In news that shocked gamers everywhere, "Flappy Bird" creator Dong Nguyen announced Saturday that he is pulling the hit game from app stores. Nguyen has yet to explain his decision, although comments made on Twitter reveal an individual who was unhappy despite his baby's huge success.
Nguyen announced on Twitter that he will be removing "Flappy Bird" from iTunes and Google Play. The game developer later stated that his decision was not due to any legal pressure and he will not try to sell the game to another developer.
I am sorry 'Flappy Bird' users, 22 hours from now, I will take 'Flappy Bird' down. I cannot take this anymore.
— Dong Nguyen (@dongatory) February 8, 2014
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"Flappy Bird" quickly became a phenomenon after its release last year, gaining a massive following since the beginning of 2014. The app has racked up millions of downloads for Android and iOS devices as well as viral articles on Buzzfeed and YouTube tutorials. Hundreds of thousands of reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, with only a few negative comments focused on the extreme difficulty of the game.
There have been some accusations that some of the game design has been copied, most notably that the pipes and bird are reminiscent of Nintendo's "Mario" franchise, while the gameplay is similar to other Web-based games, but Nguyen has his fair share of defenders. Reports indicate "Flappy Bird" earns $50,000 a day in ad revenue, but its stunning success may have been responsible for its downfall.
Nguyen, hailing from Hanoi, Vietnam, has been developing games for a decade, and his .GEARS Studio has produced several popular games, including "Shuriken Block" and "Smashing Kitty." According to its About page, ".GEARS (dotGears) Studios is a small, independent game developer based in Vietnam. Mostly, we're making arcade games that are bite-sized, take no more than a few minutes of playing right on smartphones and tablets. Our work is heavily influenced by retro pixelated games in its golden age. Everything is pure, extremely hard and incredibly fun to play."
An earlier tweet from Nguyen has him saying he "hates" the game, as it changed his life completely. But subsequent responses that he tweeted more than 30 times after that comment do not foreshadow his decision to remove "Flappy Bird" from app stores.
Nguyen was not an active Twitter user before December, and nearly all his comments from January and February are responses to "Flappy Bird." Nguyen originally developed the game as "Flap Flap" and submitted it on April 29, 2013. During that time, the developer was working on "Shuriken Block" and averaged a few tweets a day, nothing compared to the 30+ in recent months.
His tweets before "Flappy Bird" reveal a young game developer who enjoyed the challenge of creating something new and was not too worried about the game's success. In a tweet dating to April 8, 2013, Nguyen said, "A man only lives once and the best strategy is always to make most of it. Success is not the only reason for existence." Earlier, he also discussed his decision to become a game developer.
I regret the process of myself being a game maker but not the choice of career I made years ago. #confessionnight
— Dong Nguyen (@dongatory) April 8, 2013
While Nguyen's Twitter focused mainly on his game development pursuits, he did mention other interests. Nguyen is a fan of "Game of Thrones," "Spartacus" and other developers. One uncharacteristic tweet from Feb. 25, 2013 reads, "Kind of slow at work lately. I was drunk all the time. Serious problem now." The developer would talk about procrastinating, developing games and creating art. The "Flappy Bird" bird could first be seen in art shared in 2012.
it's just another man's job. pic.twitter.com/N0CAEXZ4
— Dong Nguyen (@dongatory) November 6, 2012
Nguyen has not issued a new comment on his decision but said he will continue to make games.