flappy bird

Flappy Bird Soared in the App Store Before Being Pulled

Some programmers put countless hours into the games and programs they develop, then cross their fingers and hope that someone will notice the results. Maybe they’ll at least make their money back on all that work after the game has been released in the app store.

For certain apps such as Flappy Bird, however, success is so quick that it changes the creator’s life unimaginably fast. Not everyone is ready for that change.

Shortly after Flappy Bird went viral and became the top downloaded game in the iTunes App Store, the developer, Dong Nguyen, decided to take it off the market so it could never be downloaded again. Here’s a look at what Flappy Bird was and why Nguyen decided to remove it from the app store.

What’s the hype?

What exactly was Flappy Bird and why was it so popular? The best answer is that people often enjoy something they can’t have.When it came to Flappy Bird, success evaded most players. Flappy Bird became infamous for being hard; and not just hard, but extremely hard. In fact, it was nearly impossible.

Tons of Internet memes and jokes flew around about people losing their minds and freaking out because they couldn’t make it past level five in the game. That was enough to keep them coming back for more.

And it didn’t hurt that those memes generated further interest so that more and more downloads occurred.

In concept, the game shouldn’t have been so difficult. It was a rather simple gameplay design in which you only have to fly a little bird through a series of obstacles that resemble the pipes from Super Mario Bros. The further you got, the more points you scored.

But not many people got very far. Despite the simple concept, it became increasingly more frustrating each time you played it. And maybe that’s the perfect formula for a wildly successful mobile app game.

The shutdown

After just a few weeks in the app store and overwhelming popularity, it was announced on Feb. 8, 2014 that Nguyen would take the game off the app store. Social media caught fire as everyone tweeted and posted status updates about the game and how it would no longer be available.

The odd part is that around the time the game was pulled, it reportedly was achieving more than 50,000 downloads a day. Some apps have been available at the app store for years and have yet to amass 50,000 total downloads, never mind that many in a 24-hour period.

While most programmers would bask in the glory of such popularity, Nguyen sought to get out of the limelight. He chose to pull the app simply because he wanted recognition as an independent developer, not as someone associated with so much hype.

If there’s a silver lining to this story, it might be that Flappy Bird showed how any app or new tech gadget could potentially hit the jackpot almost overnight. A normal programmer might wake up one morning and discover millions of downloads in his or her developer account.

Most of us wouldn’t find that a bad a thing to wake up to. Aspiring developers out there can learn from Nguyen and Flappy Bird that it doesn’t necessarily take all that much to become an overnight, worldwide sensation.