Come and sit around the fire because I am going to tell you a story. A story that happened almost a decade ago and that was one of the biggest ‘booms’ (forgive me the anglicism) that are remembered in the ecosystem of mobile games. It was the earthquake that caused ‘Flappy Bird’a game as simple as it is addictive) that turned out to be quite a problem for its creator.
Recently we are becoming more aware of the reality of the mental problems that anxiety and stress lead to, even though the signs have been there for years. I include myself among those of us who have opened our eyes relatively recently. But for Dong Nguyen, creator of ‘Flappy Bird,’ those problems came much earlier. Nguyen was unable to sleep due to the success of his gameso he had to finish him off.
‘Flappy Bird’ was desperately complicated
‘Flappy Bird’ was born in 2013 but it was not until the beginning of the following year that it experienced its full explosion. the game had a mechanic as simple as it was high was its difficulty. It consisted of making a bird cross a stage full of pipes with openings at different heights. Each touch on the screen meant a flutter (flappy) that raised our bird and then fell back.
Things got complicated when you had to combine several consecutive quick taps to raise the flight height, or when you had to drop the bird to go through the lower openings. Explained like this, cold and without playing, it might seem that ‘Flappy Bird’ was really easy to play, but nothing could be further from the truth. And went that combination of simplicity and difficulty the one that made him rise to the altars.
At the beginning of 2014, ‘Flappy Bird’ had already managed to place itself in the first place of downloads in the iOS App Store, and did the same with Android. The game, which was free but contained advertising, then became a reel. A machine to produce money that ended up getting out of control for its creator, Dong Nguyen, who finally opted for euthanasia. Before ending up in oblivion once he fell out of fashion, Nguyen finished him off and turned him into quite the martyr.
‘Thank you very much for playing my game’
IronPants, one of the clones that emerged after the success of Flappy Bird
Rivers and rivers of digital ink poured over a ‘Flappy Bird’ that soon had clones appearing from every corner. TheVerge estimated that the app was earning its creator approximately $50,000 a day between both stores. A considerably high figure considering that we were talking about an ‘indie’ game from a creator who until then was quite anonymous. And that it had other games in the mobile app stores that were infinitely less well-known.
This success caused Dong Nguyen, as we mentioned before, lose sleep. The game had been designedto play in a few minutes when you are relaxed […] but it went on to become an addictive product. I think it has become a problem. To solve that problem, it is best to kill Flappy Bird. He’s gone forever“. Those were the words that Nguyen dedicated to Forbes once the app had disappeared. “Thank you very much for playing my game“.
Since then, back in 2014, there have been copies of ‘Flappy Bird’ clones and other originals that circulate through the liars of the APKs. But the original disappeared forever. “My life hasn’t been as comfortable as it used to be. I couldn’t sleep.” And so, with a stroke of the pen, ‘Flappy Bird’ went down in gaming history as one of the biggest explosions in memory, and also one of the most notorious escapes. Always in our hearts.