Games such as Flappy Bird, Candy Crush Saga, and Angry Birds, have taken the gaming world for a completely new spin. Mobile gaming has deviated from the niche audience and targeted all types of people. These games have created odd obsessions and have created some interesting news coverage and Twitter wars. Surprisingly, these small games generated a tons of profit as well.
During this decade, we have seen a huge shift in gaming. Back in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, gaming was usually played on a console, handheld console, or on a computer. Gaming was usually aimed at a more niche audience, which had the stigma of being nerdy, or having social issues. Consoles and games were also expensive, so not everyone had gaming devices or computers that could handle the necessary specs.
The invention of “Smartphones” made it easier to provide gaming to the general public. Developers now can create “apps” which is short for applications, in which they can put out a game at a very low cost and still sell a lot; most people in well developed countries carry smartphones.
Flappy Bird is no exception. Flappy Bird was created by a single Vietnam game developer, Dong Nguyen, and finished the app within a few days. The app launched in May of 2013. Even though it doesn’t have in-app-purchases, Flappy Bird is one of the biggest, fastest money making apps ever on mobile. Flappy Bird was said to make $50,000 in profit a day!
Like many app games, Flappy Bird takes a simple concept, which is more or less ripped off the game Helicopter, and creates a familiar and easy to play to spin on it to attract as many players as possible. Ironically, Flappy Bird is anything but easy.
It is a challenging game where you tap on the screen to guide Flappy Bird up or down to avoid the pipes, which look insanely familiar to the classic 8-bit Mario game graphics, adding to your score for how many pipes you pass. That’s all there really is to it.
It seems surprising that such a simple game could become the new hit that everyone is talking about. The popularity is so widespread, that it is virtually impossible not to hear of the game. This doesn’t mean that all the popularity is positive. There are many people who have opposite opinions.
There are a lot of mixed opinions about the game, and Flappy Bird is one of the biggest topics on social media sites such as Twitter. I was curious about the craze about Flappy bird so I talked with a classmate of mine who absolutely loved the game. I simply asked him to list three reasons why he enjoys Flappy Bird.
1) “It’s absolutely addicting”
2) “I feel inclined to beat my friend’s scores”
3) “There’s no better feeling than crashing an 8-bit bird with Jz Lip (music note) into copy-written Mario pipes”
Not all comments about Flappy Bird were done in such a polite manner. Nguyen said he got very nasty Tweets daily regarding the game. Some went as far as death threats. Some of the tweets consisted of very shocking statements such as:
“Dear creator of Flappy Bird, I hate you. Go die in a hole.” (Kotaku)
“I hate you and your stupid fucking game!” another wrote, around the same time. “I mean I hit one feather on a pipe and die! How realistic is that?!?” (Kotaku)
One anonymous Twitter member even asked the developer how many death threats they get a day. Nguyen tweeted back reporting he gets around a few hundred a day.
On Feb. 10, the backlash, success, and attention got too much for Nguyen, to the point that he decided to pull the app out of both the App Store and Play Store, and cancelled plans for it coming on Windows. With this sudden action, Nguyen also tweeted “I cannot take this anymore.”
We now live in a world where the public now has a huge influence on different types of media, gaming included. It asks the question of how the turn to mobile gaming will affect developers from future games and how much control the public has now of which games become “mainstream” and successful.
Has society come too far to try and control such media? We have reached an era where the consumers are also producers, but I hope with this new privilege, we can learn to be responsible on our part.
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