The world’s fascination with the now-defunct smartphone game Flappy Bird has given rise to a plethora of clones, whose numbers have only seemed to accelerate since the game’s creator pulled the original from app stores. These games are largely horrible, of course. With two exceptions:
1. Flappy Bert
In this Web browser version of the game, a blue bird that might be the Twitter logo carries an iconic character of American childhood through the air. Failure results in a mournful cry for Ernie. Flappy Bert has a few things going for it. First, it’s made by Sesame Street, so you have to cheer for it. Second, the word “Bert” sounds a lot like the word “bird.” Also, because children shouldn’t be exposed to the cruel difficulty of the original game, Flappy Bert is relatively easy. I got through 15 pipes on my third try, something that took me almost a full week on Flappy Bird. Self-esteem increased!
This is basically Flappy Bird on a Web browser, except your bird flies in a ghostlike flock of birds controlled by people playing on their own computers. It’s a pleasing visual reminder of the classic game Lemmings, another time-suck where a large group of mindless animals march to certain doom. FlapMMO also serves as a real-time scoreboard of the game’s enduring cultural cachet. Presumably the flock will get smaller as people stop playing and move on to the next meme. When your bird is the last one still navigating the pipes, you’ve won! Kind of.