Flappy Birds


This year (2014) has seen the hype of “Flappy Bird”.


Although initially released in May 2013, it didn’t get much attention. But somehow it became a big hit in 2014.

It made the Vietnamese developer of the game 50.000 dollar a day, which amounted to hundreds of times the average year sallery of someone in Vietnam. This is ofcourse totally madness, especially considering he made the game in two to three days.

He later removed game from the app stores because he thought it was too addictive and he felt guilty about publishing an addictive game. The game might return in the future, however the developer indicated it probably won’t be soon.

Clones of the clone
The huge success of Flappy Bird quickly lead to people making (cheap) clones.

However, Flappy Bird’s developer is not an ‘innocent victim’ of those clones.

The main game mechanic is copied from a two year older French game ‘Piou Piou’ (with a yellow bird flying through cactuses) and the graphics are based on art of other games.

Flappy Bird vs Piou Piou

Satire & Cash-in’s
Now in a move, which I can only assume, is meant as part satire on the ‘genre’ and part cash-in, someone has created a Kickstarter campaign to make a whole range of flappy bird clones!

To start off they already have three Flappy Bird clones:
“Flying balls”, “Pigs N Space” (a Muppet Show reference?) and “Flying Bieber”.

The game “Pigs N Space” even has a frustration button that can blow your flying pig up, when you get mad (a reference to Lemmings, plain geniusness or madness?).

Clone “Flying Bieber’s” selling point is people having fun by either scoring high or by at least being comforted by seeing Bieber’s head smash into things when they fail.

Actually the “Flying Bieber” games seem to be a subcategory on their own, since you can find several ones on YouTube ;).

Where did this come from?
If you want to look really far back, you could say Flappy Bird has the mechanics of some horizontal scrolling ‘Cave Flyer’, namely the concepts of enertia and avoiding obstacles. Tracking it back even more and you’ll get into ‘Thrust’ and ‘Space Taxi’ type of games from the early 1980’s.

An example of a ‘Cave Flyer’ type of game is “Dragon Dreams”:

And as an extra bonus it has visuals created by the man who did the box art for Shadow of the Beast I & II.

Retro game platforms
Not everyone had money on their mind.
Some have been converting Flappy Bird to old(er) platforms, just for the fun. Seeing as how simple of a game Flappy Bird it is (it was made within two a three days) is probably was inevitable for someone to try this. Here’s a small selection of some of these remakes:

Flappy bird for the Amiga (released 12th of March)

Flappy bird for the Commodore 64

If you’re still reading here are some more links:
– proof that Piou Piou is older than Flappy Bird
webarchive.org’s copy of the website mentioning the game in January 2010: https://web.archive.org/web/20100119120619/http://www.zanorg.com/

Well that’s all for my first gamemistress article. If you’re still reading and want me to write some more, comment below or follow me on Twitter (@Spellcoder) ;).

Game on!

Signed, Spellcoder (Mark de Jong)

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