If you own an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch and have access to an internet connection, you’ve no doubt heard of Flappy Bird (Free). I’ve been playing it on stream every day, and as I mentioned on twitter, the vast majority of my own local area tweets are even boasting about Flappy Bird scores. Like all things on the App Store though, as soon as someone identifies success, everyone with their hat inside of the mobile ring descends on said success like vultures. The past weeks have been filled with people badgering Dong Nguyen for interviews, and having spoken to other indie developers who randomly hit it big, I’ve heard first hand just how overwhelming unintended success can be.
You go from just being some dude with a video game you made to having your phone ringing off the hook from journalists, ad network sales managers, middleware providers, and everyone in between trying to ride on your coattails. The best way it’s been described to me was the running scene from Forrest Gump. If you haven’t seen it, all he wanted to do was run, and in the movie he becomes this odd source of inspiration for all these people who wanted something from him in the process.
It seems the same thing is happening to the developer of Flappy Bird and the other two surprise hits Super Ball Juggling (Free) and Shuriken Block (Free). Curiously, in a recent tweet, seen above, this success is something Nguyen never wanted. All he actually wants now is some peace. It’d be nice to respect his wishes, but in this day and age, having a #1 free app is about the highest rock star status you can get in our industry… But folks often forget there’s an actual person behind all this.
Dong Nguyen certainly isn’t the first victim of his own entirely unexpected iOS success, and I can almost promise he won’t be the last. The App Store is weird like that.