Flappy Bird may be dead on iOS and Android, but mobile users running one of Microsoft’s platforms can still get their Flappy fix thanks to a flock of knock-offs that have proliferated on Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8.
It’s true: masochists running Windows 8, Windows RT, and Windows Phone 8 can have their pick of any number of Flappy Bird knock-offs. While there are a number of apps that actually keep the Flappy Bird moniker – which is sure to add an interesting twist to the ongoing trademark battles over the name – users aren’t just restricted to birds, or even things that flap. The Windows 8 Store has Flappy Cat, Flappy Turd, Flipping Bird 3D, Flappy Bat Adventure, Farting Bird, and Wobbly Hawk, among scores of others. There is even Birdy Flap… see what they did there?
One popular version, Fall Out Bird, takes the members of Fall Out Boy and pastes their faces over tweaked graphics with the same gameplay. As Nokia fan site NokNok notes, it works about as well as you would think.
On the Windows Phone 8 end, there are Flappy birdies, astronauts, fires, and fins, as well as Crappy Turds and a Squishy Bird. There are also three – count ’em! Three! – Flappy Bird 2 entries, not one of which was developed by the original game’s creator, Nguyễn Hà Đông.
This sort of thing is permissible on Microsoft’s Windows and Windows Phone platforms because the software giant – which came late to the new generation of touch-driven operating systems – can’t afford to turn away apps. Its operating systems have just a fraction of the apps available on iOS and Android, so Microsoft is not as stringent in dissuading blatant copycats.
Apple and Google, on the other hand, began this week to swat down new titles with names that obviously copied the suddenly famous game. Earlier this week, both the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store began rejecting new applications with the word “Flappy” in the title. This, though, didn’t apply retroactively to the scores of apps that made it through before the ban, so users can still get their hands on Flappy Doges, Mileys, Puppies, Fish, Pigs, Troll Faces, Beards, Alpacas, and more.
Not all of the knock-offs are so blatant in their naming, though. Four of the top 10 free apps in Apple’s App Store are of the Flappy variety, but only one contains the actual word “Flappy.” As Variety noted this week, the top free app is Flying Cyrus, which swaps out the bird for Miley Cyrus’ tongue-wagging face. Because.
The rush to snap up Flappy space came after the game’s developer shocked the app world by pulling the popular title from the two major app repositories. The removal was all the more surprising in light of reports that Nguyễn Hà Đông was making $50,000 per day in advertising revenue from the game. That cash, though, came at the cost of the developer’s privacy, and he chose relative anonymity and the ability to get a good night’s sleep over continued financial success.The Flappy Bird maker, though, was pulling in the sort of money that smaller developers can only dream of, and now the world must deal with the consequences.