Flappy Bird

When it comes to smartphone games, Sisyphus is one popular bastard. The original Damned. Push the rock up the hill. Watch it roll back down. Repeat. Repeat again. Kick the rock. Break toe. Start back up the hill.

We are Sisyphus. And our rock is Flappy Bird

This isn't a particularly good game. Graphics aped right from a 16-bit Super NES. Sound effects consist of one (1) Flappy Bird flapping and the ding of pipes a-passing. There is no goal. There is no boss. Just the promise of frustration. And endless pipes. Eight-hundred and ninety-four kilobytes of pure, ad-supported, time-wasting evil.

The idiotic brilliance begins in the app description. 

How to play:

  • Tap to flap your wings to fly.
  • Avoid pipes.
  • Check your sense of self-worth at the door.

OK, one of those might be made up. But, really, that's the game. Tap to flap. So how the hell has this game become so popular, garnering more than 10 million downloads on Android alone. (And that's not counting the BlackBerry sideloads.)

Flappy Bird is evilIt's all about shutting down. Turning of the brain for a few minutes. Nothing wrong with that. In fact, I'd recommend it. But there are better ways to do it. 

Flappy Bird feeds on your frustration. How can such a simple game be so damned difficult? How did you hit that pipe? All you had to do was tap at the right time. You screwed up. The next one was so close. You can get through it next time. 

One. More. Pipe.

The app reviews are a testament to Flappy Bird's brilliant evil. 

"Eff this game! Don't download if you're under any type of stress already. Only download if yur trying to break you're phone to get a new one." — Adina Houston, four stars

"Only download your game if u want a new phone because u will end throwing your phone at the ducking wall." — Billy Davis, one star

"Why can't the god dang bird get lip surgery, a bird has a beak for gods sake, you nasty butthole, how is the bird supposed to pick up his worms, they would just keeps slipping out of his mouth. I also don't get how the bird doesn't just call a plumber to get rid of the pipes so he can get to where he needs to go. My high score is 9 because his huge lips hit the pipe every time. The bird is way to fat, what does he do on his free time when he's not trying to dodge this pipes from Mario. This bird is fat." — Johnny Beck, four stars

Not every game has to be Myst. But not every game has to sap what few brain cells we have left, either.

Flap and die.


Reader comments

Flap and Die: An ode to Flappy Bird, 10 million mindless downloads and counting


Some bro killed his little bro because of this game cause his little bro beats his big bro's score over this damn game. SMH

I wonder if the makers of this game had any idea of how viral i would go. I tried it, died 3 times, realized there is nothing really to it, and moved on to a game that actually took some effort to make. For what it is, it is done well, but not sure if it deserves this much recognition.

Indeed. Number one free-game on iOS too. Plus, his other games are charting now.

Probably short lived, though. Just as fast as this has become a fad, it will be quickly forgotten as well.

Some other guy made what is essentially the same game (Piou Piou vs. cactus) a few years ago (comments date back to September 2011), and it's stuck to 10,000+ downloads. So I tend to believe that the success of Flappy Bird is mostly due to luck.

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against "stealing" game ideas, it's just that I like the other guy (French web developer/ comics artist "kek") and I wish he had just as much undeserved recognition.

Be interested to see numbers for installs, then un-installs within 5 minutes. This game is terrible

Posted via Android Central App

Talk to college kids. It's all the rage there now, so I doubt there are many uninstalls, otherwise, no one would be talking about it or creating memes.

This is a college kid, testifying to the truth in your statement. My writing class played it on the projector in the room.

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I wish the play store only counted an initial install. I bet most apps have inflated numbers.

I'm pretty sure the play store doesn't count a re-install as a new install. I think it's based on unique devices.

I enjoy the competition of it. Is it really news worthy that you dislike a popular game, you rebel you.

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"Why can't the god dang bird get lip surgery" LMAO!

Bo Cader
A Game from the Illuminati I don't know how to describe this game. My life is so f**ked right now because of it. Also please tell me how to blink while playing it?o_o

It's Like Crack
Lyvia Haley Don't do it if you want a life. This game, it takes over your life. Not in the sense that when you're bored you play the game; it's more in the sense that it consumes your every thought process and desire. You know you can do better so you keep playing and keep playing, until you've realize that several hours have passed by. You start skipping class, work, and even lose sleep because it's all you think about. Flappy bird consumes your life.

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest
Brooke Miner This game sucks and I don't suggest downloading it If you download this game prepare to rip your eye balls out because this game will push you to hit yourself in the head with a brick I can't sleep because when I try to sleep the stupid bird taunts me and he tells me I can't sleep until I beat my high score and when I'm trying to watch TV all I see is the stupid bird and I want to rip the birds beak off his ugly head since he had no body.

Call a Exorcist.
Brandon Choo IT ROBS YOU OF YOUR SOUL I cannot. its too late for me. im at 46 and going. my friend is at 96 and going. don't download this game if you want to have a life.

Kill Me Now
torrance rodriguez Addictive...too addictive I've done nothing but play this game for the past 2 days. Ive gotten very small amounts of sleep. When I sleep, I dream of playing this game. It will steal your life. I was fired from my job because of playing this game all day. My girlfriend left me and my cat starved to death while I was playing this game. Its a trap. Please if you are reading this.... dont get this game... im already having withdrawals from the game... I have to play soon! Dont get it please.

The New Heroin
Elspeth McKendrick Ruined my Marriage I don't know how long I've had this game, it could be an hour, eight hours, days. Time works differently when you play it. My Wife took the kids to her mothers two high scores ago, we argued about something but I don't know what it was about. I was too busy playing Flappy Bird. I didn't go into work today but when my boss called I ignored it and continued to play Flappy Bird. My phone is charging now but I can still here the joyful beeps in my head, and the flapping of the bird at all times. I can't sleep, I can't eat not until I have beaten my high score.

yeah ... except you can't charge less than $0.99 cents (unless it's a special promo coordinated with Google)

I'm like the few here downloaded out of interest and then played 3 rounds got fed up and deleted flappy bird flew away yaaaaaaaay lol

Posted via Android Central App

Stuck with a high score of 71 then I'm certain I'll never beat.

That said, THIS - to me - is mobile gaming. I have an Xbox for hours of gaming with a controller with countless buttons.

I see this as a modern-day Snake.

Posted via Android Central App

I agree and the people who download and play this will now call themselves a 'gamer' or a 'nerd'.

Makes me sick.

That said... my high score is 24, brb.

My wife discovered this game on iOS. "Wanna try Flappy Bird?" she asked.

"What's the premise?" I asked.

"Tap the screen to flap your wings," she said. "Avoid running into pipes."

"...No. No, I do not want to try Flappy bird," I responded.

Don't get me wrong. I love a good time waster, and I play other games that are somewhat similar in mechanics, but I feel that puzzle games serve such a purpose and give me a little stimulation at the same time. If I want to switch off, I have Jetpack Joyride or Temple Run 2 for that.

Played for about 5 minutes, died a few times, Got to 7, died, uninstalled.

I hate this game. Not because it's hard, just because it's terrible.

Posted via Android Central App

I understand that by writing this comment I have already lost by giving this app my attention, but this is a new level of low.

Posted via Android Central App

Played it once and uninstalled. I have better things to do and if I want to play a game I have better ones.

Posted via Android Central App

I installed this game two separate times and rage uninstalled both time. I get it, I do, it just makes me want to throw my phone out the nearest window. Also I had issues supporting the game when all of the art was clearly lifted from other games, not really wanting to support that.

been battling back n forth with my roommate. got 50, he got 67, i got 74, then 80, he got 103, and i got 132. i think for sanity i dont want to try to beat 132...

My cousin has done 118. She has no life. I can't get passed 20. This game makes me rage so much.

Posted via Android Central App

Been playing it a few days. Haven't gotten mad at it. Honestly I don't understand why people are getting so upset.

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Everything about this game is taken from something else.

Level design? Super Mario Bros

Control the bird? Profit Bird from Jetpack Joyride

Frustrating gameplay making you constantly ask "How did I just die?" - Too many NES games to count

That said, I really wish I had come up with it and charged a $1 for it.

Phil wrote this after playing for 2 days straight but hasn't yet topped his high score of 6. Two days ago this was his "app of the week." He's pretty clearly on the hate cycle of his love-hate relationship with flappy bird

Posted using my Galaxy Note 3 via Android Central App

This game reminds me of all of the sunflat papi games I used to play on my old phone

Posted via Android Central App

Tasker automatically turns off my radios whenever I play this game, thus no ads, as well.

Posted via Android Central App

I don't see what the big deal is. I've been playing for 2 days. Got to 17 pipes. Never once got frustrated. What's so frustrating?

In my opinion this game is very well designed. Sure it's 8 - bit graphics, but the animations are very fluid. The control scheme makes the game difficult, but the controls are extremely responsive. I feel like there was definitely some time put into optimizing the game, e.g. the spacing between the pipes, the rate of fall, the amount of lift when you flap. It all works extremely well together.

This is not a poorly developed game. This is an extremely well written game that happens to be difficult and use 8 - bit graphics.

Posted via Android Central App