back to article One good thing from the Flappy Birds crapp flap: It's a handy 'tech' media rating system

So, you're a Register reader and despite the fact that Flappy Bird has been withdrawn from app stores, you know how to obtain it for free on your phone in moments*. So you're probably a bit mystified by the all the headlines surrounding this. So are we – so far we've confined ourselves to noting its withdrawal from app stores …


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  1. jb99


    I had no interest whatsoever in this at all until all this fuss.

    Now I'm finding myself wondering where I can get it.... Noooo!

    1. xperroni

      Re: Noooo


      As fate would have it, I installed it just days before it was pulled off. And it is pretty addictive.

      I don't think it deserves to be called a "crapp". If this were an Apple product people would be calling it "minimalistic" and "unobtrusive".

      It is a very simple game to be sure, but it doesn't seem to have been written poorly – in my experience it is very stable and responsive. Since its very point is to be insanely hard, that the UI is minimal also contributes to the experience: you can fail and restart play faster than it takes to reload an Angry Birds stage. The learning curve is pretty much non-existent, you get the mechanics of the game within seconds of first playing it. From then on it's a test of skill, pure and simple.

      Alas, such ignominy to poor Nguyen, we barely knew him. Flappy Birds has the hallmark of an accidental success, so I doubt he'll ever get another one like this – but I hope he can hold on to the craft.

      1. ThomH

        Re: Noooo

        To be fair to Rovio, playing and playing again in Angry Birds was similarly speedy back when it was a paid standalone app. The clutter of advertising has accumulated only after success. So I'm sure it's a classic tale of most of the team understanding the benefits but the marketing team having different ideas.

        As for Flappy Bird? I can see the appeal: if you fail then it's unambiguously always your fault, the gameplay doesn't actually progress so there's no having to repeat yourself disincentive to hitting the play button again and it requires just enough attention to occupy you. So you end up hitting the play button repeatedly and losing track of the time. Meanwhile all it does for revenue is display a small advertising banner at the top of the game over screen but not during gameplay, which is actually quite smart because it's a contextually justified way to get a lot of impressions and doesn't annoy the user.

        There are a lot of theories that Nguyen is some sort of genius — e.g. the rate button was also on the game over screen in early versions and would appear suspiciously close to where most people tap to fly. Meanwhile Apple's App Store uses recent positive reviews to weight its overall rankings as they attempt to quantify popularity by as many measurements as possible. So that may have helped give the app early momentum, whether intentional or not.

  2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    Go on El Reg. Name n' shame. I can't be arsed to see who did the story about Android devices with it on going on eBay. But I don't mind reading a good snark, in a good cause.

    [cue Mrs Doyle]: Go on, go on, go on, go on, go on.

    You know you want to...

    Did anyone run a story about it no longer working on all the devices it's already running on?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      They might refer to enemy site The Inquirer:

    2. ClamChowder

    3. Vociferous

      Re: Name and Shame

      (It's the Daily Mail. Of course.)

      1. Nuke

        @Vociferous : Re: Name and Shame

        Wrote :- "It's the Daily Mail. Of course"

        Don't blame the Daily Mail or any other media for reporting a panic. It's their job to report what is going on in the world, as indeed El Reg has reported this panic too.

        The DM article you linked says "Imitations of Flappy Bird .. might be popping up everywhere, but the original game is ‘gone forever,’ according to its creator."

        Read that again. The "gone forever" is in sacastic quotes and the quote itself is "according to its CREATOR" (my caps). If its creator thinks it has gone because he has pulled it from wherever (but what he really meant may have been lost in translation) then it is he who is under an illusion, not the media. The only thing that might have gone is his direct involvement, though he will find he gets into more "involvement" now than if he had just let things run.

        I saw a demo of the game and it is crap anyway, like an early DOS game.

        1. Vociferous

          Re: @Vociferous : Name and Shame

          > Don't blame the Daily Mail or any other media for reporting a panic.

          You didn't miss the "If you missed your chance to download the mobile sensation Flappy Bird, don't worry - but be prepared to a pay a lot. Phones preloaded with the game are being listed for up to $20,000 on eBay." bit, right?

          > I saw a demo of the game and it is crap anyway, like an early DOS game.

          It's very heavily inspired by Commodore 64 games like Airwolf.

        2. smartermind

          Re: @Vociferous : Name and Shame

          'The "gone forever" is in sacastic [sic] quotes and the quote itself is "according to its CREATOR" (my caps).'

          The creator probably only said that he was pulling it from the marketplaces forever and the moronic lazy journo's interpreted this as "gone forever" because there is nothing like a drama to spice up sales.

      2. smartermind

        Re: Name and Shame

        The DM would only blame immigrants for the demise of Flappy bird and probably state that had it been successful then hordes of Vietnamese immigrants would be heading to these shores.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Here's one


    I'm looking forward to the next El Reg Flappy Birds article

    Where it lists alternatives available on the app store, but not mention that you can still just get it if you want to.

    1. monkeyfish

      Re: I'm looking forward to the next El Reg Flappy Birds article

      Time for another buzzfeltch?

  4. Paul Webb

    It's the Year of Code

    Why isn't everyone writing their own Farty Bird app?

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: It's the Year of Code

      I reckon this bloke is already on it:

  5. Valeyard

    Ahh BBC...

    ...the worst "tech" news source out there, and that's including the kinda tech sites where the people who comment call each other bro.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ahh BBC...

      Now see here, bro...

    2. Vociferous

      Re: Ahh BBC...


      1. Swarthy
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Ahh BBC...


  6. Dsenior

    I like a joke but....

    There are numerous on device with It on at crazy prices on FleaBay , the most expensive at the moment is £6,000,000 and no I didn't type to many zero.

    would have bought it , but I thought the £1.20 postage was a bit steep

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: I like a joke but....

      £6E6 is news. For a tenth of that price, I'd install it on my old phone and flog it.

  7. Al_21

    I'd class the sites which recommend alternative apps as more tailored to their audience than ignorant.

    Won't be impressed if popular news sites for non-techie people advises to change settings to allow installation of apps not hosted on Google Play store and download and install the apk - malware writers will have a field day - or few months if the users get used to searching apks.

  8. Oninoshiko

    So with the bootnotes considered

    El Reg is a "category B" publication?

    Or is it all good because there are no links? Maybe it's like bloodtypes, an AB publication?

    1. Swarthy

      Re: So with the bootnotes considered

      I think it's B.5

      The article wanted to be Class A, but did not want to alienate the Class B readers, so they put they compromised on the BootNote.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Now somebody PLEASE explain to me why anyone is writing anything at all about this silly game.

    I simply don't understand how this ever became news anywhere.

    1. A. Coatsworth Silver badge

      Re: Great...

      In few words, it became viral... Why? because!

      It's a mediocre game, with mechanics that have been (better) implemented before and graphics ripped off from Mario. The only "unique" characteristic it had was that the difficulty level was cheap and frustrating.

      That attracted "comic" video reviewers from Youtube, and the hive mind that is internet took it from there, until it leaked to real world news outlets that try to hard to look cool and hip... Exactly the same cycle followed by the QWOP game a few years ago

    2. NumptyScrub

      Re: Great...

      quote: "Now somebody PLEASE explain to me why anyone is writing anything at all about this silly game."

      Apparently it topped the download chart for Jan 2014 on iOS, so it was technically the most popular application last month.

      Whether you consider the abrupt removal of (apparently) the most downloaded game on a particular smartphone platform a newsworthy item, is another matter entirely, of course :)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Great...

        Well if it's just the Internet being the Internet then I withdraw my objections and replace them with haughty indignation and sad head shaking.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Great...

        I believe I read that it was the #1 download on the Google Play store as well.

  10. Kevin 6

    I got some questions

    Whats a flappy bird, and why in the fuck is it newsworthy?

  11. Anonymous Coward

    And if you happen to be on a Windows Phone...

    Then you were out of luck to begin with.

    No sneer, no hate, just an observation from my WP7.5 device.

    I guess in the end, and in some strange twisted way of thinking, the Windows Phone users are better off. Since there was nothing there to begin with there's now also nothing to be missed.

    So why does it still feel as if I have been left in the dark? Hmm...

  12. PunkTiger

    I'd never even heard of the game before all this brouhaha started. *shrug*

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Me neither. And watching what my fellow tube-jockeys have been playing recently, I haven't seen a single mobile game player playing flappy birds. Lots of temple run and knock offs (temple run probably isn't the original) and a lot of candy crush saga.

      1. Mnot Paranoid

        Saga saga

        Considering the almighty toys-out-of-pram slinging that King make about the word "Saga" (Things made simple for old people, fictional aspie-Scando detective), does *anybody* actually call this game anything other than just "Candy Crush".

        Nobody calls it "Candy Crush Saga"

        1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

          Re: Saga saga

          true... and that was probably the only time that I have ever called it "candy crush saga" rather than just "candy crush".

  13. ehoffman

    Option D :-)

    That made me laugh, because I read that same news on other site (that I won't name) and I would say that in cases like that, you see a lot of sites falling in the D category :-)

  14. Alan Denman

    A chicken and egg conundrum.........,

    ...............yet most tech journalists appear to be in an embryonic state

  15. Haku

    Surely people know about the Android app that lets you create .apk files from the apps installed on a device, so you can back them up and also install on another Android device?

    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      LOL Is it called 'copy' ??!

      On android, the apk file is stored untouched, and unzipped on run, not just on install. It's basically a .jar file with bits

  16. Robert Carnegie Silver badge


    How the bloody hell does the fact that a software author is no longer selling his work become incidental to a discussion of just ripping him off and copying it onto your device anyway?

    I hope that he had the foresight to include a "trojan mode" into unlicensed copies that wipes the bootlegger's device to factory settings.

    1. Haku

      Re: Ahem

      He wasn't selling it you dolt, it was a free app, he gained revenue from the in-game ads.

    2. M Gale

      Re: Ahem

      I hope that he had the foresight to include a "trojan mode" into unlicensed copies that wipes the bootlegger's device to factory settings.

      Considering the countless number of times I've seen DRM fuck up, at best causing an inconvenience and at worst destroying the "protected" item, I'd say sure, go ahead and do that. The moment "trojan mode" activates, is the moment the letter from my solicitors arrives through your door.

      I'll be asking for £250/hour labour charge for recovering the phone to as close to its previous state as possible, along with a high five-figures amount for damages. I'll be taking my time over the recovery job, to make sure I do it properly, you understand.

  17. JCB

    D for Dunce

    "We'd note that it's quite reasonable to regard use of Flappy Bird since it was pulled as piracy."

    Definitely D class journalism. D for Dunce. I shall continue to play until I have had enough, or Google pull it (as I believe they can) from the devices to which it was legitimately downloaded. Mr Nguyen has not asked me to delete my copy. Illicit copying can be piracy, depending on the circumstances, but continuing to use a legal download is not.

    The payment system, as everyone should be aware, is by ad fees, so copying does not directly disadvantage the author financially. I have seen nothing to indicate that the flow of ad funds has been blocked. I am not sure on what basis a case for damages could be brought. If the author has difficulties, I sympathise, but if he doesn't want the lolly I am sure the RSPB would appreciate a donation.

    Actually the game is rather fun. I quite like to have a game I can play for a few moments without having to commit significant time. I just hope my neighbours can't hear the expletives when Flappy turns out to be a duck.

    Someone told me that if I got a platinum medal I could turn it into a Bitcoin, so I am pressing on.

  18. Vociferous

    Like a troll under my bridge...

    Much like I miss all twitterstorms and facebook feuds, I had never heard about this game until now.

    And for some reason that doesn't bother me at all.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Like a troll under my bridge...

      Well, at least we all know how cool you are now. Are there some bands you don't listen to as well?

  19. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Down


    "Flappy Bird scammers pounce on unsuspecting users

    "Scam artists seeking to capitalise on the demise of popular mobile game Flappy Bird have released harmful clones.

    "Apps that appeared to be identical to the original have been designed to trick users into sending premium rate text messages."

  20. Martin Huizing

    Just wondering...

    When's the movie coming out?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    deary, deary me

    @El Reg - mud slinging at your 'competitors'? Really? But if you must, at least have the balls the state who the 'competitor' in question is.

    1. gazthejourno (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: deary, deary me

      OK: it's all of them. Happy now?

  22. disgruntled yank

    Yet Another Option

    It didn't mention Flappy Bird at all: the source has a sense of proportion. (Of course, it might be in cuneiform on clay tablets, but you can't have everything.)

  23. Mnot Paranoid

    Flappy fap fap fap

    If you missed out on this most important of Internet sensations of 2014 so far, then you are not cool.

    You will never be cool.

    Get over it, bro.

  24. Zot

    Some of the games on the Apple store were not copies.

    According to some reviews, they came out BEFORE Flappy did, and have now shoved up the charts because thousands of little fingers want to sooth their addiction to it. Bless.

  25. markp 1

    The best bit about all this?

    Halfway down the page there was, inserted as a call-out into the article text, a flash animated context-word advert for ... "Happy Bird".

    And given the way el reg operates, I can't even work out if that's deliberate or just a flappy coincidence.

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