The developer of the popular app, ‘Flappy Bird,’ has recently responded to his app’s skyrocketing fame, calling its press coverage “overrated”. Dong Nguyen, a 29-year-old Vietnamese developer and the creative force behind the ‘Flappy Bird’ app, is apparently not too pleased with all the attention he is receiving as a result of the app’s popularity. In response to the press coverage of he and his game, Nguyen tweeted this past Tuesday, “Press people are overrating the success of my games. It is something I never want. Please give me peace.”
‘Flappy bird’ was designed by Nguyen back in May of 2013, but did not hit the app store until January of this year. Already, it has been doing extremely well, becoming a nearly overnight viral success, and topping the download charts in the US and UK. However, it would not be entirely strange for one to wonder why exactly that is. Despite its growing popularity, ‘Flappy Bird’ has been mocked for having a poor design, and in addition, the concept of the game is actually incredibly simple: fly a bird through the air without hitting pipes and acquire points. If the bird hits a pipe, the game is over.
So with such simplicity, what accounts for the app’s popularity? Like so many other smartphone apps on the market, the answer can be summed up a word: addiction. It turns out that the game is extremely difficult, causing the game to end quickly and people to want to play it over and over again, sometimes even for hours on end. Already, a person searching YouTube can find all sorts of supposed hacks and demo videos that proud, frustrated, and seemingly addicted players have uploaded of their ‘Flappy Bird’ experiences. Nguyen took to his Twitter to give frustrated game users ‘Flappy Bird’ advice. “Take it easy and it should be easier. Don’t push it too hard and too fast.” He also advised persistent ‘Flappy Bird’ users who continued to play the game nonstop to, “Give my games a break too.”
The popularity of ‘Flappy Bird’ is reminiscent of the somewhat similar game, ‘Angry Birds’, which was initially released in 2009 for Apple’s iOS. In contrast to ‘Flappy Bird,’ the object of ‘Angry Birds’ was launching birds and hitting obstacles – instead of avoiding them. The game also gathered a viral following because of its level of difficulty and the appeal to keep winning and advancing levels.
Nguyen’s overnight soar to mainstream popularity with the viral success of ‘Flappy Bird’ has prompted The Independent to call the game the Gangnam Style of the app store, referring of course to the 2012 viral hit by South Korean singer Psy, whose sudden and unanticipated arrival in the music industry and subsequent extreme popularity surprised everyone and took the world by storm. Whether he likes it or not, it appears that Nguyen’s overnight success has garnered him instant media attention that will not be going away anytime soon, and that ‘Flappy Bird’ is here to stay for a while – or at least until the next viral app comes along.
By Laura Clark