Wednesday, February 12, 2014

EXP Podcast #263: Figuring out Flappy Bird

The site of Scott's defeat
Last week, an unassuming little game called Flappy Bird managed to ruffle some feathers. Sorry, I just had to do that. The entire saga is actually a fairly sad tale about the video games press, attitudes towards intellectual property, and the state of mobile gaming in general. Flappy Bird may be gone from the app store, but legal, financial, and ethical questions it embodied remain. Feel free to jump into the comments with your thoughts!

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Show notes:


  1. I don't play a lot of mobile games, but I did get caught up in Clash of Clans in 2013. It starts of as an interesting take on an online multiplayer strategy game, but ends up being an endless waiting game - unless you pay to speed up things. I detest those "pay to advance faster" payment schemes, so instead of paying I quit playing :-) I would gladly have paid them a one time fee of 10$ for a version of the game that didn't monetize time.

  2. For being someone who loves games, I'm kind of amazed at how little I place anything on iOS. Seems to usually come down to three things:
    1) I don't have much patience for cheaply made games.
    2) I have zero patience for touch screen analog sticks.
    3) I don't want to bother with compressed version of a bigger release (something like XCOM).

    All I have on my phone currently is Words with Friends (speaking of clones) to play against my wife, the Final Fantasy V port (a natural fit for touchscreen controls), and Fiz, a brewery management simulator in the spirit of something like Rollercoaster Tycoon, but without all the pay-to-play crap and artificial lengthening of most similar games on the App store.

  3. I'm surprised how many people are convinced he pulled the game to avoid legal disputes with Nintendo. If that's all he wanted, he could have just changed the art, and he had 50,000 compelling reasons every day to do so.

    I also think, in light of that, this Flappy Jam movement ( is rather insulting. "Hey, sorry you regret that thing you made. To show how much we care, we're all going to steal your idea. Here's another 200 of it to haunt your dreams. XOXOXO."

    Anyway, I'm also rather apathetic toward mobile games; if I want to play on the go, I've got my Vita and my 3DS to do it properly. I do have a small list I'd recommend, though. Mostly puzzle games. Proper puzzle games. Not that mindless match-3 stuff.

    Chocolate Fix
    Penguin Patrol
    Rayman Jungle Run
    Rush Hour
    Star Wars Pit Droids

  4. Weirdly enough, Clash of Clans has been all over TV ads here in the states. The commercials were action packed CG things that did their best to hide the "hurry up and wait" aspect of most social games.

  5. I'm right there with you with your 3 points. Any sort of direct control on touch screen devices is playing with fire. I actually bought X-COM on iOS. It's been ok from an input perspective (controller or mouse and keyboard would be better). The biggest problem is that it's been crashing like crazy; ugly, straight to home screen crashes!

  6. Agreed on both your Flappy points: there's no evidence he was facing any legal action and the jam seemed well-intentioned but misguided. It's one thing to make a mocking game jam of King/CandyCrush, it's another to do it for a single dev who was never doing anything wrong.

    Thanks for the recommendations!

  7. I'm surprised that you had a whole discussion on "guy who wasn't prepared to handle his own PR and public image" without mentioning Phil Fish! Granted, Fish handled things...let's say 'differently' than Nguyen, but the core issue of sudden notoriety draws a comparison. Any official EXP comment?