A dead-simple game built by an indie developer took the world by storm, to hit the coveted No.1 spot in both Apple and Google market place. More than the game it is also the story of an independent indie game developer who chose privacy and anonymity before success and stardom.
The game that rose to earn $50,000 every day with over 50 million downloads and sought global attention from media, ultimately faced an untimely death in an unexpected turn of events.
But why such a simple game with no graphical effects to its credit, became a hit. The question baffled all the major game developers as to why a mediocre looking game became a massive hit. Probably the answer is that the game does not need to be graphically advanced and great looking to be a hit. It just needs to be fun and addictive. And that precisely what Flappy Bird was!
The game was made in just two days and was released in the app store in May 2013. While most of the games took months of hard labor and toil, its developer Nguyen claims that he just spent a few nights coding the game. The game was practically invisible for most of its first six months of life and just like a lightning bolt, it shot to success in the early 2014.
Once it hit the Top Ten spot on the App store, there was no looking back for Flappy Bird. The flurry of media coverage intensified and the game climbed to the No.1 spot on iTunes. It was the game that came out of thin air. By the end of Jan, 2014 it seemed that everyone was either busy playing the game or if they had not downloaded it still, they were lining up in the queue to get it downloaded.
Most of the people who have played the game claim it to be one of the toughest games they have come across. Flappy Bird looks plain, easy and simple on the face of it. All you to do is propel a tiny, pixelated bird to move forward without hitting the green pipes. How hard can that be? But as soon as you start playing the game, the autocracies of the game hit you. Suddenly getting this tiny bird pass between the green pipes becomes an unbelievably challenging task. And this constant challenge with your brain to succeed in this simple but virtually impossible game becomes the most important task for you. That’s what made Flappy Bird such a massive hit.
Flappy Bird was no stranger to controversy since its new-found success. Many critics slammed the game citing it was heavily copied from Super Mario Bros and other successful games. It was also wide criticized for its lack of precise controls and a poor graphical outlay. However, owing to its challenging gameplay and strength of social media, the game became the most sought-after game on app stores.
The biggest victim of this mass hysteria was Dong Nguyen himself. He constantly received hate-tweets about the lousy graphics, difficult controls and how Flappy Bird was dominating their lives. Though several of these comments were meant as a satire, it was totally lost on the Non-English speaking Vietnamese. He took these comments to heart and pleaded people to give him peace. It was clear that he was not at all comfortable with the immense media and public interest in the game. Barring a few interviews, he shunned the media in talking to him.
On 9th Feb, he publically declared on Twitter to take Flappy Bird down as he was not able to take it anymore. The world was perplexed and mystified with such a sudden announcement. It meant the end of a massively hit game which was the product of a sleek gameplay and rapid word-of-mouth publicity on social media.
Flappy Bird is a perfect example of how a mundane game can become the most-loved game with addictive gameplay and thanks to global publicity by social media. Somehow, it seems appropriate that the game left the app world in the same mystified manner as it had entered.
Nevertheless, the game’s craze does not seem to vanish this early. There are many who still prefer having this game on their mobile phones and tablets. Since the game is not anymore on the stores, the gamers go for its alternative ways. And, they are more than happy to have a ditto game like that in fact with better graphics and sound. Grabbing such opportunities, there are many businesspersons who want to develop innovative and engaging game that gives similar experience to the gamers fulfilling the absence.