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Flappy Bird has wings clipped as Indie developer yearns for peace

Quit when you’re on top, they say. That may be wise but even to those that brandished Flappy Bird as the ‘worst smartphone game ever’ would have been surprised when the Vietnamese game developer, Dong Nguyen, broke the news on Twitter that he will take down the No. 1 free app from Apple and Google app stores.

To all the Flappy Bird fanatics out there trying to equal the impossible 9999 high score, this is not a hoax. The game has now been removed from App stores on iOS and Android.

Despite earning huge ad revenue (with up to AU$55,000 a day being rumoured) from the popular game, Dong Nguyen wrote the depressing message on Saturday explaining how the game’s unprecedented success has brought him nothing but frustrations: “I can call ‘Flappy Bird’ a success of mine. But it also ruins my simple life. So now I hate it.”

Earlier in the week, he also tweeted, “Press people are overrating the success of my games. It is something I never want. Please give me peace.”

Questions have arisen from all quarters speculating the motive behind his sudden decision. When quizzed whether it was a legal reason, Nguyen clarified, “It is not anything related to legal issues. I just cannot keep it anymore.”

Despite this, speculations still persists. Some are indicating that he boosted the game’s ratings and popularity through fake accounts and is now facing legal action.

Some are even making accusations that maybe it has something to do with the app’s similarity to an existing mobile game, Piou Piou vs. Cactus, as well as borrowing Mario-styled pipes.

Nguyen went on to add he has no intentions to sell the hit app and insists, “I still make games.”

This news, understandably, has caught everybody off guard. After all, this chart-topping app is still relatively new. Although Nguyen’s one-man Vietnamese studio, .Gears (dotGears), released it last year, the game only became a viral sensation in recent weeks.

Since then, its astronomical rise has seen the game downloaded more than 50 million times. Before being taken down, the game was perched at the top on both the Google Play and iTunes app charts.

What’s the appeal, you ask? Flappy Bird is a free, offering a simple premise: in the game, players must navigate a bulgy-eyed bird between a series of vertical green pipes, rising up and down by continuously tapping on their touchscreens to flap the yellow bird’s wings.

You must complete the obstacle with a single life and for each pair of pipes you fly through, points and medals will be accumulated to your tally all the way up to platinum.

It is fun, challenging, and the difficult but addictive game-play will leave you obsessed with setting a high score on the global leaderboard.

It’s also frustrating, with this video showing how some are approaching the game.

For the time being, it seems the mystery will stay unsolved. For despite its success and the loyal fanbase it has garnered, it remains unclear as to why Nguyen is erasing the game or if those who have already downloaded the app will still be able to play.

I guess all we can do now, is wait for any following news and enjoy the game while it last.

I haven’t played the game for a while, but I am willing to overlook the jerky animation and try to improve my pathetic score of 11. Goodbye Bye Birdie.

About the author

Jonathan is a freelance screenwriter with backgrounds in TV and film production. He is working on a collaboration with his business partner to launch a Malaysian food delicacy business. When he is not getting his daily football fix, he likes to play video games, re-read the The Fountainhead for the hundredth time, and stay up to date with the latest tech news.

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