"Flappy Bird is not amateurish nor sociopathic. Instead, it is something more unusual. It is earnest. It is exactly what it is, and it is unapologetic. Not even unapologetic—stoic, aloof. Impervious. Like a meteorite that crashed through a desert motel lobby, hot and small and unaware."- Ian Bogost shares his thoughts on the surprisingly popular mobile time-waster Flappy Bird in a recent essay published by The Atlantic. Flappy Bird seems to be what we're playing this week, in spite of -- or perhaps because of -- the fact that it's a simple, maddeningly difficult one-button mobile game with no clear purpose, goal, or sympathy for the player. Perhaps that indifference is what makes it so appealing -- Ian Bogost seems to think so, and explains his reasoning in an excellent essay that popped up yesterday under The Atlantic's masthead. "In fetishizing simplicity, we also mistake the elegance of design for beauty. [...] To understand Flappy Bird, we must accept the premise that games are squalid, rusty machinery we operate in spite of themselves," opines Bogost. "What we appreciate about Flappy Bird is not the details of its design, but the fact that it embodies them with such unflappable nonchalance. The best games cease to be for us (or for anyone) and instead strive to be what they are as much as possible. From this indifference emanates a strange squalor that we can appreciate as beauty." You can -- and should -- read his full essay on The Atlantic's website.
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'Flappy Bird is a game that accepts that it is stupid to be a game'
Designer, educator and critic Ian Bogost shares his thoughts on why Flappy Bird is such an oddly alluring game in a recent essay published by The Atlantic.