“Okay, last game,” I mutter to myself as I press play for the fiftieth time. I’ve never more blatantly lied to myself than when I play Flappy Bird. In a manner that can truly be deemed “viral,” Flappy Bird has taken over the mobile gaming world by storm. It is currently perched quite comfortably at the top of both the Google Play and iTunes App Store charts, and nobody is really sure why.
The concept is simple. A pixelated bird makes its way through a pixelated Mario-esque world by flapping its wings whenever the player taps on the screen. The game tracks how many sets of pipes the little bird flies past. There is nothing more to manage, nothing more to track or watch; that’s it. But something about it makes it so difficult that I’ve yet to see scores in the double digits. Yet, as angry as the game makes me, I can’t seem to stop playing.
There is something oddly addicting about the frustration that comes from trying to maneuver this silly little bird. The gaps between the pipes are wide enough so that they always seems like they would be easy to pass through. And the mechanics of the flying are simple enough so that theoretically it should be a piece of cake. Yet my poor little bird is so familiar with eating it hard that sometimes I wonder why it still listens to me.
After spending more work time “researching” the app than I should probably admit, I’ve developed my theory for its overwhelming popularity. The pixelated simplicity of its design is refreshing, and the game’s linear gameplay and lack of complexity make me expect to beat it every single time. This, combined with the fact that I just can’t seem to beat it, makes it all the more tantalizing. And to top it all off, the game has a very cute name to it. You know you like it too.
So if you haven’t tried the game yet, stop reading and decide for yourself whether or not it’s addicting. It’s a free download on Google Play and the App Store, just grab it on your smartphone or tablet.