Flappy Bird: Reason Behind Its Death And Powerful Existence

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By Riza Ornos | February 12, 2014 9:00 PM EST

Flappy Bird is definitely gone. But its maddening effects are simply not forgotten. Creator Dong Nguyen has decided to pull down his simple but addicting mobile game from App Store and Goggle Play on Sunday leaving many curious gamers in the dark.

The short-lived success of Flappy Bird was still a mystery waiting to be resolved. Its abrupt death has taken the pop phenomenon to the next level. The app's apparent success was too much for Nguyen and it became too overwhelming to handle that he decided to pull its life support.

The app's astonishing ascent and abrupt demise have left many questions unanswered. Who is Dong Nguyen? What was the real reason  he pulled out the game aside from not taking it any longer? The most intriguing question of all was what made this amateur smartphone app very addicting and ridiculously entertaining?

Since its launch in May 2013, the game was still an unknown app until it soared over the winter season and achieved the highest spot on both iPhone and Android app stores. Major franchises such as Candy Crush and Angry Birds were the ones who occupied the spot and now the popular app was raking in $50,000 a day.

One of the most obvious reasons for its success was that "Flappy Bird" tapped into the most ignored demographics: children with smartphones. According to Nguyen when he spoke to TechCrunch, before his app skyrocketed to success it was strong in the children's demographics.

"Most of my players are kids in schools," Flappy Bird's Hanoi-based developer said.

Like many apps who failed to tap the children's demographics, Flappy Bird managed to soar into schoolyard word-of-mouth while other apps targeted the college campuses.

What made it unique was that there were no bad guys, no changes in scenery and no levels to achieve. All you have to do was to navigate the awkward flapping bird between a series of pipes.

The sole enemy of the bird was gravity. This may sound easy but until you try it, you will know that you have to smack into the first pipe a dozen of times before you can achieve a score of 1. That's how ridiculously hard and simple that game was.

Many users claimed the game was robbing them of their productivity and sanity. There was even a Twitter account that devoted entirely to "Flappy Bird Problems" and believe it or not it gained 140,000 followers.

So the question now is, if the game is so awful why are there so many people torturing themselves with it?

According to Cnet's Nick Staff, Flappy Bird was "the embodiment of our decent into madness," while others noted the game's popularity is the sign that humanity had lost its grip on technology.

What makes Flappy Bird compelling was not the game's scenery and Mario-esque sound effect, but it embodies a long-held principle of good game design. Like what Atari Founder Nolan Bushnell said in 1971, "Easy to learn, difficult to master."

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