Oh, Flappy Bird. Your life was cut far too short. As much as I hated Flappy Bird due to it’s frustratingly difficult, yet surprisingly simplistic and challenging gameplay, I did enjoy it. I could download the game and play while waiting or during a study break. Flappy Bird helped break up the monotony that plagues the mobile gaming market.
To be honest, Flappy Bird was the first mobile game I have played in, what feels like, two years. The reason behind that is because I do not like mobile/iOS/Google Play games because they are, to be blunt, garbage, identical and repetitive. My first foray into the mobile game market, showcased in Clash of Clans and a few others, opened me up to a devilish thing called “In-App Purchases”. Sure, they sound good at first: if I need to get a power-up, I can spend a few dollars and get it instantly. If I need something to unlock another part of the game, $2 more. Need more gems to speed up the building a new research facility? $2 more. It was always “just spend a few more dollars.” The problem was, these purchases stack up. Before people know it, they’ve spent $50+ on a game that was free.
After realizing this corrupt scheme, I swore off mobile games if this was how they were going to function.
Recently, I decided to try and get back into mobile games. Maybe there were more games out there like Flappy Bird, that did not require in-app purchases and would let just play. After a day of trying other games, I realized the state of the mobile gaming market had grown worse. I downloaded four games that were, ironically, the same exact thing: build an army. Gain resources to build more buildings. Use gems to rush the completion of said buildings. Build resource mines to strengthen myself. By this time, I’ve run out of gems and am now forced to wait. And wait. And wait. Sometimes, I would have to wait 8+ hours for a building to finish or a minion to dig a block out (I’m looking at you, Dungeon Keeper, you evil toad). Sure, I could speed all of this along if I buy more gems. Until then, I’m either going to progress slowly or not at all. Suffice it to say, those apps no longer reside on my iPad.
Oh and do not get me started on Marvel Puzzle Quest! They took what I love about Puzzle Quest, one of my all time favorite games, combined it with the Marvel comics universe! Sounds like a splendid game! Clearly, their definition of splendid includes making me wait 2+ hours for a character to heal themselves after they get knocked out during a fight. Sure, I can use a health pack to revive them but how do I get more if I need them? Oh, right. In-app purchase.
Whatever happened to letting the player have full access to the game at the beginning? Whatever happened to allowing me to progress through challenges and completing missions, throwing me an unlocked item now and then? Why do I have to build things and wait 2+ hours for them to finish?! Why am I waiting for a character to revive, thus keeping me from retrying the challenge/mission?! Why am I doing LITERALLY THE SAME THING in every single game and waiting HOURS to progress?!
I now find myself at the same point I was at two years ago: frustrated, disappointed and fearful for the future of how these kinds of practices will influence console games. I had such high hopes for the possibilities of the mobile game market! I cried out “You were the chosen one, mobile/iOS game market”! You were to usher in a fantastic realm of games that would rival the Nintendo 3DS and PS Vita. Unfortunately, what we have are games that are identical, desire to find ways to make you spend more money and leave you with nothing in the end but an empty wallet and an island full of Pokemon-ripoff animals.
Flappy Bird, I miss you. There wasn’t much to you but you were simple enough that I could play for a few minutes. Sure, I did get frustrated with you. You made me want to do homework after the 20th attempt. I want to take back my hateful comments about you. Baby, come back?
If you have a story about your experience with mobile/iOS games, a recommendation to redeem the platform, or anything else, let me know in the comments below!
(I’m off to buy an iPhone for $1,000 that still has Flappy Bird on it.)