Over the last few weeks, there has been a lot of attention paid to a mobile game going by the name Flappy Bird. This game, with its simple concept of flying a bird through a series of pipes, sprung from nowhere to the top of the iOS free game charts. It is addictive, fun and brutally difficult.
Rather than celebrate the success of the game and its creator, the larger populous vilified him and his game. They sought to find any all fault with the game and the creator and use those faults to tear down his success. This all culminated in the developer, Dong Nguyen, pulling the game. All throughout this affair, Dong would get a lot of abuse from both players and haters alike. People threatened his life, demeaned him and were overly aggressive toward him.
In response to all this abuse, James Simpson of Goldfire Studios has written a post in solidarity with Dong. Titled “Flappy Bird Reveals The Truth In Gaming“, James shares some of his own experiences with people who send him abusive emails.
In our own experience as a small indie studio (with nowhere near the reach that Flappy Bird achieved), we see all sorts of nastiness directed our way on nearly a daily basis. The sad thing is that developers are often told to just “ignore it.” This works to an extent, but developers are human too, and it is hard not to read these things. You wake up in the morning, energized and ready to work on your dream game, and by lunchtime you begin to question if the long hours are really worth it. We know how you feel, Dong, you aren’t alone in the fight.
It really is a shame that people have devolved to such behavior online, and often offline as well. While it is fair to receive harsh criticism at times, it is not fair to let those criticisms escalate to the point where the recipient fears for their life or is pushed into a state of depression.
Why is it so hard for people to celebrate the success of others? Is it simple jealousy that they have achieved a success we can only dream of? Or is it more deeply seeded than that?
We express our condolences to James and Dong for the trouble they experienced releasing video games to the public. We also express congratulations for their many successes. It is not easy to make games and publish them. It is even hard to find the right formula for success.
As for those who resort to the type of behavior expressed toward Dong and James, we ask you to seriously reconsider your actions. Put yourself into their shoes and ponder whether you would feel comfortable being on the receiving end of your own actions.
Until then, we hope that the positive people will begin to shine brighter throughout the games industry, the games media, and the gamers. This is a wonderful pastime and it would be a shame to ruin it.