Opinion: Flappy Bird, Empathy, Appreciation for Simplicity


There’s been a lot of talk about Flappy Bird lately. For those who somehow haven’t heard about it – it’s a mobile game from an indie developer in Vietnam named Dong Nguyen.
Over the past few weeks, it’s taken the mobile gaming world by storm, climbing up to the #1 spot in the app store. This is pretty rare these days, because publishers spend tens of thousands of dollars every week to acquire enough new users to maintain their chart position.

Long story short: the internet kind of exploded on the game and its developer. Blogs sprang up accusing the developer of cheating the chart position and cloning other apps, and Kotaku even ran a piece with a headline claiming the developer had stolen art assets from a Mario game (They later published an apology, because clearly this wasn’t the case.) And at the same time, millions of players were playing the game – a LOT. All of this attention seems to have been too much for the creator, who subsequently removed the game. The app’s success had completely changed his life, and it was too much for him.

There are lots of interesting things going on here, but I find two things particularly noteworthy:

1. The Hate Continue reading…

Pixel Pressure Cooker, #3

Hey everyone!

As you may be aware – today is Monday, and the more astute readers will remember that we did our Pixel Pressure Cooker on Thursday last week.

So, apologies for the late post :)

This week’s Pixel Pressure Cooker was pretty interesting and different, because we worked with a guest artist – Cellusious. Cell is a talented artist we’ve followed on Twitter for awhile, and we thought it’d be a ton of fun to get him in a quick jam. He did not disappoint! It was a treat for us and our viewers to see his painting methods – he cranked out an incredible amount of artwork in the hour-long jam, and you can watch it here:

Now – coming into this jam, we didn’t have a super solid plan for what the game play would look like, as we wanted to give Cell free reign on the visuals. And, partly because we were distracted by all the awesomeness landing in our assets dropbox folder – we kinda failed to turn it into a complete game at the end of the hour!

Here’s an animated. gif of what the game looked like at the one hour mark:




So – we decided that instead of tossing this up as a “playable” game, we’re going to spend a few more hours on it and turn it into something that’s more representative of the final concept Cell drew:






Pixel Pressure Cooker, Episode 2

Today we did the second “Pixel Pressure Cooker” – a one-jour game jam using Unity3D.

The theme this week was suggested immediately by several of our followers: Candy.

This is to commemorate the current legal shenanigans surrounding King.com’s “Candy” trademark. Read more about that here.

So – we made a tongue-in-cheek game where you shoot candies at “developers” and take them out for points.
There are “good” and “bad” ones – but it doesn’t matter – take them all out!
Play it here.

This is the first Unity game that we’ve done using the new 2D features – which are really great! We’ll probably do more 2D games in the future, especially for these quick jams.

Also: we must acknowledge: We actually went over by about 3 minutes, so we could get the score HUD hooked up!
Here is the stream of the jam if you’d like to watch:

We’ve also included a Unity package with the files here. (You’ll need to roll your own HUD, or import NGUI, as we didn’t distribution the NGUI package with it.)

Let us know what you think!