The Bird That Flew Too High

Yes, that's my personal highscore

For those of you who haven't heard of the latest craze going about, you're a little too late. Literally.

The game "Flappy Bird" has been causing sleepless nights, destroying relationships and even been blamed for a murder. And all this fuss over a little pixelated yellow bird trying to fly through a couple of pipes?

And because of all this success, the developer of this game, an Indie developer by the name of Dong Nguyen, was raking in $50,000 a day from the in-game advertisements. But what was even more amazing was that he decided to take the game down when it was at it's peak! [I can hear some of you humans screaming "Who wouldn't want $50,000 a day!!??"]

Image taken from google search

I shall not bore you with the details on how this little birdie managed to fly to such heights, as it as been well covered in many other articles. [Read this if you want to know more] Instead, I would much prefer to focus on the apparent issues in our society that have been highlighted by this whole fiasco.

I actually feel sorry for Dong Nguyen. This game should have brought him nothing by success, fame and a whole lot of money. However, it seemed to have brought him much more stress, worries and a whole army of haters instead.

Here are a few problems in our society that this saga has actually highlighted. [Till now I am still personally baffled and have no logical explanation for any one of them]

Image taken from google search

1. Why Do They Hate Me So?
Seriously people. WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?? Can somebody please explain to me why would you start hating the person who created this game? It was very apparent from Dong Nguyen's twitter account that he has been the target of many hate messages, insults and even death threats.

Humans are blaming him for causing them sleepless nights and broken relationships. Here's a tip for you humans: IT'S YOUR OWN DAMN FAULT.

It's not his fault that you are overly-obsessed with his game. It's not his fault that you can't put your phone down to get some shut eye when you need it. And it's definitely not his fault that your girlfriend/boyfriend is not hot enough to tempt you away from tapping a hole in your phone.

Ok, so he did come up with a slightly challenging [yes, I only mean slightly] game with simple, clean graphics. But other than that, you can blame it on your lack of self-discipline and plain common sense for not being able to put the game down. It's not like the game does this to you:

Image from google search

It's just like blaming car manufacturers for coming up with cars that move faster than your personal running speed. Errr, maybe, just maybe, they intended for the car to go faster than you? The world doesn't revolve around you you know...

Image taken from google search

2. The Spoilt Brats
Another reason for the increase in haters that he got was the fact that he actually tweaked the game to be ever-so-slightly easier in an update that happened when the game was at it's peak. And this was based on the thousands of feedback that he received, requesting him to make it easier. But even with the tweak, it was still not that easy. However, this tweak made the original players feel "cheated" of their time and efforts where they practically took 1 week to achieve a score of 5.

There are 2 groups of spoilt brats here. The first group being the losers who can't get even get pass the first pipe. As a gamer, you don't start to complain to the creator if you aren't good enough to pass the first stage. Instead, you man up and put in more time and effort to keep trying until you get a highscore of 1. It's just like trying to tell your school to make the exams easier because you can't get a pass. [I believe some filthy rich kids probably do do that]

The second group of spoil brats are the original downloaders who saw red when the game became easier. Again, using the exam example, you don't go round complaining to your school when the exam becomes easier. Instead, you should be happy that you can now aim to score full marks instead of the pathetic 90 marks that you used to score.

Image taken from google search

The world is full of spoilt brats who complain about everything everyday, but don't do anything to adapt to it. And by trying to cater to any one of these spoil brats, especially when you have attained any form of social status, would just be digging your own grave. As the late Steve Jobs once said "People don't know what they want until you show it to them."

Image taken from google search

3. Not One for the Spotlight
Judging from his twitter replies, Dong Nguyen was also probably not someone who could shine in the spotlight. He was probably a simple kid who never had any big dreams, who just had a passion for developing games. It just so happened that he made a hit game that had just the right combination of difficulty, simplicity and irritatingness.

However, as with almost everything else in our society nowadays, the introverts are not the ones who will shine when presented with such a huge social responsibility. They are not the type who can easily deal with a massive amount human interaction and communication thrust upon them at such short notice.

All he needed was a good, extrovert salesman. Someone who could talk the talk and walk the walk. Sadly, he didn't have such a person on hand, and I would expect him to be very suspicious of any human offering to help him with his business immediately after gaining such fame too.

Sadly, that's the truth in today's society, where the introverts are most often then not the geniuses in the background who do most of the work but get little or no recognition, while the extroverts in the limelight will be the ones enjoying the fame and glamour just by having the gift of the gab.

Image taken from google search
Not now, I just flapped past 100!

In the midst of this entire saga, I personally did manage to impress a few friends by getting more than a 2 digit highscore on the game. And I even have friends asking me "How is this even possible!!??". Well, as a gamer, you never take any game as "just a game". All you need to do is to take a few tries to study and understand the mechanics of the game, and soon you'll be on your way to a sky-high highscore!

Let me take you through the autopsy of Flappy Bird. This is the first screen you see once you hit the Play button.

Ok. So you tap once, the bird flaps once and gains some height. When you don't do anything, the dumb bird does a nosedive towards the ground. Ok. Simple. Next.

Fly forward a little and you start to see some pipes. Well, it's pretty common knowledge that banging face first into pipes isn't a good thing. AND there's a gap between the pipes. So I guess we got to get the bird through those pipes. Ok. Got it. Dang! Didn't manage to squeeze through on the first try.

Ok. So now that we know how the game works as well as the objective, it's time to do some research.

Questions that immediately popped into my tiny head: [And their answers after some research]

Can I do a double-flap? [Meaning does the game allow me to tap again halfway through my first tap]
Yes I can.

Does the double-flap give me more altitude then 2 single flaps combined?
No. Each flap gives the exact same altitude. Which effectively means a double-flap actually gains less altitude than 2 single flaps combined.

Does the the speed of the nosedive increase the longer he dives?
No. It is consistent no matter how long he dives. [Just make sure he doesn't do a faceplant on the ground]

Are there differences in the heights of the gaps between the pipes?
No. Each gap is exactly the same height as any other gap in the game. Only the position of the game changes.

Is the altitude gained from 1 tap more or less than the height of the gap between the pipes?
The altitude gained is slightly less than the height of the gap. Which means you can safely flap once even when you are in the middle of a pipe.

So, by putting all this information together, I came up with a simple but effective strategy:
Since the altitude gain from a flap is less than the height of the gap, it means that it is always safe to flap when you just about touching the bottom pipe. So, all we need to concentrate on is getting as close to the bottom pipe as possible, and we can totally ignore the top pipe!

Here's a simple illustration of what I mean:

So there you have it. Following this simple strategy for a simple game like this, you can easily get a 3-digit highscore like me. The only other things you need are perseverance, a bit of luck, and ninja-like reflexes.