The guy responsible for your addiction.
So, a lot of people assume Dong Nguyen, the guy who created then deprived the world of Flappy Bird, is a little weird in the head, mainly because, so far, we’ve only had crudely translated Vietnamese interviews to judge him by. Well, Rolling Stone decided to take a break from taking pictures of Miley Cyrus’ butt or whatever they do these days to send a reporter to Vietnam to interview Dong, and a clearer picture of Mr. Flappy Bird has emerged.
First, a little about the creation of Flappy Bird — not particularly shockingly, the game was made over the course of single long weekend, and Nguyen had no ambition for the game beyond perhaps making a couple hundred dollars in ad revenue. More thought was put into the design of the game than you might think though — in particular Nguyen thought Angry Birds, which really requires two hands to play, was too busy and complex for the average mobile gamer who just wants to poke at something with one hand, so he came up with a game that could be played with just a thumb. The titular Flappy Bird was, as many picked up on, based on a “cheep cheep” fish from Super Mario Bros. and the movement of the bird was based on a good old-fashioned paddleball.
So, why’d Nguyen take the game down? Well, Vietnam doesn’t have much of a tech industry; in fact Nguyen was probably the most successful tech guy the country had ever seen, so suddenly he was all over the news. Soon Nguyen’s parents’ house was surrounded by paparazzi (Nguyen, like most unmarried guys in their 20s in Vietnam, still lived at home). Nguyen also began receiving numerous messages from people chastising him for creating a game that distracted their kids at school or was getting them in trouble at work. These messages may have been facetious, but Nguyen took them to heart.
Don’t feel too bad for Nguyen though — he may have stopped selling new downloads of Flappy Bird, but the 10s of millions of copies already downloaded are still generating tons of ad revenue for him, and he now says he’s considering putting the game back up on the app store. He’s also working on new games, including an “action chess game” and yes, something called Kitty Jetpack. Oh s–t, here we go again.
If you’ve got a couple minutes, go check out Rolling Stone’s full piece on Nguyen. If a good read, and fair shake for a guy who’s been badly misunderstood and misrepresented over the past couple months.