Nguyen is a quiet 28 year old who lived with his parents in Hanoi, Vietnam. He had a day job programming location devices for taxis and built Flappy Bird one holiday weekend. The game was released on May 24th but like most games, never took off. Eight months later, it suddenly went viral and reportedly earned him an estimated $50,000 a day.
On February 9th, Nguyen tweeted, "I am sorry 'Flappy Bird' users," it read. "22 hours from now, I will take 'Flappy Bird' down. I cannot take this anymore." As promised, the game was removed hours later. Almost immediately, game developers rushed to fill the void with similar games such as Flappy Flyer, Flappy Wings, and others flooding the App Store.
Rolling Stone offers some insight on why Nguyen removed the game. His game had launched him into the public eye and paparazzi soon besieged his parents' house. He couldn't leave the house without been spotted. "It is something I never want," he tweeted. "Please give me peace."
But the hardest thing of all, he says, was something else entirely. He hands me his iPhone so that I can scroll through some messages he's saved. One is from a woman chastising him for "distracting the children of the world." Another laments that "13 kids at my school broke their phones because of your game, and they still play it cause it's addicting like crack." Nguyen tells me of e-mails from workers who had lost their jobs, a mother who had stopped talking to her kids. "At first I thought they were just joking," he says, "but I realize they really hurt themselves." Nguyen – who says he botched tests in high school because he was playing too much Counter-Strike – genuinely took them to heart.
Eventually Nguyen said he couldn't sleep, couldn't focus, and didn't want to go outdoors. His parents were worried about his well-being. He tweets, "I can call 'Flappy Bird' is a success of mine, but it also ruins my simple life. So now I hate it."
When asked why he removed the game he says, "I'm master of my own fate, independent thinker."
Notably, there is a chance that Flappy Bird could return.
As for the future of his flapper, he's still turning down offers to purchase the game. Nguyen refuses to compromise his independence. But will Flappy Bird ever fly again? "I'm considering it," Nguyen says. He's not working on a new version, but if he ever releases one it will come with a "warning," he says: "Please take a break."
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