MANILA, Philippines — Try and try until you succeed, or in the case of “Flappy Bird,” flap and flap until you hit a green pipe and die.
To some, it’s one among thousands of mindless mobile games. To others, it’s a test of patience and willpower. However you look at it though, one thing is certain, Flappy Bird is soaring and nothing is stopping it.
This excruciatingly simple game is the unprecedented number one app in the world at the moment, overtaking other more familiar apps such as Snapchat, Skype, and Candy Crush Saga. With over 10 million downloads on the Android platform alone, Flappy Bird has come a long way since its launch in May of 2013.
The premise seems simple enough – navigate a flapping bird through a path blocked by obstacles. Players tap the screen to move the bird up and down while avoiding Mario-inspired pipes. Points are awarded for every pipe survived. Medals are awarded as proof of superior bird-flapping.
However, it’s not as easy as it looks. Maneuvering the clueless bird across the screen is absurdly difficult. A certain rhythm in tapping is needed to pass the earliest of obstacles, and it gets increasingly harder as the bird travels forward.
“Thank you Lord for this great achievement today! Im so proud of my self! ” tweeted Comedian Vice Ganda with a screen shot of his two points on Flappy Bird. This sentiment is echoed by millions of bird-flappers across the globe.
Despite the game’s extreme difficulty and inane design, analysts explained that the game’s rise to popularity is due to Flappy Bird’s “shareability.” After each unsuccessful attempt, players have to option to share their scores on social media platforms. “Basically, the game is so senselessly difficult that you need to tell everyone you know about it,” writes the Huffington Post.
“Perhaps it’s just a high score leaderboard thing, as you can share your (pathetically low) number with your friends to show off,” said Yahoo!’s Ben Silverman.
Filipinos took to social media to share scores, tips, and frustrations. On Twitter, #FlappyBird is a trending topic.
Whether to brag about reaching double digit-points or to vent, netizens took the game from obscurity to viral phenomenon via social media and word of mouth.
This was a case of organic marketing, according to Vietnamese developer Dong Nguyen. “I didn’t use any promotion methods,” he said in an interview with tech blog Chocolate Lab Apps. “I have no resources to do anything else besides uploading the game. The popularity could [just] be…luck.”
The game can be downloaded for free on the App Store and Google Play. Windows Phone users should be able to flap with iOS and Android users soon, according to Nguyen. — Rappler.com