I think we can all agree that <em>Flappy Bird</em> is completely out of control. There are just so many people playing it and talking about it; I don’t even remember people being this excited about <em>Angry Birds</em> — one of these days I’m going to have to examine the frequent success of simplistic mobile games revolving around birds — even though this game is infinitely less world-shattering.
People have had such a strong reaction to it that the creator, Dong Nguyen, decided to take it off the app stores, and in this decision’s wake, people have been selling phones with <em>Flappy Bird</em> on it for entirely too much money. People are honestly paying thousands of dollars to play such a simple game. I don’t really understand society.
The mobile gaming masses are losing their freaking minds over this totally unassuming time-waster... and, in a weird, possibly indoctrinated way, I sort of get it.
Before we get into this any further, I want to express my sympathy to everyone who didn’t get <em>Flappy Bird</em> before it went off the market. As fun as it is, it really isn’t worth buying a used phone over, so you’re sort of out of luck. On the bright side, there are dozens of <em>Flappy Bird </em>clones coming soon, so you won’t be missing out for long.
I’ll admit that when one of my friends first showed me <em>Flappy Bird,</em> it seemed like one of the dumbest games I’d ever seen. The graphics mostly consisted of an ugly, pixelated bird and some pipes that seemed like they were ripped straight from <em>Super Mario Bros</em>. The gameplay wasn’t anything new, either: just tap the screen to make the bird float (which I’d been doing two years ago in <em>Jetpack Joyride</em>, anyway).I didn’t see how anyone could enjoy the game, and my only takeaway from my first run-in with <em>Flappy Bird</em> was that my friend has terrible taste in games, and I should probably stop hanging out with them.
Then a curious thing happened. I went online and found people talking about the game — normal-seeming people no less, or at least as normal as anyone can appear on the Internet. My Twitter feed was filled with people posting their mediocre <em>Flappy Bird</em> scores. I tried to resist it at first, lasting a good five days without downloading it. But one day I was very bored in class, and, realizing I’d probably have to write about it at some point, I gave into temptation.
To my complete lack of surprise, I didn’t really like it. There was this stupid, stupid noise every time I passed a pipe (I still keep the volume off when I play), and the bird’s movements were so wonky that it seemed impossible to succeed. I played until I got a semi-respectable 10 points, and then didn’t bother going back for a few days, when boredom struck again, and that time, I got hooked. The game never really changed from being simple and unrefined, though; the change comes in your perceptions.
I realized the game <em>isn’t supposed to be easy</em>. Not at the start, at least. It’s disorienting, because you’re supposed to suffer. Nothing in life comes easy, and neither does<em> Flappy Bird</em>. But as time goes on and you adapt, those jerky up-and-down movements of your bird become an unco-ordinated wave of sorts, which you ride until you reach personal satisfaction. The never-ending pipes begin to resemble the bars on a jail cell, but every pipe you pass through makes you feel a little bit more free. You become more than just a finger controlling a stupid-looking bird — you are that bird, and warts and all, you’re going to soar through those pipes and get that damn platinum medal. <em>Flappy Bird</em> is an avatar for your triumph over adversity. Even if you slip up and hit a pipe, you can always get up and try again.
There’s more to it than that, too. Personally, one of the major appeals of the game is the sense of connectivity between others. Through the hellish trial that is <em>Flappy Bird,</em> people are united through mutual suffering. Sucking at this game has allowed me to feel a closeness with others that I can’t feel otherwise, because secretly I’m a very broken person. Personal hang-ups aside, there’s hope to be found in <em>Flappy Bird </em>— it isn’t easy for anybody, but everybody’s trying anyway, and that means you can too. And as much as I feel like a filthy casual whenever I play it, it’s a reason I look forward to playing <em>Flappy Bird.</em>
<em>Matt Lawes is a 2B Arts major and he doesn’t have a problem, YOU’RE the one with a problem! You can tweet your mediocre </em>Flappy Bird <em>scores to him @ItsMALcontent, he always enjoys a laugh.</em>