While Flappy Bird more than enjoyed its brief but bright moment in the sun (even if its developer didn’t), it’s been taken down from all the various app stores, like iOS’ App Store and Android’s Play Store. Given its popularity surge, there are a lot of people who are just now hearing about it, and as a friend shows off this impossible game (I’m sorry, it’s impossible. If you’re good at it, you have freakish levels of patience. It’s hateful.), they race to their phone’s app store to download it.
Only to be disappointed that they can’t find it anywhere.
What they do find, however, is a number of clones that have jumped up in its absence. On iOS, there’re games like Splashy Fish – which already has a stunning 22,000 reviews – or City Bird-Flappy Flyer. The mechanic is exactly the same; only the sprites are different. In each of these games, you time the jumps of your character to make it through holes in various pipes, columns, etc.
They’re mercilessly unforgiving, but that’s one of the reasons why they’ve become so popular.
In order to prevent app stores from blowing up and just turning into listing after listing of Flappy Bird clones, both Google and Apple have banned new apps from being submitted if their titles are noticeably similar. The developers of games such as Flappy Dragon and FlapThulu: Flappy Madness, quickly found themselves unable to submit their quickly-coded titles – and they took to Twitter to express their frustration.
This is just not my fucking week: Rejected. “We found your app name attempts to leverage a popular app.” Which app? FB doesn’t exist!?!?!
Ken Carpenter (@MindJuiceMedia) February 15, 2014
Many have taken to chastising the developers for ‘leeching’ or creating ‘unoriginal’ applications, but it’s easy to understand their frustrations. While new (or in Google’s case, recently submitted) games are being blocked, many, many others are allowed to remain on the App Stores.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Google or Apple block titles from being published on their respective software platforms, but it does seem to be the most arbitrary one. While we can understand the need to protect end users from malware or spyware – or just really awful software – it hardly seems fair to block a series of games for trying to target the current genre craze.