Dong Nguyen, the creator of Flappy Bird, has been shrouded in mystery ever since he took down his viral game, offering only a few tweets in the way of explanation. Until now.
Rolling Stone visited Nguyen in Vietnam, his home country, and wrote a great profile about the man behind the most frustrating game in recent history.
The piece is worth reading in its entirety, but if you’ve only got a minute and want to know more about this mysterious creator, we’ve got you covered.
Here are the most interesting gems we found out about Dong Nguyen:
- He grew up in a village called Van Phu and his father owned a hardware store while his mother worked for the government. His first gaming device was a cloned Nintendo.
- Nguyen would obsessively play Super Mario Bros. and drew his own poster of Mario that he hung in his childhood bedroom.
- He learned to code by 16.
- He interned at Hanoi’s only game company at the time when he was in college, and because of his speed, skills and desire for independence, he didn’t have to report to a supervisor.
- Nguyen says he made Flappy Bird for people on the move. He wanted people to be able to play it with “one hand holding the train strap.”
- He didn’t tell his parents about his successful game, even when he was making upwards of $US50,000 a day, because they “didn’t understand games.”
- Before he decided to have his bird face plant when a player mis-tapped, he tried having it “explode in a bloody pulp or bounce back across the ground.”
- He also tried out hundreds of different sounds before he settled on the game’s signature thwack. He wanted the bird’s deaths to be as funny as possible.
- He smokes a lot of cigarettes.
- He hated how users were becoming addicted to his game. He has even saved some of the most distressing messages that he got from players and still have them on his phone. “13 kids at my school broke their phones because of your game, and they still play it cause it’s addicting like crack,” one reads.
- These message bothered him so much because they reminded him of his own past. He had trouble with tests in high school because he was playing too much Counter-Strike (a first-person shooting game).
- He’s still generating tens of thousands of dollars from Flappy Bird. He recently quit is job and he’s thinking of buying a Mini Cooper and an apartment.
- He’s making three new games and might even bring back the original.
Check out the rest of Rolling Stone’s excellent profile here.