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Flappy Birds' popularity on iOS leaves 'experts' baffled

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A new retro arcade-style side-scroller has become the rage on iOS. A bare-bones offering, Flappy Bird has got many wondering what all the hype is about, as it finished January the top free app on the App Store in the US, having spent most of the month amongst the top charts.

Flappy Bird's premise is simple, the player has to navigate the bird through a series of gaps between vertical pipe-shaped obstacles (that appear to be a direct lift from Super Mario in terms of art-work), rising up and down by tapping the screen to flap the bird's wings.

The game's popularity is said to be linked to its difficulty, with players challenged to set a high-score on a global leaderboard. There are no lives, or in-app purchases in Flappy Bird, and players get a single point for each pair of pipes they fly through, and medals after every ten points all the way up to platinum.

Flappy Bird guides are blossoming around the Web and app stores to help frustrated players, who complain of not being able to stop playing, continually wanting to set a new high-score. The developer, Dong Nguyen, along with the numerous guides, is advising players to take regular breaks. 

Advice being passed around for success in Flappy Birds includes rising into the gaps rather than falling, setting a rhythm, using a bigger display than the iPhone's (an iPad would do nicely), and removing any screen protection to ensure sensitivity.

Most notably, the Android version of Flappy Birds, which was released on January 30 on the Google Play store, is not doing so well - it is way down on the free game list, forget the free app list. Interestingly, the developer says the game is easier on Android than on iOS. The game was introduced in May 2013 on the iTunes App Store, and only topped the free category in January 2014, which it closed as the most downloaded app.
 
Many question the game's success, with players (and other developers, of course) pointing out the jerky animation, bad graphics, poorly placed banner ads, and buggy edge-detection. A lot of people are also waiting surprised Nintendo has not gone ahead to sue the Flappy Bird developer, for using what according to them is Super Mario intellectual property. 

Have you played Flappy Birds on either Android or iOS? Are you addicted to it, or do you not really see what all the fuss is about? Let us know in the comments section below.

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