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The Short Story Of Flappy Bird [Weird & Wonderful Web]

Dave Parrack 16-02-2014

Ah, Flappy Bird. You flapped your way into our hearts before disappearing as soon as the going got tough. We’ll miss you, oh flappy one, with your bizarre flying motion, Mario-inspired The Origins & History Of Mario [Geek History Lessons] An Italian plumber created by a Japanese artist somehow became one of the most recognizable characters on earth. Featured in over 100 games, it's hard to imagine Nintendo or even video games without this mustachioed... Read More obstacles, and frustrating gameplay. You were, are, and always will be, a phenomenon. And this is your story.


The Rise Of Flappy Bird

In April 2013, Vietnamese mobile developer Dong Nguyen teased a new game. Its name was Flap Flap and he had developed it in the space of just two days. After changing its name to Flappy Bird to avoid confusion with an existing app, Nguyen got the game onto the iTunes App Store on May 24, 2013.

Flappy Bird was not an immediate hit, and it wasn’t until October 2013 that it started to gain traction. By the end of 2013 Flappy Bird was one of the Top 250 free apps in the U.S., and on Jan. 10 it entered the Top 10. The Android version debuted on Jan 22, and the game then went viral.

The Best Flappy Bird Videos

It was at this point that everybody started playing Flappy Bird, and, thanks to the magnificence of the Internet, also started uploading videos The YouTube Guide: From Watching to Production Want to get the most out of YouTube? This Youtube guide is for you. This guide goes over everything you need to know about YouTube, whether you're an enthusiast or a budding director. Read More about the game to YouTube. Some of which are very NSFW… you have been warned.

The Flappy Bird Song

You know something has entered into mainstream consciousness when it starts having songs composed about it. And Flappy Bird is no exception. Jonathan Mann, he of ‘Song A Day’ fame, composed this fabulous ode to Flappy Bird, which contains some definite truths.

Angry Grandpa Plays Flappy Bird

Flappy Bird made it big for two reasons: the simplicity of the gameplay, which gave it that all-important pick-up-and-play quality, and the frustrating difficulty level 7 Video Games So Hard They Will Make You Want To Throw Your Controller One of the major staples of old school video games is the incredible difficulty. I've talked about the level of challenge in older games before in an article about the things I miss most from... Read More which kept you trying time and again. This video demonstrates both of these qualities, with Angry Grandpa trying his hand at the game.


Flappy Bird Vine Compilation

With Vines being extremely short clips shot on smartphones, often the best way to watch them is in the form of a compilation video. This Vine compilation tackles the subject of Flappy Bird head-on, and doesn’t pull any punches.

How To Beat Flappy Bird

It turns out there is a way of beating Flappy Bird, though there are a few steps you need to follow to the letter. This guy explains the process, which ends with you satisfied you’ve wrung as much enjoyment as possible out of the game.

How To Delete Flappy Bird

Once you tire of Flappy Bird you may want to delete the game (remembering that you can never get it back). Unfortunately, it isn’t as easy as you may think, as Flappy Bird doesn’t want to die quietly. This bizarre video shows one guy’s repeated attempts at deleting the game.


The End Of Flappy Bird

And then Flappy Bird was gone, removed from Google Play and iTunes by Nguyen. He warned people ahead of time, with a tweet stating that Flappy Bird would be removed in 22 hours, thus creating a rush as everyone who hadn’t yet downloaded the game made sure to do so before it was too late.

Why did Nguyen kill Flappy Bird? No one seems quite sure, with Forbes getting the closest to discovering the truth when it interviewed him in the aftermath. When asked to explain why Flappy Bird was killed he simply said, “I think it has become a problem. To solve that problem, it’s best to take down Flappy Bird. It’s gone forever.

Perhaps the tweet embedded above, written by Nguyen just before he announced Flappy Bird was being taken down, explains it better. Prior to Flappy Bird becoming a legitimate phenomenon Nguyen was an ordinary guy living an ordinary life. Fame and fortune clearly took its toll, thus proving that being rich and famous isn’t necessarily the route to happiness.

The Mainstream Maelstrom

Few mobile games enter into the collective consciousness of the mainstream in the way Flappy Bird has done. Angry Birds 5 Reasons Angry Birds Is So Damn Addictive My name is Dave Parrack, I'm a 34-year-old freelance writer from England, and I have a problem. I'm addicted to playing Angry Birds. Being hooked on catapulting feathered weapons of mass destruction into smug pigs... Read More , Temple Run Temple Run 2 Takes What You Loved About The Original & Makes It Better [iOS] Temple Run is one of those rare iOS games that went completely viral on the App Store. The fact is, there are new games released continually on iTunes, and most of them never even make... Read More , and Candy Crush Saga Need A New Game? Candy Crush Is Boring Compared To This One [Android] At first glance, I Need A Hero did not seem like the right kind of game at all. The name sounds cheesy, the graphics and music did not impress me, and the background story was... Read More are three examples of those that did, but they all took their time to cross over, requiring millions of people playing for millions of hours before the mainstream press became interested.


Flappy Bird was different. Arriving from nowhere, achieving virality on the strength of its frustrating difficulty level, and then being killed at the height of its popularity meant the mainstream media ignored it at their peril. Thus, Flappy Bird think pieces were suddenly everywhere. And this one can now be added to the burgeoning list.

Image Credit: Gigi Ibrahim via Flickr

Related topics: iPhone Game, Retro Gaming.

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  1. Soren
    February 17, 2014 at 3:35 am

    wait wait wait. It didn't get taken down because Nintendo sued him for ripping graphics out of Super Mario Brothers and he was sad that he was such a horrible developer he couldn't program a basic hitbox? Well darn, there goes my theory.

    • Dave P
      February 17, 2014 at 5:39 pm

      Nah, Nintendo couldn't care less. He maintains the pipes were original artwork merely "inspired by" the Mario games.

    • Justin P
      February 18, 2014 at 1:07 am

      Nintendo had nothing whatsoever to do with it. He took it down for his own reasons, apparently.

  2. Tinkicker
    February 16, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    This is absolutely the very first time I've ever even heard of Flappy Bird! And I'm all over tech feeds and game feeds and sites ALL THE TIME.
    Okay, when's the nearly identical but different enough to be legal successor game coming out? Crappy Bird? Flappy Turd? Anyone?
    Okay...going back under my rock now.

    • Dave P
      February 17, 2014 at 5:36 pm

      How can you have gone this long without hearing about it?!

      Oh, the clones are already appearing on the App Store and Google Play. Too many, in fact.

    • Justin P
      February 18, 2014 at 1:06 am

      You really managed to not hear of Flappy Bird until now? I want to know which sites you frequent, because I think I need to read them...

    • Tinkicker
      February 18, 2014 at 2:25 am

      Lol actually I'm here many times a day, every day... 8)

  3. Seppe
    February 16, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    what I don't get is that he removes the app from the store, but this will definitely not decrease the attention that he will receive, on the contrary...

    • Dave P
      February 17, 2014 at 5:34 pm

      I guess in his head it means no new people will be taken by the bug.

  4. Matthew H
    February 16, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    You forgot Flappy Bert. ;)

  5. Maarten D
    February 16, 2014 at 10:02 am

    haha, funny article :)