YVONNE EPPS WRITES — Ah, Flappy Bird. You’ve soared into the mainstream’s heart as millions potentially tapped holes into their iOS and Android devices, driven by addiction. You may not flap anymore, but your existence and death is a good sign within Vietnam’s constrictive media.
The Vietnamese-developed mobile game Flappy Bird was taken down last week by its creator, Nguyen Ha Dong. He announced its removal on Twitter, tweeting that it was due to how the game “ruined [his] simple life” as reported on TuoiTreNews. It is speculated that stress from international and local media is the cause of Dong’s withdrawal, but rumors circulated that Nintendo threatened to sue Dong for the similar graphics to their Super Mario series. While Nintendo has officially denied the rumors, it has a track record of absurd copyright pursuits, like the Youtube Content ID controversy last summer, so it isn’t too far-fetched.
The rumors didn’t stop there; they took a turn for the worse. An unknown news source reported that Dong committed suicide, a hoax that international media ate up until Dong’s family vouched for his optimistic well-being. Despite the ludicrous rumors surrounding the story, Dong claims that he removed the game for a different reason. In an interview with Forbes, Dong explains he intended the game to be a short, relaxing experience, but it grew into obsessive addictions. While elbow deep in media drama with potential legal actions, Dong claims to have integrity as a game developer, which may be considered surprising in a profit-centric environment.
There are many Flappy Bird clones on the iOS and Android markets to cash in on its fleeting success, but Dong hasn’t removed himself from the industry. Vietnam has the largest mobile application market in Southeast Asia, and former deputy minister of science and technology Bui Manh Hai commented how the country’s agencies should have aided Dong concerning taxes and his intellectual property. Though the game in its original version is missed, we applaud Dong for having the sensibility to see the addictive trend of his game and offering a sliver of hope within Vietnam’s vicegrip.