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Why was Flappy Bird so popular?

This post has not been edited by the GamesBeat staff. Opinions by GamesBeat community writers do not necessarily reflect those of the staff.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you’ve heard all about Dong Nguyen’s viral mobile game, Flappy Bird. You’ve probably also heard that he took it down after it became “too addictive.” But why is it exactly that a simple game like Flappy Bird became so popular?

Critics like to gripe about games like Flappy Bird, saying that they aren’t even “games” at all. Whether you love it or hate it, Flappy Bird is a video game. Is it a good one? It’s arguable that it isn’t. However, a game doesn’t necessarily need to be good to still be fun and addictive, and Flappy Bird certainly is that.

After downloading Flappy Bird, I found myself playing it several times a day, usually while laying in bed or riding in the passenger’s seat of a car. It’s a great game to play when boredom strikes, and it’s not meant to be a great, groundbreaking video game. But just why did it become so popular? Because it was a simple game that anyone could play.

Mobile games are played by everyone, even people who don’t call themselves “gamers.” Remember when SongPop was the next big thing? Everyone and their mother was playing that game. Same with Angry Birds (games about birds seem to be trending in recent years), Temple Run, and others. These games are great time wasters; let’s face it: they’re great for toilet time. They’re also great distractions when you’re in a situation you don’t want to be in; like when your friend drags you to a party with a bunch of people you don’t know. You don’t need to be good at games to play Flappy Bird or Angry Birds; you just need to practice tapping on your screen. It doesn’t take a hardcore gamer to do that.

Obviously, mobile games and console/PC games are two totally different beasts. Most people who own video game consoles aren’t interested in playing Angry Birds (although obviously someone is since Rovio did release that game on console). However, people don’t buy smartphones to play games; it’s just a nice little bonus to be able to play quick, silly games on your phone.

I think that making mobile-like games on dedicated handhelds is just silly. The Nintendo 3DS and PS Vita are made for hardcore gamers. People who want to play Angry Birds are just going to play that on their phones.  However, there is definitely a market for games like Flappy Bird, and there is nothing wrong with that.

People who call themselves gamers can sometimes be some of the worst people on the planet. Dong Nguyen, the creator of Flappy Bird, received tons of criticism on Twitter because people hated his game. If you don’t like the game, then don’t download it and play it. Simple as that. Leave Dong Nguyen alone! (And Phil Fish for that matter).

Do you enjoy mobile games? Personally, I’m a hardcore gamer, but I do enjoy mobile games when I’m trying to find a way to kill time. Leave your thoughts in the comments below.


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