The Untold Story Behind Flappy Bird’s Viral Success and Shocking Disappearance


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In 2013, a seemingly simple mobile game called Flappy Bird took the world by storm, becoming an overnight sensation that garnered 90 million downloads and raked in $50,000 a day in ad revenue. But just as swiftly as it had risen to fame, its creator, Dong Nguyen, made the shocking decision to shut it down. The story behind Flappy Bird’s meteoric rise and sudden disappearance is a fascinating tale of a humble developer caught in the whirlwind of viral success.

Dong Nguyen’s journey into game development began with an early love for Super Mario Bros. Inspired to create his own games, he studied computer science at Hanoi University of Science in Vietnam, eventually landing an internship at Punch Entertainment, a Vietnamese video game company. It was there that his passion for game development was ignited.

The idea for Flappy Bird struck Nguyen as he considered the needs of busy, on-the-go individuals who craved a simple, yet challenging game. Drawing inspiration from table tennis, he conceived a game that required players to keep a bird character, named Faby, in the air by tapping the screen. Nguyen developed Flappy Bird in a mere 2-3 days, crafting an addictive game that was as frustrating as it was satisfying.

Despite its humble beginnings, Flappy Bird exploded in popularity after receiving a shoutout from Swedish YouTuber Pewdiepie. Suddenly, everyone was talking about the game on social media and striving to beat their high scores. Flappy Bird found itself on numerous “top game” lists, attracting even more players and skyrocketing to over 90 million downloads.

As the game’s popularity grew, so did the scrutiny directed at Dong Nguyen. He was bombarded with interviews, media attention, and even death threats from players who couldn’t conquer the game. Parents, teachers, and players criticised the game for its addictive nature, while the relentless paparazzi hounded Nguyen. The pressure to constantly update the game and the overwhelming attention took its toll on him.

In February 2014, Nguyen made the controversial decision to remove Flappy Bird from app stores. Despite widespread disappointment, he stood firm in his choice. The game’s sudden disappearance only added to its legendary status, with countless knock-offs attempting to capture the magic of Flappy Bird, but none succeeding in creating the same fervor.

Dong Nguyen has since returned to a quieter life, developing new games and staying out of the public eye. Flappy Bird remains an intriguing chapter in the history of mobile gaming, a testament to the power of simplicity and the potential pitfalls of unexpected success.

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