Flying no more - Google and Apple ground Flappy Bird clones

Flappy Bird was an addictive game developed by Vietnamese game developer Dong Nguyen. It took the developer about two or three days to create the game, and it was not marketed in any way. Yet, it became one of the top downloads earlier in the year. The game's popularity came through reviews and word of mouth more than anything else.

Flappy Bird Phenomenon

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Image via Flickr by naka_hide

Flappy Bird was released in May, but it didn't reach peak popularity until January. In the game, players had to maneuver a tiny bird through a maze of metal pipes. Players had to tap the screen to keep the bird flapping higher, or stop tapping to let it sink lower. For each pipe players were able to clear, they received a point. With enough points, players were able to earn a medal. While it certainly sounds like a simple concept, players had a very difficult time getting past the first few pipes.

Popularity of the Game

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Image via Flickr by sleepyneko

Flappy Bird had more than 50 million downloads through Apple's App Store alone. Unlike console games, most mobile games are for people who want to pass time or keep boredom at bay. These games are not made with brilliant storylines or amazing graphics. Even so, gamers couldn't agree on whether it was a good game or a bad game. Flappy Bird was certainly not known for groundbreaking animation since the graphics were as simple as the gameplay. The storyline was also as effortless as they come. However, when Nguyen announced that he was pulling the game, it became even more popular. People started downloading the game to their mobile phone, then posting the phone online for sale at a highly inflated price. Even though the game is no longer available for download, it will still work on any phone with the game on it.

Pulling the Game

Even though the game was widely popular, and was reportedly bringing the creator around $50,000 a day in advertisement revenue, Nguyen decided to pull the plug, and deleted the game on February 8. He claims that the success of the game became too much for him, and his simple life was worth more than the money the game was bringing in. There had been some talk about a similar look and theme to Nintendo games, raising questions as to whether Nguyen might have pulled the game because he faced a lawsuit. However, both Nintendo and Nguyen claim this was not the case. Some also wondered if the developer was also tired of facing the personal criticism over the popularity of such a simple game that some aimed his way. While Nguyen has been quiet since pulling the game, he claims he is still creating games.

Clones Live On

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Image via Apple.com

Although the original Flappy Bird is now gone, that doesn't mean that gamers don't have other options for similar games. Apple and Google are cracking down on certain imitators of the game, yet others are still available for download in their stores. Splashy Fish has an almost identical gameplay, but instead of a bird, players maneuver a fish through an underwater world of pipes. There's also an app called Flappy Wings, which describes itself as a parody of the original game. Some game developers are even taking a shot at pop culture by creating games called Flying Cyrus and Flappy Miley. Gamers who have a fast 4G connection on their mobile phones, similar to what T-Mobile offers, can quickly download these games and try them out themselves.

Flappy Bird was a highly addictive game that took the mobile game world by storm. There were many questions about why such a simple and yet difficult game became so popular in such a short time. Even more questions came up when the developer of the game decided to suddenly pull the game. One thing that is known for sure is that eventually another game will come along that will grab the interest of mobile gamers.