Flappy Bird is a 2013 mobile game notorious for its difficulty level.
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It was developed in Hanoi by Vietnam-based developer Dong Nguyen and published by .GEARS Studios, a small, independent game developer also based in Vietnam. The game, which was released on May 24, 2013, was removed from both Apple's App Store and Google Play by its creator on February 10, 2014.
Flappy Bird is a side-scrolling mobile game featuring 2D retro style graphics. The objective is to direct a flying bird, which moves continuously to the right, between each oncoming set of pipes without colliding with them, which otherwise ends the game. The bird briefly flaps upward each time the player taps the screen, and the player is scored on the number of pipe sets the bird successfully passes through.
Flappy Bird was created and developed by Dong Nguyen in the span of two to three days. The character was originally designed in 2012 for a cancelled platform game. Nguyen claims that no part of any of his games was designed to be impossible.
Flappy Bird was originally released on May 24, 2013, with support for the iPhone 5. The game was subsequently updated for iOS 7 in September 2013. In January 2014, it topped the Free Apps chart in the US and Chinese App Stores, and later on that month topped the same section of the UK App Store where it was touted as "the new Angry Birds." It ended January as the most downloaded App on the App Store. The Android version of Flappy Bird was released to the Google Play store on January 30, 2014. In early 2014, The Verge reported that the game was earning around $50,000 a day in revenue through its in-game advertising.
On February 8, 2014, Nguyen announced on Twitter that the game was to be removed from both Apple's App Store and Google Play, writing at 11am UTC: "I am sorry Flappy Bird users, 22 hours from now, I will take Flappy Bird down. I cannot take this anymore." He went on to say that taking down the game has "nothing to do with legal issues". On February 9, 2014, almost exactly 22 hours after this announcement, the game was removed from both Apple's App Store and Google Play. Following the removal, many media outlets reported that several merchants on eBay were offering phones that had the app pre-installed for US$1499 or more, with some receiving bids of over $90,000; however, the listings were removed for violating eBay's rule that smartphones must be restored to factory settings before being sold.
In an exclusive interview with Forbes, Nguyen blamed the game's addictive nature for its cancellation. Nguyen stated that "Flappy Bird was designed to play in a few minutes when you are relaxed. But it happened to become an addictive product. I think it has become a problem. To solve that problem, it's best to take down Flappy Bird. It's gone forever." Nguyen also revealed that he lost much sleep after the game's remarkable success which he wished to end. Nguyen's other games include Super Ball Juggling and Shuriken Block, ranked at 6th and 18th at the iOS store as of early February 2014.
The removal has spawned remakes and parodies of the game, such as Sesame Street's Flappy Bert and Fall Out Boy's Fall Out Bird. CNET reviewed seven “Flappy copycats” for iOS two days after the original game's removal, describing the options as “pretty bleak”, but singling out the underwater Splashy Fish as the closest approximation of Flappy Bird.
Shortly after the game's removal, security researchers warned that some versions of Flappy Bird and its imitators available on alternative Android app stores have been found to contain malware that can lead to unauthorized charges to a user's phone bills. According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Android users should “download apps and games only from the Google Play store, which means not downloading any games that claim to be Flappy Bird.”
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