I created one of the most popular games of all time – it ruined my life
- Vietnamese tech guru reveals why he PULLED his game from smartphones
- The hashtag #bringbackflappy bird trended during the pandemic
A video game programmer made waves in 2014 when his simple smartphone app made headlines – even becoming the most downloaded free game in the App Store later that month.
Dong Nguyen was not even 30 when he made the app Flappy Birds – which earned him around $50,000 a day at one point.
MailOnline charts Mr Nguyen’s story from his huge success to the guilt he harboured that drained his mental health so badly he deleted the game from the App Store, as well as its Android equivalent, now known as Google Play.
To this day, its success is so iconic that Twitter users still plead the mysterious tech millionaire, who is only active on Twitter, to bring the game back to the App Store, with the hashtag #bringbackflappybird last seeing momentum as late as 2022.
Dong Nguyen was not even 30 when he made the app Flappy Birds
Flappy Birds earned Dong Nguyen around $50,000 a day at one point
Who is the mysterious creator of the super-popular app?
Mr Nguyen was raised in a little village not far from the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi, where his interest in video games was sparked by time spent in his childhood playing Super Mario Bros.
He started coding at the tender age of 16 and developed his interest further whilst doing a degree in programming.
Frustrated by the complexity of modern smartphone games, Nguyen made the immensely popular app with a strikingly simple user interface – so simple that even users as young as primary school children became addicted.
The app Flappy Bird, which let users direct a flying bird around a series of green pipes, was first released on May 24, 2013, but proved to be a sleeper hit when it was downloaded more than 50 million times just under a year later.
Although he is a tech millionaire, Mr Nguyen has always been keen to stay out of the limelight – enjoying the air of mystery he exudes by minimising media appearances – even revealing to university students in his native Vietnam that the game ruined his life.
‘For the past 17 years, I only worked with computer screens, so I don’t have anything to talk about. I thought I had to exchange some things for my success. What I have exchanged is maturity’, he warned them.
Why did Mr Nguyen pull Flappy Bird from the App Store?
Despite the fun bird game making Mr Nguyen millions, the millionaire, who is now almost 40, harbours regret – feeling responsible for a lot of people’s misery after receiving countless DMs that the addictive game stifled people’s productivity.
So when the low-key programmer decided to remove the simple game from everyone’s devices, it was the move that shocked millions – constant criticism from both fans who struggled to maintain self-control while using the addictive app, and their frustrated parents became too much for him.
The reserved programmer has even had to fend off persistent paparazzi – and the fame was far too much for a man who just wanted to maintain his peace.
Eventually, Mr Nguyen started to feel guilty – was his successful game truly the reason that some children weren’t focusing on homework, or why some were losing their jobs? These constant Twitter messages became so pervasive that he decided to remove the app, with some even telling him the bird game had ruined their life.
Shortly after, #bringbackflappybird was trending – even trending again during the Coronavirus lockdown.
Mr Nguyen is still making games to this day, now referring to himself as a ‘passionate indie game maker’, in an effort to distance himself from his past fame.
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