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What happened to the creator of Flappy Bird, a game so popular and addictive that it became a problem

Dong Nguyen created a mobile title that caught the world’s attention nearly a decade ago.

What happened to the creator of Flappy Bird, a game so popular and addictive that it became a problem

Unless you lived in a cave or weren’t familiar with video games yet, you probably remember the existence of Flappy Bird, a title for mobile devices that enjoyed tremendous success for a few months after its launch in May 2013. Today we want to tell you what happened to it and why it disappeared from our lives despite having become one of those atypical phenomena that arise from time to time in the industry.
To tell you this story you have to start by knowing the protagonists of it. The main responsible for it is Dong Nguyen, a Vietnamese programmer and artist who is the author of Flappy Bird (called Flap Flap originally). He and only he is to blame for having created one of the games that, being so simple, became one of the most addictive that has been enjoyed on iOS and Android.

Flappy Bird proposed us to handle a hieratic yellow bird with a side scroll very basic mechanics but high difficulty. With a single finger we tapped on the touch screen of our smartphone and made this bird rise a little with its wings and then fall back down. The objective? Passing between some huge -and familiar- pipes that we advanced towards without contacting them, adding a point to the scoreboard for each obstacle we saved.

With this starting point and no apparent depth, the game was placed in early 2014 as the most downloaded option on the App Store and the Play Store. This was mainly due to the fact that it was a free access game, but Flappy Bird contained advertising that was often shown to us when we died: what had been designed as another monetization system to make the game profitable became a nightmare for its creatorwho was absolutely overwhelmed by the situation.

The video game generated money ex-doors, but that was not Nguyen’s main concern. Yes, the game made him extremely rich, specifically receiving about $50,000 a day between the two platforms it was available on, according to information from The Verge. But there was something else that prevented him from sleeping: the addiction it causedwhich in certain cases reached sickly levels.

The conscience weighed so much that he decided to take action on the matter and ended up withdrawing the game from stores for the sake of your mental health. “Flappy Bird was designed to play for a few minutes when you’re relaxed,” Dong Nguyen said in an interview with Forbes. “But it went on to become an addictive product. I think it’s become a problem, and to solve it, it is best to kill Flappy Bird. She’s gone forever.”

The Vietnamese programmer continued to receive income from those who had it downloaded to their devices, since advertising was still being shown to those users, but he could not bear the fact that he was creating a feeling of addiction to more and more players, with some of them writing him emails where they equated his degree of addiction with that of some drugs. In addition, other creators accused him of using bots to increase reviews and several users insulted him for the difficulty of the game.

“I wanted to create a game that you could enjoy ten minutes on the subway in a relaxed way, not a monster that you could spend hours and hours playing,” Nguyen said on another occasion. “I can call Flappy Bird a success of its own. But it’s also has ruined my simple life. So now I hate him,” he wrote in a message posted on his personal profile. Twitter.

As of the removal from the game on February 10, 2014, a multitude of Flappy Bird clones emerged both in the App Store and the Play Store, and some even showed how easy it was to program the game by making it work with less than 20 lines of code, further proof that sometimes you just have to hit the key and know how to execute a good idea.

They demonstrated how easy it was to program the game by getting it to work with less than 20 lines of codeIts impact was such that we saw many references to the game in different areas. The non-profit organization Code.org, which offers computer science education, delivered a set of lessons that allowed students to create their own Flappy Bird, and even Google didn’t forget about it in the years that followed. The Lollipop version of Android included an easter egg in the form of a similar game that users could play, with lollipops instead of pipes and the Android robot replacing the bird, and one of the Doodles of the Year put the game alongside other 2014 phenomena like the Soccer World Cup or the Ice Bucket Challenge.

What happened to the creator of Flappy Bird, a game so popular and addictive that it became a problem

As for its creator, it is worth noting that Dong Nguyen continued to make video games, and in fact he presented Swing Copters also for mobile devices in August of that same year, trusting that his popularity and good work as a developer would be enough for the game to work well, but without reaching the extremes of Flappy Bird. He made it. In 2017 he introduced us to another addictive and challenging title called Ninja Spinki Challenges, but since then it disappeared from social media, and none of the similar projects from .Gears (the name he gave his studio) came close to the worldwide phenomenon of Flappy Bird. This is remembered to this day as one of those cases of sudden success that, without wanting it or drinking it, surprise developers who only want make videogames and continue living your life in a calm and calm way, without a simple 2D modeling of a yellow bird that only flaps its wings embittering his existence.

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