The Rise and Fall of Flappy Bird: A Mobile Gaming Phenomenon
Flappy Bird, the mobile game that took the world by storm, was developed by Vietnamese video game artist and programmer Dong Nguyen, under his game development company .Gears. This addictive and frustratingly difficult game became a sensation, but its journey was marked by controversy, unexpected success, and a surprising removal from app stores.
The Birth of Flappy Bird:
Dong Nguyen, a self-taught game developer, grew up near Hanoi and discovered his passion for video games through classics like Super Mario Bros. He started coding his own games at a young age, which eventually led him to win an internship at a local video game company. While using an iPhone, he noticed that popular games like Angry Birds were too complex and wanted to create something simpler for on-the-go gamers.
Flappy Bird was born over the course of just a few days. Nguyen designed the bird character, Faby, in 2012 for a canceled game. The game’s mechanics were inspired by the simple act of bouncing a ping pong ball against a paddle for as long as possible. The initial version was easier, but Nguyen found it boring and increased the difficulty. The game’s business model featured free downloads with in-game advertisements, a common approach in the Japanese market.
The Flappy Bird Release:
Flappy Bird was first released on May 24, 2013, with support for the iPhone 5. It received little attention initially. However, its fortunes changed when Swedish YouTuber PewDiePie reviewed the game, leading to a massive influx of players. By January 2014, Flappy Bird topped the charts in the US and Chinese App Stores, quickly earning the title of “the new Angry Birds.” The Android version was launched on January 30, 2014. It became a financial success, with the game generating around $50,000 a day in revenue from in-game advertising.
Controversy and Sudden Removal:
Flappy Bird’s sudden rise to fame in early 2014 puzzled many. Some speculated that bots were used to boost its success, while others accused it of copyright infringement. Dong Nguyen chose not to comment on these allegations, focusing on creating his games in peace. Amid the game’s skyrocketing popularity, Nguyen made a surprising decision.
On February 10, 2014, Nguyen removed Flappy Bird from both the App Store and Google Play. He cited guilt over the game’s addictive nature and the toll it was taking on players as the reason for its removal. The game’s sudden unavailability led to phones with Flappy Bird installed being sold online at high prices.
The Aftermath and Return of Flappy Bird:
Following Flappy Bird’s removal, similar games flooded the app stores, but Apple and Google began removing games deemed too similar to the original. In a Rolling Stone interview, Nguyen left the possibility open for re-releasing Flappy Bird with a “Take a break” warning. On March 19, 2014, Nguyen announced via Twitter that the game would return to app stores but not immediately.
True to his word, Flappy Birds Family, a revised version, was released in August 2014 exclusively through the Amazon Appstore for Amazon Fire TV. This version featured new obstacles and a multiplayer option, designed to be “less addictive.”
Controversy Surrounding Flappy Bird:
Flappy Bird faced its share of controversy, including allegations of plagiarism and copyright infringement. It was accused of using graphics similar to Mario-style graphics, and some even claimed the game had “ripped-off art.” While some similarities with other games were noted, Nguyen maintained that he didn’t know about the other games when he created Flappy Bird.
Legacy and Beyond:
Flappy Bird’s success led to the release of Swing Copters in 2014, a game that shared similar gameplay. The game left a lasting impact, with an Easter egg in Android Lollipop allowing users to play a modified version of Flappy Bird.
In 2016, Flappy Bird made its way into the classic Super Mario World through code injection, ensuring its place in gaming history.
Despite its brief but intense presence, Flappy Bird remains a symbol of the unpredictability of the mobile gaming industry, leaving players and developers alike both baffled and entertained by its soaring, albeit short-lived, success.
Here are frequently asked questions with their answers:
1. Who developed Flappy Bird, and under which game development company?
- Flappy Bird was developed by Vietnamese video game artist and programmer Dong Nguyen under his game development company .Gears.
2. When was Flappy Bird first released, and which platforms did it support?
- Flappy Bird was initially released on May 24, 2013, with support for the iPhone 5.
3. What led to the sudden popularity of Flappy Bird in early 2014?
- Flappy Bird’s sudden popularity can be attributed to a review by Swedish YouTuber PewDiePie.
4. How much revenue was Flappy Bird generating at its peak?
- At its peak, Flappy Bird was generating approximately $50,000 a day in revenue through in-game advertising.
5. Why was Flappy Bird removed from both the App Store and Google Play in 2014?
- Dong Nguyen, the developer, removed Flappy Bird because he felt guilty about the game’s addictive nature and overusage by players.
6. What was the aftermath of Flappy Bird’s removal from app stores?
- The unavailability of Flappy Bird led to phones with the game installed being sold online at high prices.
7. How did Dong Nguyen respond to allegations of plagiarism and copyright infringement regarding Flappy Bird?
- Dong Nguyen chose not to comment on these allegations, preferring to create his games in peace.
8. How did Flappy Bird make a return, and in what form?
- Flappy Birds Family, a revised version, made its return in August 2014, exclusively through the Amazon Appstore for Amazon Fire TV.
9. What Easter egg related to Flappy Bird was featured in Android Lollipop?
- In Android Lollipop, an Easter egg allowed users to play a modified version of Flappy Bird called “L Land.”
10. How did Flappy Bird leave a legacy beyond its original release?
- Flappy Bird’s influence continued with games like Swing Copters and even left a lasting mark on the classic Super Mario World through code injection in 2016.