I downloaded Vietnam-based game developer’s viral hit Flappy Bird

Prepare to lose hours of your time to this innocent-looking monstrosity of a smartphone game. How can something so bad be this good?

Flappy

Think of the most challenging game you know. Now, multiply the difficulty by 100 and imagine me letting out a string of epithets with a thumb on my mobile screen. I thought I was brave, courageous even, to take on the impossible Flappy Bird. But after a crash too many, here’s my review.

Vietnam-based independent game developer Nguyen Ha Dong, the man behind this crazy successful pipe-manoeuvring, bird-killing smartphone weed joint had told TechCrunch that “he just got lucky” with getting it to be ranked the top downloaded free app on the iOS App Store. Why do I get the feeling that that’s how I’m supposed to hit anything above a depressing score of 0? My colleague Christine, on the other hand, has a high score of 30. She claims she’s competing with her husband, who has a score of 35.

But I’m telling you it’s not just luck. It’s a sort of rhythm you procure after an hour of playing it. You will see your score shoot up from 1 to 2 to 5 to 10, and by then, it has become a nasty addiction.You start thinking, “Wow, if I can get that stupid bird through 10 pipe obstacles, I might be able to bring it through 12!” It’s a fuss-free blend of Jetpack Joyride and Temple Run sans in-app purchases and side quests. You don’t have to worry about spending money to give that blind and spatially-challenged (why else would it need help to wiggle its way through confined spaces?) avian creature iron wings or propellers. There’s no option to do anything but fly.

Read also: Marveling at mid-core: the new genre of games

The home screen looks innocuous, with a throwback to the 8-bit era. It features the poor bird flying indefinitely with ‘Flappy Bird’ right behind it. In addition, there are three orange buttons (Start, Rate and Score) which lead you to play the game, rate it on the App Store, and see your high score respectively. Within the game, you can also choose to pause it or share your score with friends on social media. From time to time, the screen will showcase a banner advertisement leading to another game, which stays for a few seconds and disappears.

The game isn’t rocket science. No, it really isn’t. It’s that cheeseburger you know you really shouldn’t be munching on when there are organic pears in the next room. It’s that game your friends warn you about, but you download it anyway because you think you’re better than all of them. You think you’ll be able to beat their scores. Within five seconds of playing Flappy Bird, the truth will come crashing down and you won’t like it. But you will continue playing it. Because you think you’ll be able to beat your friends’ scores somehow.

If you are hooked on Flappy Bird, it might be time for rehab. Try these games to regain some sort of control over your life.

 

Elaine is a fervent believer that if there ever is a zombie apocalypse, we will all be snapping away at them with our phones and posting them onto Instagram. A Mass Communication graduate of Ngee Ann Polytechnic's School of Film and Media Studies, she enjoys writing about technology and entrepreneurs. When not hashtagging her way through all sorts of trouble, Elaine is probably contemplating how to write in the third person.

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