From the bandwagon: Flappy Bird, Threes

Flappy Bird on iOS

I don’t play games very often on my phone, you’re more likely to see text on my screen than graphics. Nonetheless, now and then I tune into the news enough to note the latest developments, particularly on the mobile gaming stage — when I say that, of course I mean iOS though. Android hasn’t had much appeal since my Samsung passed on.

Hence, from the bandwagon. Enough people have been talking about these subjects enough that I really don’t consider my two cents necessary, particularly in context of all the negativity. So it’s okay, I’ll be posting something over this in a moment.

Flappy Bird

Flappy Bird was all the rage last week, when something that should have just been a great deal of fun spiraled out of control. While most applications these days seem intent on trying to boost their numbers of downloads, and some of us dream of creating that one app that will make us rich and allow us to focus on more enjoyable activities than making money to survive, the developer of Flappy Bird’s decision to take the app down because he couldn’t deal with the publicity is an interesting one.

I say interesting, because it not as strange an idea as some people seem to think. Some people are inherently introverted, and don’t enjoy being in the limelight, they just want to do what they enjoy doing — in this case, making games. This I understand, and I feel for him for all the abuse he copped as a result of both players’ addictions to the game and his subsequent decision to take it down.

It just goes to show that we don’t have to let success get to our heads, if you could call this a success. It would be a success terms of the popularity and hype it generated, people emulating this game, and reports that apparently $50,000 was being earned in revenue from advertising a day, but this may not be a success in his book.

While success to him could simply be people worldwide enjoying his game, this positivity was quickly sullied by those who additionally blamed him for their obsessions over the game, the legal issues and claims he artificially inflated his downloads only just adding salt to the wound.

I respect his decision and wish him luck, although taking a small look at his other games, he seems to have a knack for creating games that seem simplistic and are minimalistic, but once you start playing you realise how difficult and ultimately frustrating they are — why did you make something so difficult?!


This week, however, seems to be about Threes from what I seem to be seeing although it’s not yet the sensation that Flappy Bird turned out to be. Although I don’t personally understand the gameplay (not having played it) the concept in a nutshell, or other shell of your liking, is to slide numbers around a tiled 4x4 grid.

Games such as these two show just what appeal there can be in minimalism and the concept of simplicity, even as the creators mentioned it has been a long process to reach this point in the design. Both showcase a fairly simple concept and design with hidden complexity, although admittedly the amount of thinking going into Threes is greater.

Flappy Bird focused on users replaying the game again as quickly as possible, only giving the options of replay and the Games Centre, not sharing on Twitter or otherwise. But Threes is very different. A great deal of its appeal is also in sharing your scores with others, but in this sense it seems more about playing with others rather than competing with others as Flappy Bird seemed to be.

What do you think?