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Ask GH: Why is 'Flappy Bird' (game) so popular?
Is it a classic case of word of mouth advertising done right?
I think they took a lot of familiar elements from games that worked and put them together to make a new game. The bird from the game Piou Piou and the music and pipes from mario. http://o.canada.com/technology/gaming/flappy-bird-is-the-ultimate-mobile-game-ripoff/
I was wondering how he managed to get more users to try his game. The reach, the initial 1000 downloads and first 50 reviews.
I should add that I don't think this is a bad thing - It's the same reason why we like top 40 on the radio, Charles Duhigg spoke a bit about it in his book the Power of habit:
“Much of the time, we don’t actually choose if we like or dislike a song. It would take too much mental effort. Instead, we react to the cues (“This song sounds like all the other songs I’ve liked!”) and rewards (“It’s fun to hum along!”) and without thinking, we either start singing, or reach over and change the station.”
So while there was a bit of word of mouth in there, i think they did something a bit different - they used cues we are already used to to create a new videogame experience.
Interesting take on music here, thanks. The top 40 isn't for me and I've always wondered about its appeal.
It also might be the hardest easy game since the Rubik's Cube.
Some are saying it's because the kids were talking about how hard it sucked and frustrating it was, then it spread outward from there.
Whether or not it was accidental is another story.
There are several popular Vines regarding Flap Bird that went viral through Vine and Twitter:
I think this post from MG Siegler sums it up pretty well: http://parislemon.com/post/75460673971/simpler-games-simpler-times
The key part:
Now, I have no idea how/why this actually happened. Maybe a nefarious scheme is pumping (or at least priming) these games, maybe not. But unlike others, I’m actually not that skeptical. Having played all the games (as well as the Flappy Bird clone, Ironpants, which currently stands at number four in the App Store) and hearing friends talk about it, I think I get it. And the answer couldn’t be easier.
We live in an era where videogames are getting more and more complicated. I couldn’t begin to tell you how to play the latest Call of Duty because I will never go anywhere near that game. It’s not that it’s not fun — I’m quite certain that it is. But the amount of time I would need to invest to get “good” at the game is way too high. It’s a huge barrier to entry. And this is a problem the industry has faced for a while.
Compare this to the games we used to play as kids. The brilliance of Atari and Nintendo games resided in their pure playability. You didn’t need to read an instruction manual to play them, you just needed to pick up the controller. Once you did this, a few taps and you were off.
Flappy Bird and the like are this to an extreme. The only thing you really need to know how to do here is tap the screen. It’s the definition of mindless entertainment. And in an ever-busy world, you just need a few free seconds to play. It’s refreshing.
As @TiffanyDasilva mentioned, the game has a lot of intrinsic elements that make it memorable, and guarantee a minimally good gameplay experience (as much as that experience lasts for a few pipes, and enough to start conversations on how frustrating the game can become).
I imagine there already were thousands of games with similar characteristics as Flappy Bird on the App Store, so it's sudden popularity must derive from some recent high traffic social posting. Especially if we consider that the game was released in May 2013. I believe this video review posted by PewDiePie was the first significant trigger to make it go viral: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQz6xhlOt18
Also, a few days later, it was released on Google Play, just in time to make it available for the millions of Android users who had just heard about this popular iOS game.
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