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An obituary for Flappy Bird, May 2013–Feb. 2014

Goodnight, sweet prince. 


Molly McHugh


Posted on Feb 9, 2014   Updated on May 31, 2021, 6:51 pm CDT

Flappy Bird, the addictive, maddening, and at-times controversial iOS game, died today at the young age of 9 months.

Flappy Bird is survived by Dong Nguyen, its creator, who took the game off life support at noon eastern time, removing it from the iOS store and Google Play. Flappy Bird will be remembered by the millions of smartphone users who mourn its passing.

Though the game was at the height of success, Nguyen suddenly warned in a tweet on Saturday that Flappy Bird’s time was nigh. It seemed he needed to kill his creation to rescue his life from the stress of its popularity. 

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

And on Sunday, as promised, Flappy Bird flew gently into that good night. 

Flappy Bird was born in Vietnam and uploaded to the iOS App Store in May by Nguyen, who appears to be the sole developer of the game. While Flappy began its life in the App Store, it soon fledged to the Android marketplace. At the time of its death, there were plans for Flappy Bird to soar to Windows Phones, but it would never make it.

Flappy Bird enjoyed a successful business life, reportedly raking in $50,000 in daily revenue. It borrowed its aesthetics from the popular Nintendo series Mario Brothers. The highly pixelated nostalgia was part of what won us over. 

Ultimately, the booming business of Flappy Bird would lead to its undoing. Though Nguyen was said to be planning a sequel, he cut short his original game’s life. The demand was too much, the spotlight too bright. Flappy Bird’s passing is also mired by whispers that Nguyen was artificially boosting its rankings using fake accounts. However, news of Flappy Bird’s death itself may overshadow the details surrounding it.

Though it lived a short life, Flappy Bird certainly made an impression. The game enjoyed a quiet existence until late January, when it suddenly captured the world’s attention. It was hailed the “new Candy Crush,” meaning it was a frustrating, life-consuming app that would drive us crazy but keep us coming back for more. The game was simple to play, but impossible to master; a fickle lady that enchanted and enraged us.

No services are being held for Flappy Bird, though condolences can be tweeted to Nguyen. 

Photo via App Store, remix by Molly McHugh

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*First Published: Feb 9, 2014, 4:25 pm CST