The Phenomenon that is Flappy Bird


Marielle Gleason, Staff Writer '16

As the hype dies down, a reflection on the latest mobile gaming phenomenon, Flappy Bird, is in order. The wildly popular game went out with a bang earlier this month when it reached the height of its success only to be taken down from the app store by its creator. So what about this simple little game has caused such an uproar?

“Flappy-Birders” play by navigating a bird through a series of green pipes that bear a striking resemblance (to avoid the phrase “blatant rip off”) to those of the Super Mario Brothers franchise. Accusations aside, the game’s colorful yet uncluttered visual design is cheery and appealing. The gameplay features a single-control interface, so its simplicity is reminiscent of classic arcade games such as Pac-man and Galaga.

However, simple most definitely does not mean easy, and cheery is most likely the antithesis of one’s mental state while playing this game. It’s not uncommon for Flappy Bird to induce bouts of mass frustration, often sparking the urge to smash your mobile device against the nearest wall. Those resounding screams that could be heard throughout the halls of Oakland Catholic before homeroom are a direct result of this game. It’s like Angry Birds, except you’re the one who’s angry. Some have actually taken their frustration out on the title bird personally: “It doesn’t even look like a bird. It looks like goldfish with Steven Tyler lips,” says Stephanie Harrington, an OC sophomore.

Despite all of this, Flappy Bird is undeniably addicting. The creator, despite his recent response to the game’s popularity that implies that this was unintentional, evidently did something right. The game’s genius pairing of difficulty and simplicity is what makes us keep coming back for more—what makes us press that play button again, thinking, “just ONE more time…”.