Flappy Bird proves we can all be app superstars
14th Feb 2014 | 12:50
Maybe it's not too late to make a million
I don't have an addictive personality. Ok. I do. That's a lie. Chocolate, gym, gadgets. I can't keep my hands off them. But Flappy Bird. I just don't get it. Didn't get it. I have it on my phone. But it's totally wasted on me.
I came to the game late, and the story of the developer pulling it from the virtual shelves has been rehashed (rehatched?) too many times to dig into again. But coming nearly 'after the event' meant I could see why the hype machine went into such overdrive. Flappy Bird was being removed, and a part of people's lives was ending.
The dev told us we had a finite time to get it. It was the most polite tantrum ever - we even got notice. Now, that's thoughtful. Or calculated, you may say. I don't buy into the fact people were actually selling phones with Flappy Bird pre-installed for thousands of dollarpounds for anything other than hype… clearly that contravenes eBay's rules.
A man renting out his iPhone to allow people to play the same game does smack of addiction though, so I'm glad I managed to sidestep this life-swallower.
It's not too late
There is a lesson here. In fact there are two: firstly - to the big games makers. This just goes to show that you can spend a fortune on research and development, but ultimately, there is no logic to what will be a hit and what won't.
And secondly, that a bit of news coverage and a very public meltdown can work wonders.
I actually like this whole thing – it gives us all hope that one day we can make a game that will be a hit. I know I have no coding experience and that hundreds of thousands of apps are submitted every month, with very few ever making it to profit, but who hasn't idly dreamed up an addictive game and thought 'that's going to make me millions.'
I know that's never likely to happen – like the notion that most people think they'll one day write a novel – but the fact an independent games developer can dream up something so great and widely-loved is a wonderful thing.
Give it to the birds
I'd be proud to have made something that so many people were really into – there's a transient nature to mobile gaming, and we've all got smartphones littered with games we couldn't put down at one point, but haven't played in months or years.
With that in mind, just what was the dev's intention? This is a hard one to unravel. Why did he remove it? Was he having a meltdown?
If so, why be so rational and give users a good day's notice to hurry up and get it? Most people who snap tend to do it there and then. If I were in his position, where he wanted the 'simple life', I'd have probably just pulled it immediately and screw the lot of you.
Looking at his Twitter feed, he was getting a lot of questions and requests about the game – it's not hard to reasonably imagine that this was just simply too much to deal with, a juggernaut careering out of control.
But then again, rationale just doesn't seem to be a part of this. If a game is earning you $50,000 dollars a day and you crave simplicity which you now feel has been compromised, do you just give that up so easily?
A quarter of a million dollars a week, people. And not even a full week - that's a Monday-Friday salary. As one person put it, if you really want to go back to a simple life, sell the concept of the game, take the money and run.
You could buy your own island, complete with shack and live the simplest life ever. Or give the money to cancer research or the cats' home. Hell, even the RSPB. Save a few real life chicks from being killed by green pipes in the sky.