To kill a flapping bird?

February 24, 2014

After the ‘death’ of Flappy Bird Feb. 9 when developer Dong Nguyen made it impossible for new users to download the game, two Call staffers reflect on the maddeningly difficult game that soared to the top of the mobile marketplace.

Don’t worry, be flappy

Don't worry, be flappy

With a pixelated, yellow bird, untouchable green pipes and the need for constant focus, Flappy Bird is the new fixation for app-users everywhere. But sadly, Flappy Bird is no longer available in the App Store. You may as well have ripped my heart out and thrown it on the ground along with Flappy Bird.

This simple, but addictive game took a hold of me at the very beginning. The goal of the game is to keep Flappy Bird in flight while dodging green pipes. Even the slightest movement will cause Flappy Bird to crash and careen into the ground, yet it was simply hypnotizing. My adrenaline pumps and nothing around me exists when I play Flappy Bird, allowing me to escape reality for just a few minutes, exactly what a game is meant to do. Though the rush of excitement is short-lived, the game captivates me. Although people who previously downloaded this game are still able to play, other people no longer have the option to play with Flappy Bird.

The features of the game are also user-friendly, a plus for technologically disabled people like me. It sets up quickly so one can play many times in a row, which is a nice change from games like Candy Crush that take a half hour to regenerate one life. Although many complain of the difficulty, I have found that practice helps. I gradually increased my high score, a feat that was not as challenging as I thought.

Flappy Bird topped the charts of Apple’s best games and received four out of five stars on reviewer ratings. Flappy Bird was also free and had no in-app purchases tempting you to buy more lives and waste money. This makes Flappy Bird the perfect game. So why take it off the App Store? Dong Nguyen, the developer, said he was “taking Flappy Bird down,” and that he “couldn’t take this anymore.” Nguyen didn’t like how people were using his game, stating that people were “overusing it.”

There goes my heart–ripped into a million pieces. The only thing capable of putting it back together is the return of Flappy Bird to the App store.

And who’s to say that Flappy Bird doesn’t have a deeper meaning? Yes, it is a tiny, yellow, cartoon bird, but some have connected it with the difficulties of life. People go through life, dodging obstacles only to fail. But Flappy Bird demonstrates the lesson of getting back up again and pushing through.

For me, Flappy Bird is a convenient game that allows for quick, mindless fun. Sure, the game is over-sensitive and tricky, but it is perfect for when you find yourself needing a distraction for a few minutes. So try it. If you haven’t downloaded the app, play it on any device that has previously downloaded it. Don’t give up on Flappy Bird. Flappy Bird never gives up, so why should you?

Bye bye birdy

Bye bye birdy

Flappy Bird is blatantly stupid. This mobile game has one single mechanic: the precise and frantic tapping of the screen in order to propel a strangely heavy cartoon through a seemingly endless series of green pipes.

There is nothing else–only the constant cycle of flight and death. Every bird that has ever flapped has died. There is no explanation, no reason to this madness.

Flappy Bird is a vulture, ravenously gobbling down your free time, self-respect and humanity. Even now, when the game can’t be downloaded on the mobile market, a massive amount of people still play it, so it makes sense to assume the game has some element of fun. However, this assumption is wrong. Flappy Bird is supremely difficult and incredibly unenjoyable to play. Not only does the game require one’s full attention to survive, but it makes the player feel acutely clumsy whenever they die (which is often). Annoying banner ads forever float at the top of the screen, even sometimes causing lag and needlessly murdering a bird that might have flown a little farther. There is no fun or deeper meaning to be found here.

Flappy Bird is nothing less than a disease upon society — a fungus that spreads through spores inserted directly into the tips of your thumbs. Once inside you, Flappy Bird will quickly spread, taking root inside your very brain and altering your behavior. Just as certain kinds of cordyceps fungi invade ants, causing them to climb to higher ground before killing them and bursting growths out of the head and body to better spread their deadly spores, so too does Flappy Bird alter the behavior of those infected.

These forsaken folks are consumed by the game, forever tapping a glass screen for no observable reason. I have known people to sink so much time and effort into this devilish game that they produce scores in excess of 100, which is ridiculously high. Before the game was taken down, many would even spread the bug to their friends and family. This baffles me. Why would anyone willingly transmit such an infection to another human?

Fortunately, the Flappy Bird has been amputated from the mobile market by its creator. The rest of society is now immune, and attention is shifting away from the once-prolific time-waster.

Still, we must stay vigilant against the threat of needless distraction. Resist the urge to willingly submit ourselves to the mental rot games such as this. The next disease that extends its tendrils so widely into our lives might not run its course so quickly.

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