Everybody wants to make money and be successful, right? Well, outside the game industry that seems to the ruling idea. Not only the game industry hates success, but it seems that people who play games hate successful games too.
Wired had an article on Flappy Bird and it’s short history. As someone who doesn’t give two shits about mobile PC gaming, which is different form handheld gaming, Flappy Bird went under my radar, thou I have seen it being played almost everywhere. The article nicely states how the game industry, or the people who call themselves as the game industry journalist, have no goddamn idea what the hell is going on or what makes a game successful. Any casual bystander can tell you why; It’s fun.
What makes Flappy Bird fun is that it’s simple and wants you to keep trying again and again. The game is hard, but not impossible. It rewards you for trying again, and you feel the joy of getting one more point.
It follows the same simple principles that early arcade games did that paved way to the game revolution. The Best games have always spawned from simple ideas with great execution. Flappy Bird has both. After trying the game with a friend’s phone, I can’t say but the game isn’t doing nothing wrong.
Because Flappy Bird became a success, the game industry hates it. It does not go with the grand vision of video games the game industry and the game industry journalist have. Flappy Bird shows how out of touch the industry is from the general consumer. Flappy Bird, for all intents, hit the Blue Ocean once it took wind. A great product will sell itself. Word of mouth is the most strongest way anyone can have his product out there. TV commercials are for propaganda, inside-industry reviews lie and are worthless pieces of garbage, random pop-ups are annoyance and practically everybody have AdBlockers installed in order NOT to see the banner ads. I hope you have yours on while you’re reading this blog. But when a friend tells another about a good product, and this person tells to three people and these three tell to three… it explodes. Social media allows one person to spread his views on a subject like a wildfire. Naturally, advertisers use this method to virally get their own propaganda out, but in many cases they’re way too overt, especially on forums and image boards.
Flappy Bird didn’t became a hit through bots as some suggest. It was just a simple and addictive game to play that didn’t took too much attention away. It could be whipped out, played for a moment and then put back. It’s a happy person’s game, someone who wants to play a little here and there. It isn’t a game you spend sixteen hours of watching some awful Lord of the Rings or Star Wars copy living itself out, but something that is active for that short burst of time again and again. Not that people couldn’t sink multiple hours in it in one go, but then we’d had to question other things with this person.
I am sad to notice that Dong Nguyen got flak from the industry and the users. However, perhaps all the attention was unwarranted. The product speaks more than the actions of the person who made it in most cases. Nguyen seems to be a happy fella that wanted to have his dreams come true is some way, but modern game industry doesn’t allow people like him to become a success, not with a game like Flappy Bird. That is sad and wrong. I wish the game industry will have a time, when products are allowed to become successful, to go against the self-destructive behaviour it has nowadays. Flappy Bird wasn’t a million dollar Tripple A game, but it’s success was nevertheless in the same calibre, or even higher when you take notice the amount of time it was out and the resources that must’ve cost Nguyen to develop the game.
Shouldn’t the game industry follow the same model; simpler, more addictive games with lower production cost and yet with great gameplay? Ah, you’re right dear reader. It costs millions to develop a game nowadays, and to make those millions make more millions back in return takes years and hundreds and hundreds of workers in order to put out a game that will shatter screen with their 4k high-definition visuals and 7.1 sound that has music licensed from the most popular bands. Then there’s this one guy who makes a game with something like five bucks and starts raking fifty thousand bucks per day for it.
I bought a used Nintendo 64 recently. I have no interests in the current console generation, so I decided to give the N64 a chance. Yet, whenever I recheck what games I might want to hunt down, I always dismiss the same games; StarFox 64, Super Mario 64, Donkey Kong64, Pilotwings 64… I have no interest in majority’s of Nintendo’s N64 library, because they are those multimillion games that barely make their budget back. The games I seem to have most interest are games like Bomberman, Mischief Makers and Robotron 64, games that are more about that similar arcade-style get-in-get-out mentality than Super Mario 64. There’s few exclusives that I want to check out, namely Super Robot Wars 64, but all of these games are exclusivities that have no staying power or attraction outside selected group of people.
Flappy Birds is an anti-thesis of N64 and its games, and it seems the more anti-N64 a game or a console is, the more successful it will be. I hope Nintendo will be moving towards NES and Wii kind of gaming in the future with Wii U now that they have admitted that the problem with Wii U is the quality of the games. Well, if you want to sell games more, the quality needs to be up there, up to the infamous Nintendo Seal of Quality. Perhaps Nintendo or some other company may want to employ Nguyen for their game department and listen to him. He might have some nice insights that have been long lost from the industry. He might as well end up spouting same indy garbage about art most indy devs do.
It’s a sad situation when I want the game industry be successful, and the industry then shuns the successful people away. All I can ask is What the fuck is wrong with you?