The surprise whirlwind success that is Flappy Bird will apparently burn out before it had a chance to fade away. According to the game’s creator on Twitter, he will shut it down at roughly 12 PM ET on February 9.
I am sorry ‘Flappy Bird’ users, 22 hours from now, I will take ‘Flappy Bird’ down. I cannot take this anymore.
— Dong Nguyen (@dongatory) February 8, 2014
It is unclear as to specifically why the creator of Flappy Bird, Dong Nguyen of Vietnam, will be shutting the game down, although he acknowledges that it is not due to legal reasons and is not selling it to anyone else. The reason he has brought the legality part up is due to accusations that he ripped off the idea for Flappy Bird from the flash game Piou Piou, as well as the notable fact that the pipes and character sprite looks like they were lifted out of Super Mario Bros 3.
It is an odd choice for so many to go after Mr. Nguyen for lifting ideas from others and making a huge success. If there is a huge outrage over this, then why aren’t we up in arms over the overwhelming success of multi-million dollar mobile giant Angry Birds? As much as the colorful birds were an original design, the entire gameplay concept was lifted from Crush The Castle, which has been retooled from catapult-esque flash games from years before that. Piou Piou, which was the game Flappy Bird has been accused of stealing the idea from, not only plays completely differently from each other, but each both arguably lift from the basic Helicopter flash game released almost a decade ago. Don’t even get me started on the Candy Crush/Bejeweled saga.
There is nothing new under the sun. The fact that one really basic, intentionally unintuitive mobile game became insanely popular should not fuel critique. Flappy Bird just so happens to be the most popular example of a gaming market lousy with creatively-absent games that lift concepts from each other and adapt just enough to be considered original. The game is free and comes with 0 microtransactions. Additionally, there’s no convoluted rating system created to skew good favor. Why must we be angry at this title more than others with more egregious ways of taking money from consumers? I mean, $50 for an Angry Birds console game?
Let’s not pretend that this makes the entire market terrible, either. There are quite a great amount of original games developed for mobile devices every year. I encourage you to check them out and learn what makes a good or bad mobile game. However, let’s stop pretending that Flappy Bird is bad primarily because it lifts concepts from other games or that it made lots of money. It’s a shallow game that is difficult to maneuver intentionally so that if you get a lucky stream of pipes that don’t have you fly too high or too low you will get a much higher score than others. Argue the game for what the game is.
Nguyen will continue to make other games, and will now have the resources to pour more effort into them with the success of Flappy Bird. Hopefully his next venture in his dream job isn’t met with as much controversy and negativity as what has been surrounding him for the past week.
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