Over the weekend, the creator of massively popular
timesuck game Flappy Bird revealed that he was delisting the game from app stores, stating that it was ruining his life.
I can call 'Flappy Bird' is a success of mine. But it also ruins my simple life. So now I hate it.— Dong Nguyen (@dongatory) February 8, 2014
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
The popularity of the game itself and the meme culture surrounding it proved to be too much pressure for Nguyen. The Vietnam-based game designer was clearly sick of press attention, writing, "Press people are overrating the success of my games. It is something I never want. Please give me peace." Since he announced the game's removal and subsequent follow-through, he's been receiving a steady stream of death threats and vitriol online.
It should be noted that anyone who already has a copy of the app stored locally will retain that copy forever, they just will not be able to download it from Apple or Google's servers anymore. The app should still work.
This sort of thing occurs often with developers who code secret tethering functions into their apps: it gets delisted quickly, but anyone who got in early has a fully functioning piece of software, and renegade app developers count on that initial rush to snag contraband.
In what might be the stupidest development to come out of a fiasco surrounding a video game involving a cartoon bird, people are selling phones that have Flappy Bird already loaded onto them. This is because each copy of an app is tied to a specific user account—the software can't just be emailed around. It doesn't look like anyone has bought one of these phones yet, and let's hope nobody ever does.
Flappy Bird is survived by its spiritual predecessor, Candy Crush Saga, as well as all the dumb knockoffs that are sure to appear online this week.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.