flappy Bird, putting the odds of a repeat at a mere 0.1%. Despite the challenges and controversies, Dong Nguyen remains an enigmatic figure in the world of game development, known for creating a mobile gaming sensation that took the world by storm and ultimately led to his decision to let it go.

Intriguingly, Dong Nguyen is currently working on a new game with never-before-seen technology, demonstrating that his passion for game development endures, even after the Flappy Bird phenomenon.

Certainly! Here are 10 trivia facts about Dong Nguyen and Flappy Bird:

  1. Speedy Development: Dong Nguyen developed Flappy Bird in just two to three days, making its rapid rise to fame even more astonishing.
  2. Faby’s Origins: The character Faby, the bird in Flappy Bird, was originally designed for a canceled project in 2012 before becoming the star of the game.
  3. YouTube Influence: Flappy Bird’s popularity received a significant boost when the famous YouTuber PewDiePie played and reviewed the game.
  4. Enigmatic Creator: Dong Nguyen, often described as a quiet and reserved individual, unexpectedly became a celebrity due to the success of Flappy Bird.
  5. Income Peak: At the height of Flappy Bird’s popularity, it was generating approximately $50,000 per day in advertising revenue for Dong Nguyen.
  6. Addictive Gameplay: Some players reported playing Flappy Bird for hours on end, with one player claiming to have played for eight hours straight.
  7. Paparazzi Intrusion: Dong Nguyen had to deal with paparazzi showing up at his house, a startling intrusion for someone not seeking the limelight.
  8. Accusations of Plagiarism: Flappy Bird faced accusations of using graphics and gameplay mechanics similar to Nintendo’s Super Mario.
  9. Overwhelming Reaction: Dong Nguyen’s decision to take down Flappy Bird in 2014 was a result of the overwhelming response from players and the addictive nature of the game.
  10. Future Projects: Despite the challenges and controversies, Dong Nguyen continues to work on new game projects, with one featuring innovative technology.

These trivia facts shed light on the fascinating journey of Dong Nguyen and the unexpected global phenomenon that was Flappy Bird.

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