The popular screen-tapping game, Flappy Bird, is set to return later this year in August. One-man developer, Dong Nguyen, created the mobile game and it exploded in popularity. The return promises some improvements and will create less addictive gameplay.
Released in May of 2013, Flappy Bird would go on to become the most downloaded free game on Apple’s App Store in January of 2014. At the same time that it reached the number one spot on the App Store, it was then released on the Android’s Play Store.
Despite claims that the game was earning around $50,000 a day in revenue through in-game advertising, Nguyen decided to pull the game from both the App Store and the Play Store in February. On February 8, Nguyen wrote on Twitter that he was sorry and that Flappy Bird would be taken down in 22 hours from the post. He included that he “cannot take this anymore.”
Speculation why the game was taken down started immediately after the announcement was made. Most people speculated that Nguyen had taken down the game due to legal issues. The simple block graphics and green pipes looked a little too close to the imagery in the popular video game Super Mario World, created by Nintendo. However, both Nguyen and Nintendo both made statements that it was not true. Nguyen stated that his art style was definitely inspired by Super Mario World, but that no graphics were ripped from the actual game. Nintendo actually praised the game for using inspiration from one of its most popular video games.
Many speculated that the sudden shot to fame is what caused Nguyen to pull the game. Flappy Bird was developed and maintained by only one person. Nguyen has stated in the past that getting all the feedback and all the emails were a little too much for one person to handle. Since the game became one of the most played games on the App Store and the Play Store, he had to deal with a lot more voices of opinion and demands. Since the game has been taken down, Nguyen has not commented on this speculation and has continued to receive comments and remarks on his Twitter account as well as through email. It was through the feedback that Nguyen decided it is was time to change Flappy Bird and have its big return in August.
In an interview with Forbes, Nguyen stated that the real reason he decided to take down the app was because he saw that people became addicted to the game. He felt that people were changing their lives drastically so that they could play the game and achieve a higher score. He stated that he felt guilty for having this kind of negative impact on people’s lives and decided the only way to help was to remove the game.
Since the game was taken down, there have been plenty of Flappy Bird clones. Big companies and small developers have tried to emulate the popularity of the original. A few clones have gotten a few players, yet none have matched the success created by Nguyen. People felt the need for the original and even took drastic measures to have access to the game. Cell phones that had the game still installed were reaching bids of $1,000 and more through online auctions and sales.
Recently, Nguyen has given word that Flappy Bird would indeed return. He has stated the return will bring improvements to the game. He has added multiplayer so that gamers could play together and try to beat each other’s scores. Nguyen has also claimed that the game will be “less addictive.” How he was able to make the game less addictive has yet to be revealed.
The return of Flappy Bird in August will surely please those who cannot get enough of tapping on their mobile devices. Gamers everywhere hope that Nguyen can keep his conscience clean this time around and release a game that people find more fun than addicting.
By Raul Hernandez