The smart phone game called Flappy Bird was not really on the radar for us here at Long Awkward Pause until we started seeing news that it was no longer available. Initially it vanished from iTunes and Google Play by its developer without any notice or explanation.
Today, a breathless and not very flappy world finally heard from the game’s creator, Dong Nguyen. Mr. Nguyen took the most popular game available for iPhone and Android devices off the market because he felt guilty. Surprisingly, it seemed to have nothing to do with guilt associated with a first name that sounds like, well, the sound of a large bell.
Dong Nguyen stopped selling Flappy Bird games because he felt guilty that the game was addicting. Dong told Forbes Magazine that “…it happened to become an addictive product. I think it has become a problem. To solve that problem, it’s best to take down Flappy Bird. It’s gone forever.”
So Mr. Nguyen forfeited the $50,000 in advertising income he was bringing in EACH DAY because he felt the game was addicting. Being addicting is one of the qualities that allows a game to put $350,000 a week into its developer’s checking account. Game addiction would seem a good thing to create, if you were in the business of making phone based video games.
Nguyen was also quoted as saying that “Flappy Bird was designed to play in a few minutes when you are relaxed…” and that he lost sleep when he realized that people were becoming addicted to his game.
Of course, Forbes magazine trumpeted its interview with Dong Nguyen as an exclusive. But we here at Long Awkward Pause will never surrender the internet to “journalists” and their fancy standards. We reached out to experts in the field of addiction for their reactions to Nguyen’s move.
A spokesperson for R.J. Reynolds tobacco refused to comment on the ethics of selling addictive products saying “we’ve not had any experience in that type of marketing”.
We found representatives of the cocaine producing nations of Colombia, Bolivia and Peru standing together on a corner. When we explained the Flappy Bird story to them, they shared a good laugh and said something in Spanish that we took to mean “are you kidding? Addiction is the foundation of our economies”.
The only conclusion that one can reach from this entire affair is that Dong Nguyen killed the goose that laid the golden egg, not because he wanted more gold but because…well, for no good reason. It’s not hard to imagine him waking up one day and muttering to himself “what kind of dong does something like that?”