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February 2014 Retro Gaming Article


February 21, 2014 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

From Sesame Street to Billy Ray's kid, Flappy Bird routed static memes to game development

Once that genuinely funny meme hits the social networks, the pixel butchers fire up their hacked versions of PhotoShop to combine horrible typography with atrocious grammar. The end result brings a smile only as far as one ponders the motivation behind replacing hilarity with a faint chuckle. Anger then sets in when the dumbing-down begins reaching for praise as original work.

I've spit liquids, choked on food and forwarded links containing some of the funniest memes the web has offered. Similarly I've rolled my eyes at the ensuing detritus that attempts to ride the coattails of real ingenuity.

memes I installed Flappy Bird upon hearing of it's sudden popularity. I didn't want to miss out on a game that was equally loved for simplicity and hated for difficulty. As I tapped my phone's screen I understood the players' obsession and my desire to throw my phone at the wall.

A Silver Flappy Lining

Then in an odd series of events, Flappy Bird was gone. Just as it was enjoying a meteoritic rise in popularity - GONE! People freaked out and writers took to the web with a variety of angles. Then an interesting thing happened. more games were created!

Sesame Street's Flappy Bert game Sure, some folks tried to sell their iPhones on eBay. with Flappy Bird installed, but I saw a large positive in the midst. Whether you like Flappy Bird or not, you can't deny the flood of games that were created in it's likeness. Some speculated that Flappy Bird was taken down in anticipation of legal action due to copyright infringement. If true, certainly some of the ensuing "Flappy" games are guilty too, but the whole saga didn't dive to the lowest common denominator!

I was certain the PhotoShop hoards would churn out endless FLappy memes with varying degrees of whit - most lacking intelligible meaning. I haven't seen much of that. What I have seen is a slew of 'flappy" games. Instead of the usual disposable humor, we were treated to a variety of interesting Flappy Bird options. I think this emergence of new games is epically better than "flappy" jpeg memes.

I've seen all sorts of winged sprites replacing the original bird to create a humorous take on the original. A favorite is Flappy Bert from Sesame Street. With the added sound of each crash, it's a fun variation on the original. And it's hard not to love Floppo Bird for the Atari 2600. It's an authentic 4K game that runs like a champ via Stella! Versions have also appeared for the ZX SPectrum and Vectrex!

But developers aren't afraid to go out of their way to take the brief beloved bird to more crass levels. flappy bird Miley Cyrus Enter Flying Cyrus. Based on Miley's recent shock value through a series of stunts and her Wrecking Ball video, her shaved head has been added to this Flappy Bird clone. Where are the wings? No wings... it's her wagging tongue.

I've heard a lot of developers grumbling about Flappy Bird and the ensuing clones and rip-off apps, but I think a larger point is being missed. Rather than the idiocy that usually rises in the aftermath, people rallied around this odd situation and created clone-like tribute apps to Flappy Bird. Love them or hate them, game development has a level of creativity way beyond the typical memes loitering all over Facebook.

Perhaps my view is skewed by not being a game dev myself. I can see how a developer would be irked by all these copycat apps that may not be seen as creativity in the eyes of those who code games in a professional capacity. However, I think it's a more creative outlet than the usual garbage. Next time you see a meme full of awful fonts and grammar... wouldn't you prefer a funny game?

flappy bird Miley Cyrus in Flying Cyrus Wrecking Miley comes to Android and iOS via Flying Cyrus

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