If you haven’t yet heard of the  Flappy Bird app, let us be the first to welcome you to this 8-bit circle of hell. In the best possible way. Flappy Bird and the pipe obstacles he has to dodge are driving everyone to distraction: our little kids, our big kids, our teenagers, and us too.

Seriously. I crashed and burned a dozen times before I scored my first (and only) point. And yet, I kept going back for more.

Why is Flappy Bird is so compelling? Good question. It looks much easier than it really is. So you think to yourself, I can totally do that! Until you try and fail, over and over. But when you finally clear the first set of pipes, that triumph is enough to spur you on: If I can clear one, I can clear two! It’s a personal challenge, issued by a goofy-looking bird, and it’s downright infuriating.

And oh, the competition is fierce. My husband texted “11” to me, and I was baffled. “Huh?” I replied.

“New high score on Flappy Bird, boo yah!”

Right now there’s over 350,000 ratings for Flappy Bird in iTunes — that’s ratings, not downloads. The reviews are hilarious too: The joy you feel after finally beating your record is indescribable and the boiling anger you feel inside of you instantly diffuses only to fill you with false hope that you may be able to do it again and possibly even do it better.

Is Flappy Bird a long-term contender or just a flap in the pan? (Ha.) We’re leaning toward the latter. Indie developer Dong Nguyen was truly surprised by Flappy Bird’s viral success, and it doesn’t sound like he’s interested in pursuing anything big. So don’t expect plush versions of Flappy Bird to start popping up.

Just be sure to put a good protective case on your phone or tablet before downloading this addictive game. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Download Flappy Bird for free on iTunes or Google Play


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