Platform: Android, iOS
The latest avian-themed gaming craze to hit mobile devices is the wonderfully maddening Flappy Bird. Like all the best mobile games, Flappy Bird is incredibly addictive, capturing that just-one-more-go mentality. Unlike other games, however, Flappy Bird is devoid of actual fun and is sadistic in the way it deceives you with its mockingly simple 8-bit setup. It’s digital heroin, only existing to raise your blood pressure as your hopes of succeeding are inevitably crushed when the titular bird dies pathetically, again and again.
I can understand the rise of mobile arcade games with pixellated graphics and retro sounds that are only really there to waste your time. But Flappy Bird is just evil. You have to navigate a vacuous-looking bird between tunnels (blatantly ripped out of a Mario game) by tapping the screen to flap the bird’s wings, and your score increases by one for every pair of tunnels you pass. But the game is so incredibly difficult that on your first few goes you’ll be lucky enough to even get a score of one.
It’s a pretty unoriginal concept made worse by the fact that the game occasionally glitches, and the stupid bird dies for no reason. (I wouldn’t put it past the creators to code in the odd invisible wall just for the laughs.) And because of the brightly-coloured, childish visuals, you’ll feel like an idiot every time the Game Over screen pops up.
So why is Flappy Bird so insanely popular? The game only works because on the very odd occasion, the player will achieve a high score, then spend the next few hours trying to beat that high score and fail miserably, perhaps throwing their phone against a wall in the process. Most arcade games function to a similar effect, but the difference is Flappy Bird is infuriating. You’ll want to wring that idiotic bird’s neck within minutes of playing, then your own soon afterwards. No matter how much you play this game, you will never “win”, and the small snippets of achievement as you break your high score will only be followed by sheer pain and infinite sadness.