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Attack of the clones

Though the original Flappy Bird game has been pulled down by its developer, several inspired versions have come up, forcing app stores to intervene

tech reviews Updated: Feb 19, 2014 13:18 IST
Sneha Mahale

First Angry Birds, then Flappy Bird — you clearly need to be avian to rule the virtual space. But just as the latter went viral, topping charts around the world with its frustrating gameplay, creator Dong Nguyen pulled his game off the market. In a series of tweets on February 8-9, the Vietnamese developer revealed that the game ruined his simple life and that he “hates it now”. He then went on to give netizens 22 hours to download it before he pulled it down forever. And even as players mourn its demise, app stores across platforms have been bombarded with hundreds of imitations. Type ‘flappy’ and the options available now range from Splashy Fish and Flappy Plane to Clumsy Bird and Flappy Doge.

There are so many clones that Apple and Google have started rejecting games with ‘flappy’ in the title on their respective app stores — iTunes and Google Play. That’s not all, there’s even been an explosion of apps that dupe people into believing that they are playing some version of the original game. They, too, have come under the scanner.



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Developer Ken Carpenter from studio Mind Juice Media, whose Flappy Dragon was rejected by Apple, took to Twitter to vent his feeling, “This is just not my week: Rejected. “We found your app name attempts to leverage a popular app.” Which app? FB doesn’t exist!?!?! (sic)” Others are looking to rework the titles to get their games to the stores. So while Flappy Dragon eventually was accepted as Derpy Dragon on Google Play, Flappy Bee became Jumpy Bee.



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The madness doesn’t end there. A petition sent to US President Barack Obama on February 13 asked for the White House’s intervention to bring back the popular game. The petitioner, identified as ‘DS’, referred to Flappy Bird “as the devil’s game and apocalypse”. “So why bring back Flappy Bird, you ask? Because it is an addiction like no other (sic),” he wrote. But it didn’t find enough signatories as people chose to focus on issues like ‘deport Justin Bieber’ and ‘pardon Edward Snowden’.

However, it is unlikely that this is the last we’ve heard of this bird game.

Numbers game

Flappy Bird was launched in May last year by .GEARS, a small Vietnamese studio. At that time, it did not fare well on the charts. It reached the No 1 position on iTunes on January 17 this year. While at its peak, the game apparently earned $50,000 in ad revenues each day.

Ever since the game was taken down by its developer, Splashy Fish seems to be the popular replacement. The game topped the charts for free iPad apps in terms of downloads, according to figures released on February 13, in countries like the US, UK, Australia, Germany, France and Brazil.

China and India, however, seemed to prefer Fly Birdie.

Sesame Street, too, jumped on the bandwagon when they decided to parody game with their own version – Flappy Bert.

Best alternatives

Though nothing will ever come close to the original, here are a few options to consider:

1 Clumsy Bird: It combines the madness of Angry Birds with the gameplay of Flappy Bird.

2 Ironpants: Equally frustrating, you need to fly your hero while avoiding obstacles.

3 Splashy Fish: The unofficial successor, you need to tap your device to make the fish swim.

4 Flappy Bee: After drifting away from the group, this bee needs to find a way home.

5 Fly Birdie: The game is very popular in India and is doing well on iTunes.

6 Flappy Fish: Really popular on Google Play, but from the looks of it, has been taken down from the store.