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Flappy Bird

  • Object:

    Mobile application

  • Place of origin:

    Hanoi (capital of Vietnam) (computer programming)

  • Date:

    22/01/2014 (released)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Nguyen, Dong (programmer)
    .GEARS Studios (games developers)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Android software (.APK) designed to run on a mobile phone

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Dong Nguyen

  • Museum number:

    CD.27-2014

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Vietnamese programmer and game designer Dong Nguyen coded Flappy Bird in a weekend. He released it on 24 May 2013 as a free-to-download mobile phone app. Flappy Bird was slow to gain popularity, but thanks to its addictive game mechanic it soon became a viral sensation. Tapping the screen makes the bird flap its wings and points are scored by passing between vertical pipes.

By January 2014, Flappy Bird topped the Apple and Google Play charts with in-app advertising revenue estimated at $50,000 per day. Despite this success, Nguyen announced on 8 February 2014, via Twitter: ‘I am sorry Flappy Bird users, 22 hours from now, I will take Flappy Bird down. I cannot take this anymore’. This was Nguyen’s response to abusive Twitter messages from frustrated players and his own concerns that the game was proving too addictive. Following its removal hundreds of unofficial clones and tributes appeared online.

The game acquired by the V&A is in the Android Package File format which is a packaged, portable programme with a defined infrastructure designed for Android smart phones. Flappy Bird’s graphics and play design is linked to the modern retro trend of retrogaming culture. Retrogaming as a subculture of video gaming is the playing of video games designed prior to the mid-1990s, before the 5th generation of modern video game consoles took off with Sony’s 1994 Playstation. Games console manufacturers from this period (the mid 1970s-1990s) include Atari, Sega and Nintendo. Today this is a prevalent design trope in the culture of independent video game development, designed without the financial support of a video game publisher.

In 2013 both the Apple App Store and Google Play (the Android store) celebrated 50 billion apps downloaded each since 2008. It is in this context that the V&A is collecting its first app, closely followed by the Museum of Modern Art in New York who announced their first acquisition of a mobile phone app on 11 June 2014.

Physical description

digital file

Place of Origin

Hanoi (capital of Vietnam) (computer programming)

Date

22/01/2014 (released)

Artist/maker

Nguyen, Dong (programmer)
.GEARS Studios (games developers)

Materials and Techniques

Android software (.APK) designed to run on a mobile phone

Dimensions

Length: 129.9 mm, Width: 65.9 mm, Height: 11.6 mm

Descriptive line

Flappy Bird Android mobile game, APK digital file (Android Application Package file), Dong Nguyen, Vietnam, 2013

Labels and date

02.04.2014

Vietnamese programmer and games designer Dong Nguyen coded ‘Flappy Bird’ in a weekend. He released it on 24 May 2013 as a free-to-download mobile phone app. ‘Flappy Bird’ was slow to gain popularity, but thanks to its addictive game mechanic it soon became a viral sensation. By January 2014 it topped the Apple and Google Play charts with in-app advertising revenue estimated at $50,000 per day. Despite this success, Nguyen announced on 8 February 2014 via Twitter, ‘I am sorry “Flappy Bird” users, 22 hours from now, I will take “Flappy Bird” down. I cannot take this anymore’. This was Nguyen’s response to abusive Twitter messages from frustrated players and his own concerns that the game was proving too addictive. Following its removal, mobile phones pre-installed with the game sold for vastly inflated prices on auction websites, and hundreds of unofficial clones and tributes appeared online.

Flappy Bird’ mobile game
2013
Designed in Hanoi, Vietnam
Designed by .Gears Studios
Digital Android package file
Given by Alex Flowers
Museum no. CD.4-2014 [02/07/2014]

Materials

Plastic; Metal; Glass

Categories

Computer Art; Games; Rapid Response Collecting; Interiors; Household objects; Shekou; Values of Design; Design Society

Collection

Design, Architecture and Digital Department

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