I was flying from New York to California, and had about 6.5 hours to kill. A movie, a cocktail, and various attempts at reading later, I finally gave in and bought 3 hours worth of Internet for $US16. Quite a bargain.
The first thing I did was hop on Twitter (of course), where my feed was blowing up about how hard the game Flappy Bird is.
How could a game called “Flappy Bird” make everyone so crazy? It doesn’t sound hard. It doesn’t sound intense.
I soon found out that I was wrong on both counts.
I downloaded the game and got to work. “Game Over” popped up on my screen not 5 seconds after I started. Not once. Not twice. Twelve times. On my 13th attempt, I got 1 point, before quietly smashing into one of the green tubes that stand in between the bird and that measly point.
I hit a high score of 2 points some 3 minutes later, before I quickly closed the app and went back to doing something — anything — else. 20 minutes and only 2 points? No thank you. I need something that isn’t going to give me an aneurysm.
But it’s actually an awful game. And here’s why: There’s no skill required to play this game. It’s all a matter of chance, like the ring toss at the carnival, and after a while, you have to walk away. You’re not just going to throw rings at a milk bottle forever.
When the going gets tough, we keep going. When the going gets really tough and you bought the game for free and there’s a ton of stuff to watch on TV and the dog needs to be taken for a walk, we put down Flappy Birds and we find something else to do.
I quit Candy Crush because the levels got too hard, and I started spending money. Luckily Flappy Birds has no in-app game purchasing, but even if it did, I think I’d have put it down long before that.
Sorry, Flappy Birds. I wanted to get into you, but you’re just too hard. And when something is that hard, it stops being fun.
Temple Run is hard. Dots is hard. Flappy Birds is like punishment. And nobody wants to be punished, even if the price of admission is free.