Here come the flappy, crappy clones

flappy bird iconThe best videogames are the ones that tap into that masochistic, addiction-prone part of your brain, the one that tells you to play just once more, because this time you’ve got it figured out. They are, to borrow a line from Atari founder Nolan Bushnell, “easy to learn, hard to master”. The latest game to meet these criteria for 50 million frustrated-but-addicted players was Flappy Bird, a free iOS game where you tapped the screen to make a bird’s wings flap and give it lift as it navigated an increasingly maddeningly impassable field of Mario-esque tubes. Coded by 29-year-old Vietnamese developer Dong Nguyen over the course of a few nights after work, it got millions of downloads and was making $50,000 a day just through advertising.

Then came this tweet:

Some people suspected that he was facing legal action from Nintendo, as a lot of the visual elements of the game look a helluva lot like those from the various Mario games. Nguyen gave no explanation, other than this:

And as he promised, 22 hours later, Flappy Bird vanished from the App Store.

copying flappy bird

Never mind the eBay listings from people selling their iPhones and iPads with Flappy Bird installed for ridiculous prices — the real action, if you’re a developer, may be in the job listings for programmers who can clone the game. At the time of this writing, there are 12 results on the freelance job-seekers’ board Elance for the search term “Flappy Bird clone”. Here’s a screen capture:

elance screencapIf you’ve got the skills, the time to spare, and some negotiating savvy, you may be able to parley yourself some “walking around money”. But you’d better hurry, as the clones are already appearing on the App Store:

flappy clones

For more, check out Sarah Perez’ article in TechCrunch:  Gone But Not Forgotten: Flappy Bird Clones Fill The App Store’s Top Charts.