Flappy Bird is an eight-bit bastard. It’s the newest smartphone game that everyone is talking about (and playing!), but if you think it’s going to involve some sort of strategy like Angry Birds or Candy Crush, you’re going to be sorely disappointed.

Your fingers tap control the tiny flight bursts of a hapless bird (graphically, I think my 5-year-old could draw something more complex). Your goal is to maneuver the tiny creature through a small passage between drainpipes protruding from the top and bottom of the screen.  

But the real addiction of Flappy Bird comes from its YOU-CAN-NEVER-EVER-EVER-WIN-THIS-GAME motif. Think of it like Operation meets Groundhog Day. And for some reason, you find yourself compelled to click “play again” over and over and over.

Flappy’s flapping technique is painfully difficult to manage and seems to vary based on how hard or soft you tap the screen, which makes the floppy up-and-down movement difficult to maneuver through the pipe gaps.

The pipes seem a purposeful reference to Nintendo’s Mario Brothers. One almost expects to fall down the pipe and collect a bunch of gold coins ... but if you touch the pipe without flying between the gaps, it’s game over, and you start back at the very beginning.

Your score is based on how many pipes you pass. The highest I’ve made it is five, and I won’t even admit to you how long that took. It's embarrassing.

This type of entertainment snacking is hugely addictive. According to one report the makers of Flappy Bird are raking in $50,000 a day. Not too shabby for a simplistic game that probably took three hours to code.

Have you played Flappy Bird? What’s your high score?

 

Image via Desiree Catani/Flickr