...what's all the flap about this "Flappy Bird?"
Lately, there has been a lot of fuss over a little game called "Flappy Bird."
That's right, "Flappy Bird."
It is the brain child of Vietnam-based developer Dong Nguyen.
Nope, still not making this up, people.
Anyway, although it was released in May 2013, its popularity seemed to peak mid-January 2014 when it became the number one downloaded app with more than 50 million downloads. Fifty MILLION.
When I heard this, I thought, like any bandwagon jumper, "Surely this game is awesome, I must see what all the fuss is about."
So, I downloaded it. It was free, so there was no reason not to, right?
What "Flappy Bird" didn't come with was a disclaimer stating it consequently opens the gates of hell and sucks your life through them at first play.
What is it?
Let me give you the lowdown on the game and all it entails.
You have this bird, he flies to the right, when you tap the screen he flaps his wings, elevating the bird. The landscape is very original Super Mario Brothers-esque, so there are these pipes coming out of the bottom and top of the screen and the goal is to just fly through the openings between them.
That's all there is to it.
The catch is, the game is almost comically difficult and highly addictive. You would think it would be simple, but you must have your timing almost perfect to get though the pipes.
I tried about 17 times until I got through my first one and I got so excited, I wrecked right into the next one, overshadowing my joy with rage.
If you wake up in the morning and find yourself saying, "What can I do today to raise my frustration and anxiety levels higher and higher in 3-second intervals?" then "Flappy Bird" is the game for you.
One player posted online, "The best position to play 'Flappy Bird' is in the fetal position, because it's also the best position to cry in."
Flappy Bird is terrible.
It's worse than waking up and finding out more snow and below zero temperatures are coming.
It's worse than being single on Valentine's Day.
It's worse than your heating bills this winter.
It's worse than when your ice cream falls off your cone.
It's worse than Nickelback.
Eh, I'm not sure about that last one, but it's bad; trust me.
It is frustrating and addictive on such a level, that's I think it should be classified as a narcotic.
And the world loves it. Go figure.
But on Feb. 10, something crazy happened. The game was pulled from the App Store. That's right, Dong, (I couldn't make this up if I tried, really) announced via Twitter 22 hours previous to the takedown that he "couldn't take this anymore" and the game was to be removed.
Nguyen claims the game, which reportedly pulled in $50,000 a day in ad revenue, ruined his simple life.
People had apparently been taking their anger for the game out on Nguyen, he was threatened with legal action for copying other games and he just crumbled under all the attention.
So, he deleted it.
Enter the firestorm that is the Internet.
Now, all those cursing the game's very existence who deleted it in a moment of blind rage were as angry as torch-wielding villagers by his decision to take it down.
Searching for answers
Then, the people of Internet did what they always do - tried to cash in.
Almost immediately, phones that had the game installed were being auctioned off to the highest bidder on eBay. It was reported one sold for nearly $100,000.
Since word spread on that little sale faster than fire and a gallon of gasoline, there are now literally thousands of phones with "Flappy Bird" installed listed on eBay.
First of all, eBay rules state that a smartphone must be wiped clean and restored to original settings in order to be sold. That means no "Flappy Bird" on the phone. The site has since been messaging those trying to sell their devices in an obvious attempt to end the madness.
Now, some guy on Craigslist is even offering to rent his phone for people to play.
You've got to be kidding me.
The Internet never ceases to amaze me with its stupidity. There is a lot of useful information out there, but the Internet, as a means for the entire world to interact with each other in a way which was completely unavailable 20 years ago, is a breeding ground for the ridiculous.
It shouldn't surprise me, though. People auction off chicken nuggets shaped like their favorite deity for thousands and thousands of dollars and people buy this stuff. Honestly? What are you possibly going to do with a Jesus-shaped chicken nugget? Pray to it? I guarantee, God has no intentions of communicating with you through a chicken nugget. That's just insulting.
The level of gullibility in people truly frightens me.
Or maybe people just have enough money to blow on utter nonsense just so they can be that person who dropped a grand on a chicken nugget or 100 grand on an iPhone with a now-defunct app on it.
Sometimes, when you try to kill something, it only makes it stronger or it takes on a new form.
Such is the case with "Flappy Bird."
Developers took to doing what people in general are so good at: taking someone else's idea and copying it with only slight variances in an attempt to cash in.
Suddenly games like "Fluffy Bird," "Happy Bee," "Flappy Plane" and, my favorite, "Ironpants" started popping up all over the App Store in an attempt to satiate those in flappy withdrawl.
The world is full of followers and I, apparently in some capacity, am one of them. Forgive me.
I try to forge my own path and resist trends, but even I, like the Candy Crush incident of my past, get sucked in sometimes.
"Flappy Bird" is just one of many phenomenas to come. People will be onto something new before you know it because we, as a society, have the attention span of a goldfish.
It's like everything that's wrong with the world wrapped up in the life of one silly little game.
Three of my co-workers just tried it and immediately lost, hated it and handed my phone back to me. How hard could "Flappy Bird" be? That hard, fellas.
Now, I'm going to take a break and go play it, because in taking screenshots for this article, I snuck in two quick games and finally got a score of "2."
Yes, that is my new record high score. I hate you, "Flappy Bird."
(Jenna Wasakoski is an assitant editor at The News-Item)