The mobile gaming industry is infamous for being filled with one-hit wonders, games which do meteorically well and then disappear quietly when the next big thing comes along. Flappy Bird was definitely one of the biggest hits that’s been released on the platform, taking over my Facebook news feed, Tumblr dashboard and Twitter feed in a way I haven’t seen since Candy Crush, all bemoaning the game’s punishing difficulty and its addictive “one more go” nature. It was so successful that it was reportedly earning its developer fifty-thousand dollars per day in ad revenue alone. Personally, I never played it (I have all the infuriating rage-quit-inducing games I need in Terry Cavanagh’s hatefully brilliant Super Hexagon), but there’s no denying that it was quite a sensation in it’s own way.
Which is why the news that Dong Nguyen was pulling it from the various app stores came as such a shock. It’s opened him up to a wide variety of criticism (including some absolutely deplorable and unnecessary death threats), and quite a few money-grubbing people have been trying to flog phones with the game still installed on auction sites for thousands of dollars. Instead of shelling out a grand and rewarding the scalpers who don’t deserve the money, you could always download something which has sprung up to replace it – the Irish-developed Tappy Bird.
Developed by Shane O’Brien and his girlfriend Clare, Tappy Bird has the same basic gameplay right down to the compulsive nature and high difficulty level but boasts a much more impressive hand-painted visual style provided by Clare. Despite having only been released today, the game is gaining traction amongst mobile gamers already, and here at The Arcade we always like to encourage and promote Irish talent. If, like me, you missed the boat on Flappy Bird due to its removal, or had the game and either deleted it or had it wiped from your phone, give Tappy Bird a download. The free download means it won’t cost you anything but your time and possibly some sanity at the difficulty, and if it means that Shane and Clare gain more visibility and go on to develop more games with such a charming art style, it’s a win for everyone involved.