“Nooooooooooooo!” Screams fill the hallway as the cursed Flappy Bird crashes into a pipe and falls to the ground. The words “Game Over” flash on the screen. This is not the first time a game epidemic has swept over the minds of smartphone users, but for the first time, the fever dissipated as fast as it came.
Who can forget the classic Angry Birds? Or the big race to score high on Temple Run and then again on Temple Run 2? Each are examples of a FAD— a trend or a widely spread craze— that have been available on the App Store for iPhone/iPod users and Google Play for Android users.
Likewise, Flappy Bird spread quickly after it’s May 24, 2013, launch date.
The point of the game is to consistently tap your finger on the screen so the bird can remain in the air and make it through the gaps between the pipes. It’s a game of three stages: Hope, Journey and The Finale.
Stage 1 – Hope. It’s the beginning screen warning you to “Get Ready” and you begin tapping your finger on the screen. Remembering how close you were last time to passing your high score, you are determined to beat it.
Stage 2 – The Journey. This is the point of no return— until you die. It all depends on how you manage to get the bird through the pipe without going too high or going too low and crashing.
Stage 3 – The Finale. After successfully bypassing through some pipes, you approach the unlucky pipe that you don’t see coming, you overestimate or underestimate it’s height. You accidentally tap too soon or too late and the Flappy Bird crashes into the pipe, falling to its doom.
About 30,000,000 users downloaded and played Flappy Bird, according to the Apple Game Center. Less than nine months after its release, Flappy Bird was “removed from its coop.”
“I can call ‘Flappy Bird’ a success of mine. But it also ruins my simple life. So now I hate it,” recalls game creator, Dong Nguyen, via Twitter. During an interview Nguyen had with Forbes, he claimed Flappy Bird was solely intended to be a time killer but surpassed that to becoming “a huge success and therefore the only cure to the addiction was to take it down.”
However, this app’s short-lived phenomenon is not completely over. Soon after Flappy Bird was taken down, another trend arose. “iPhone with Flappy Bird installed” began to appear in search boxes, selling for mouth-opening amounts. One iPhone sprang up on eBay with bid as high as $99,000– almost $100,000.
So if you thought you had been cursed with the Flappy Bird Fever, consider yourself lucky for downloading the free app before it got taken down. If not, your other option would be to buy an iPhone with Flappy Bird installed, ranging from a few hundred to thousands of dollars. And a free app sounds better, if you ask me.
Featured Image: A Flappy Bird user in their element. Photographer: Rosemary Pastron ’16