On Feb. 8, Dong Nguyen announced that he would be removing his hit game Flappy Bird from both the iOS and Android app stores, saying that the success of the game is something he never wanted. Some fans of the game took it personally, replying that they would either kill Nguyen or kill themselves if he followed through with his decision.
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@dongatory No. Just. No. Even my highscore is 2, no, just, no, I'm gonna kill you.— Yin † (@LemonMeowy) February 9, 2014
Frank Lantz, the director of the New York University Game Center, said that Nguyen's meltdown resembles how some actors or musicians behave. "People like that can go a little bonkers after being exposed to this kind of interest and attention," he told ABC News. "Especially when there's a healthy dose of Internet trolls."
Nguyen did not respond to ABC News' request for comment.
Unlike other popular smartphone games like Angry Birds and Candy Crush Saga, Flappy Bird's gameplay is as basic as it gets. Players tap their screens to make the bird flap and help navigate through an endless series of green pipes. "It's absurdly hard and there's nothing to unlock," said Lantz. "It's raw and simple and it shouldn't work, but it did."
Charles Pratt, an assistant arts professor who also works at the NYU Game Center, said that Flappy Bird's impact will still be felt in the mobile gaming world, even if developers aren't conscious of it. "A lot of people played a lot of Flappy Bird, much longer than just downloading it as a joke," he said. "You're going to see a newer crop of games that are brutally difficult where you score very low."
For those unable to download the game but want to see what the big deal is, there are a couple of Flappy Bird alternatives out there, some quite literal while others capturing the game's spirit.
Ironpants: This free game from developer Eduardas Klenauskis sticks with the core concept of Flappy Bird but replaces the bird with a superhero. Players can continuously press the screen to raise Ironpants up in the air, while Flappy Bird required repeated presses to stay afloat. However, Klenauskis' game is significantly faster than Flappy Bird, which may frustrate players even more than Nguyen's game.
Flappy Jam: No, you're not going to be controlling an airborne jar of Smuckers. The jam, in this case, is more like a jam session, where indie game designers quickly make games that take the core concepts behind Flappy Bird and give their own personal spin. Several games are hosted on the website, including a version that features the popular Internet meme Doge.
Super Hexagon: If you want the difficulty of Flappy Bird but in a vastly different format, Terry Cavanaugh's game might be right up their alley. Players are put in charge of a small triangle and quickly dart left and right to dodge a never-ending series of walls. Super Hexagon is not a free download, but unlike Flappy Bird, the game offers multiple difficulties with more complex mazes.