The tweet that millions of Flappy fanatics have been hoping for – one that suggests that the return of Flappy Bird is a possibility – was sent out yesterday from the creator of the mobile game himself. Around midday on March 19, Dong Nguyen responded to a tweet asking if Flappy Bird would ever return to the App Store and, in much less than 140 characters, Nguyen gave us reason to be cautiously optimistic.
But, as the tweet suggests, you’ll still have plenty of time to rest your thumbs, which are no doubt still in recovery from hours of nerve-racking Flappy Bird flight. “Not soon,” is vague, but overt enough to let us know that patience will need to be exercised. What “not soon,” means to Nguyen is anyone’s guess.
This tweet comes just a month after the Flappy Bird mobile game came to a sudden halt – at the hands of Dong Nguyen himself who, at the time, was earning $50,000 per day from ad revenue.
The object of the game is to navigate a spherical 8-bit bird through the gaps in a series of vertical tubes as the game scrolls horizontally from right to left. Users can only control the bird’s upward motion, which is done by tapping the screen (or spacebar if playing on a desktop or notebook). Tap too much and your bird is likely to face plant in the side of a tube. Tap too little and your bird will plummet to his demise.
The seemingly simple game took the Internet by storm in early 2014. Released in May 2013 by .GEARS Studios, a small independent game developer based in Vietnam, Flappy Bird went relatively unnoticed for several months, earning few downloads. But in January 2014, the game went viral overnight and managed to top the free apps charts in the United States, China, and the United Kingdom. It closed out January as the most downloaded app on the App Store.
The game’s sky-high difficulty level paired with the simple graphics and addictive qualities added to Flappy Bird’s allure, and provided fodder for late night talk show hosts and water cooler loiterers around the country. Countless videos were upload to YouTube of frustrated players breaking out into fits of rage due to the near impossibility of the game.
And like most things that go viral, controversy about Flappy Bird and its developer followed suit. Accusations of plagiarism were denied by Nguyen as were suggestions that the sudden, meteoric rise in popularity of Flappy Bird was the result of bots used by Nguyen to artificially boost download numbers.
Then, on February 8, Nguyen tweeted out the following:
And just like that, Flappy Bird was over, though the online chatter regarding the game and its developer was louder than ever. Bloggers and news agencies around the world reacted in surprise and pondered at the emblematic nature of the rise and demise of Flappy Bird. In the fast-paced online world where careers are made and broken in instances, the rollercoaster saga of Nguyen’s game is reflective of this.
With Nguyen’s teasing tweet sent out yesterday, it seems that the Flappy Bird epic is not yet over. Whether the return of the game will garner as much success and media coverage as it did earlier this year remains to be seen, but it certainly won’t go unnoticed by the thousands of Flappy fanatics who are patiently waiting for their addiction to be fed once more.