why is Flappy birds so popular (Psychological explanation)

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

What The!!

With poor graphics borrowed from 1995 games and a game play that has nothing but similar screens that never change Flappy birds climbed on the top of the charts and became so popular that its developer had to pull it back from App stores not to ruin people's lives through addiction (at least that's what he said)

For some people the mysterious popularity of Flappy birds is very irritating because they can't really tell why people play that game. To make the case even weirder some of those who play the game often say that they hate it yet they can't stop playing it.

So why is that awfully weird game so popular?
And cwhy an't people just stop playing it?

why is Flappy birds so popular

Almost all addictive games involve a degree of frustration. By frustrating the player while making him believe that he can do better the next time he gets hooked to the game.

But what's different about flappy birds is that it took frustration to brand new levels. During my analysis of the game i watched a little kid playing it for 5 minutes on YouTube and the first thing i noticed is that he got much more frustrated than he did when he played many other games. (see also Why is angry birds so popular)

However there is a trick here. If a player got so frustrated that the game seemed impossible for him he would quit and never play it again. In the case of Flappy birds the perfect balance between frustrating a player through the game's difficulty and making him believe that he can do better (through the simplicity of the game design) makes the game extremely addictive. (see also Why gambling is addictive)

Its that right mixture between frustration and hope that results in such an addictive behaviour.

Are the graphics really horrible?

For the first instance Flappy birds' graphics might seem like a disadvantage but when you look at them from a psychological point of view you would discover that something in the game's graphics actually helped drawing more players to it.

Apart from the simple but cute design of the bird which helps in establishing an emotional connection with the game the pipes and the background seem to have been copied from an old ,yet very popular, title Super Mario! (see also Why people like video games)

As soon as your eyes fall on the green pipes in the game you will unconsciously recall super Mario with all of its good memories. Just like candy crush puts people unconsciously in a good mood when they see candies people also feel good when they see the pipes that unconsciously remind them of great memories they had earlier.

Once again, a mystery that seem like it can never be understood can always be unmasked and explained using psychology.

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