Spread my wings and flap away

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&rsquo;t even remember people being this excited about <em>Angry Birds</em> &mdash; one of these days I&rsquo;m going to have to examine the frequent success of simplistic mobile games revolving around birds &mdash; 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&rsquo;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&rsquo;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&rsquo;t get <em>Flappy Bird</em> before it went off the market. As fun as it is, it really isn&rsquo;t worth buying a used phone over, so you&rsquo;re sort of out of luck. On the bright side, there are dozens of <em>Flappy Bird </em>clones coming soon, so you won&rsquo;t be missing out for long.

I&rsquo;ll admit that when one of my friends first showed me <em>Flappy Bird,</em> it seemed like one of the dumbest games I&rsquo;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&rsquo;t anything new, either: just tap the screen to make the bird float (which I&rsquo;d been doing two years ago in <em>Jetpack Joyride</em>, anyway).I didn&rsquo;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 &mdash; 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&rsquo;d probably have to write about it at some point, I gave into temptation.

To my complete lack of surprise, I didn&rsquo;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&rsquo;s movements were so wonky that it seemed impossible to succeed. I played until I got a semi-respectable 10 points, and then didn&rsquo;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&rsquo;t supposed to be easy</em>. Not at the start, at least. It&rsquo;s disorienting, because you&rsquo;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 &mdash; you are that bird, and warts and all, you&rsquo;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&rsquo;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&rsquo;t feel otherwise, because secretly I&rsquo;m a very broken person. Personal hang-ups aside, there&rsquo;s hope to be found in <em>Flappy Bird </em>&mdash; it isn&rsquo;t easy for anybody, but everybody&rsquo;s trying anyway, and that means you can too. And as much as I feel like a filthy casual whenever I play it, it&rsquo;s a reason I look forward to playing <em>Flappy Bird.</em>

<em>Matt Lawes is a 2B Arts major and he doesn&rsquo;t have a problem, YOU&rsquo;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>



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