App Review, Flappy Bird
February 4, 2014
Flappy Bird, a free app by Dong Nguyen of dotGears, has recently topped the charts of both the App Store and Google Play store. I didn’t think much of it when I first saw the app, but when I started hearing people talking about it, I thought I should download it. That was a mistake.
I loaded the game and saw a potato-looking “bird” just fluttering up and down: not a good start. Then when I played my first game, I died right away because I thought you just had to tap and hold for the bird to fly up, like in other games of similar nature, such as the Helicopter Game. So the next time I played I just tapped repeatedly to fly, which was fine, to say the least, but I wish there had been some sort of direction when I started playing. Then the first pipes showed up, the Mario pipes. And then I noticed that the bird looked similar to a Cheep Cheep.
In fact, it looked so similar that I made a handy diagram showing the difference between the Cheep Cheep and Flappy Bird, creatively made in MS Paint.
And then I hit the first pipe. And again. And again. And again. I almost deleted the app then and there. But no, I tried again. Eventually I managed to pass the first set of pipes, then the next. At this point I was feeling pretty good about myself, and I set the goal of getting a bronze medal.
And it took forever, but I finally got one.
But it all went downhill from there. I found myself frustrated at the fact that there was no way to turn off the app’s sound, which was annoying when I wanted to listen to music while playing. To make it worse, the game’s music is a cacophony of chimes and flaps and the smacking sound that plays when you get a ‘game over.’ Despite the fact that I got better and better at the game, eventually landing myself a silver, gold, and even platinum medal, I kept feeling that my sense of accomplishment was becoming exceedingly empty. In fact, when I got 41 points and the platinum medal, I started questioning the very purpose of my existence and fell into an existential crisis. What was I doing with my life? Was I meant to be playing this app for hours and becoming the Flappy Bird Champion? Or was I just nothing? The leaderboard is full of people who have a high score of 9,999 (how did they get so good!?) and I only had a measly 41. Could I be as good as the recordholders?
Eventually I came to my senses, and found that the app really wasn’t worth it, and decided the best way to go on with my life was to delete the app. But after one more game.
Well. 0 points. Maybe one more.
And that led to more and more.
And then came the second realization. I really just did not need the game. So I deleted it, for the last time. This time for sure. As of writing this article, I am three days clean. I hope for many more Flappy-less days in the future.