It was available for iPhone since May 13, 2013, but it didn’t surge in popularity until recent weeks. It featured a “comic book” map, green pipes and cartoon characters.
It wasn’t Super Mario Bros., or any other ‘90s Nintendo video game.
It’s Flappy Bird; a popular smartphone video game that was taking over iPhone and Androids for the past several weeks. Yet, earlier this month, the game was removed from both the Apple App Store and Google Play following harsh words from critics.
The point of the game was simple. Navigate a cartoon bird through green pipes by tapping on your screen. If you fly between the pipes, you receive one point. Yet, if you collide with a pipe, your bird dies and the game is over.
Seems easy right? Not so fast.
Since its rise in popularity, critics have panned the game for being too difficult, also adding that it doesn’t have a realistic objective. Developer Dong Nguyen later took to social media to share his own input. On Feb. 8, Nguyen tweeted, “I can call ‘Flappy Bird’ is a success of mine. But it also ruins my simple life. So now I hate it.” The game was eventually removed from both the Apple App Store and Google Play on Feb. 10.
Predictably, there has been an outcry over the past nine days to bring Flappy Bird back, fans going as far as petitioning the White House to reinstate the game. In addition, multiple spin-offs have been released on the Apple App Store, some going under the name Splashy Fish, City Bird and, more recently, Flappy Valentine.
Though it has been criticized, Flappy Bird was also loved by many, including myself. The simple task of tapping the screen gives the game a retro feel. Its challenging nature makes the game addictive, as users feel the desire to continue playing despite failure. Upon first playing the game, I too was frustrated that I couldn’t get past the first pipe. Yet, at the same time, I was hooked, and didn’t want to put my phone down.
Unfortunately for those who didn’t download the game before it was pulled, the only way to get the game is to buy an iPhone or Android with Flappy Bird preloaded. Select phones have been going for hundreds of dollars on resale websites such as eBay.
Reinstating Flappy Bird to the Apple App Store and Google Play would make all parties happy. Users wouldn’t have to rely on knock off games, while revenue (such as advertising money) would soar for developers. Most importantly, the game had potential to be one of the most popular of the “App” era, similar to Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja and others.
With that said, I was fortunate to download the game before it was removed. Not that it matters or anything, but my high score is 30. I’m very proud of it.