A new game has taken Apple’s App Store by storm, and not for the best of reasons.
If you haven’t yet downloaded Flappy Bird, the game featuring a small yellow bird and green Super Mario-style pipes in 8-bit graphics, I strongly suggest you spare your sanity and click the ‘back’ button in the App Store before it’s too late. Why the strong warning, you ask? Because Flappy Bird falls into that category of life-ruining vices that include alcohol and gambling.
The objective of the game is simple: Fly a small bird through a series of openings in sets of green pipes that look like they came straight out of a Super Mario Bros. game. Sounds simple enough, no? Wrong. It’s hard to predict exactly how the bird will behave when the screen is tapped, and when things seem to be going well, the bird has a tendency to smash right into one of the pipes, thus ending the game.
I first heard about Flappy Bird late last week, when my girlfriend was over at my apartment. Someone on one of her social media platforms had written a rage-filled status about it, and we couldn’t help but wonder what this viral new game was all about. Alas, we decided to save our mental well-being and not investigate the matter further.
Later that day, my cousin texted me asking if I’d heard of it. When I’d replied that I had, but didn’t have the first clue about it, she told me what its objective was and how infuriating it makes its users. By this point, my curiosity had been piqued. I just had to play it for myself and see if it was really as bad as people made it out to be.
In those waning moments of sanity–of happiness, really–I clicked “download” and eagerly awaited its installation. Now there really was no turning back.
The beauty of one’s first time playing Flappy Bird is that the game gives no further instructions other than “tap,” which is rather vague. How often do I tap? Just once, and then again once the bird starts encountering obstacles?
I started the game, and failed immediately. I only tapped the screen once (that’s all the directions say, after all), and that little yellow bird took a nosedive right into the ground.
“Okay, let’s give this one more try,” I thought.
The next attempt was more successful–I managed to make it through one set of pipes before promptly smashing into the next set, thus killing the bird and ending the game. Now that I think about it, this game is much darker than I originally thought.
Of course, now that I’d started, there was no turning back. Especially considering my cousin told me she had a whopping high score of fifteen–something that seemed like an impossible feat to my newcomer self.
On and on I played, spending hours trying my damnedest to will that bird through those pipes. Most times, I’d only make it through four or five before I’d crash, thus allowing exclamations such as “GAH!” or “RUUUUAHH!” to escape my lips. I even came close to throwing my phone across the room a few times (it’s okay, I have an Otter Box).
The more and more I invested myself in the game, the more my life began to suffer. Personal relationships have taken the brunt of it. I find myself ignoring text messages for long stretches of time because I can’t pull myself away. That stupid little 8-bit bird has sunk its claws into me, and there is no escape.
My friends (or people who used to be my friends) have even begun engaging in trash-talk over this game. As I sat on the bus to our Super Bowl performance, one of my best friends in the whole world kept making snide comments such as how much I “suck at this game” in a brutal attempt to break my concentration and cause me to fail. And it worked. It’s gotten so bad that the smack talk has spread to social media. Exchanges like this are now commonplace:
Much of the things that used to interest me have since been consumed by Flappy Bird. Writing on this blog? No time, I need to get my score up. (I’m surprised I haven’t yet taken a break from writing this to play a few more games). Listening to good music? Too distracting–I need to focus on navigating this difficult section.
In fact, I find that the game has robbed me of much of the joy in my life. The low point came at the Syracuse-Notre Dame basketball game last night. Rather than being invested in the game or in conversation with my friends, I instead stood there with my nose buried in my phone, furiously tapping that bird through those pipes. Like I said, this game is a life-ruiner.
There are rewards, however. Yesterday, I got my high score up to sixteen. Sixteen. And today, by God I got that high score up to twenty four.
The moral of my tale of woe? Avoid Flappy Bird at all costs. It’s not worth the pain and suffering. My girlfriend warned me about this, and I should have listened. But I didn’t, and must now live with the consequences. I only hope that you, dear reader, will heed my solemn warning and save yourself while you still can.