Google recently released its annual “Year in Search” results, and the viral app “Flappy Bird” was the most popular game of the year.
That means a game that was created in less than three days was searched for more times than “Destiny,” the most expensive video game of all time.
So why was “Flappy Bird” so popular?
Part of the charm of “Flappy Bird” was its retro graphics, simple controls, and sheer difficulty.
Even though the game could be played with only one hand, keeping the tiny bird from bumping into the Mario-esque pipes proved exceptionally difficult, and many people became obsessed with beating their high score and sharing the results on social media sites like Twitter.
Created by Vietnam-based developer Dong Nguyen, “Flappy Bird”‘s popularity exploded in February when Nguyen announced he was removing “Flappy Bird” from app stores due to concerns over his own privacy and the addictive nature of the game.
Nguyen made the announcement on Twitter, writing “I’m sorry ‘Flappy Bird’ users, 22 hours from now, I will take ‘Flappy Bird’ down. I cannot take this anymore.”
At this point, “Flappy Bird” was reportedly bringing in $US50,000 a day through the game’s banner ads.
I am sorry ‘Flappy Bird’ users, 22 hours from now, I will take ‘Flappy Bird’ down. I cannot take this anymore.
— Dong Nguyen (@dongatory) February 8, 2014
Since the game was still playable for all who downloaded the game before it was pulled off the store, downloads of “Flappy Bird” surged during the 22-hour window.
Nguyen removed the game as planned, spawning hordes of “Flappy Bird” clones to be released in the App Store in the subsequent weeks and months that followed. “Flappy Bird” hasn’t returned since, though Nguyen eventually made the game available months later exclusively for Amazon’s Fire TV.
Nguyen has gone on to design and release a sequel to “Flappy Bird” called “Swing Copters,” but no one knows if the world’s most viral game will ever return.