News Article

As The Maker Of Flappy Bird Withdraws His Creation, Nintendo Denies Any Legal Complaint

Posted by Damien McFerran

Japanese firm has no issue with the game's visuals

Unless you've been living down an especially deep well for the past week or so, you'll have heard of the name Flappy Bird. The smartphone title has attracted an astonishing amount of interest both from within and outside the games industry, and its creator Dong Nguyen apparently made $50,000 USD a day thanks to the free title's in-game adverts.

Nguyen has now removed the game from both the Apple App Store and Google Play market, citing issues with his new-found fame and the level of publicity — both good and bad — his title has attracted.

Those annoyed by Flappy Bird's withdrawal may be inclined to blame Nintendo, as there were rumours that the Japanese firm was preparing some kind of legal action due to the similarity of the green pipes featured in the game to those in the Super Mario Bros. series of games.

However, Nintendo spokesman Yasuhiro Minagawa has moved to discount such claims, telling the Wall Street Journal:

While we usually do not comment on the rumors and speculations, we have already denied the speculation.

So there you have it; whatever Nguyen's reasons are for taking the game down — and there could be many — Nintendo's annoyance isn't one of them.

From the web

User Comments (124)



Socar said:

......really Nintendo? you can get back to him and make him suffer......

But that won't be like you at all now won't it Nintendo?



ledreppe said:

I must've "been living down an especially deep well for the past week or so" 'cause I've never heard of this 'till now. I really don't like developer's trying to be successful by copying elements from Nintendo games, and other non-Nintendo games too. Glad it's been taken down.



SheldonRandoms said:

The only reason I downloaded this app was because I heard it was going bye bye (Thanks AlphaOmegaSin for the heads up)

Also, Flappy Bird was taking the spotlight away from the Angry Birds, which means birds are starting to take over the world somehow.



RetroRider said:

Did anyone else like the simple and cheap game mechanics enough to get over a hundred in flappy bird? I know I did! xD



Yoshi said:

And now, "Fly Birdie - Flappy Bird Flyer" is the #1 free app on the Apple App Store. Good riddance.



AdanVC said:

Woah, the creator of Flappy Bird should be proud that even Nintendo already knows about his creation, but that's probably just because of the Super Mario tubes rip-off controversy tough, not because the game is good or something.

Edit: You know what I think? I think most of this mobile games about birds (especially Angry Birds) are based on Nintendo characters... The best example? Pyoro from the Wario Ware games. Angry birds is the best example. The main Angry Bird character is exactly like Pyoro, even it has the exact same body colors, and the actual gameplay of Angry Birds could have been based on Pyoro T, a mini-game on Wario Ware: Touched for Nintendo DS released in 2005. There, you have to touch Pyoro and drag it on the touch screen and release it so Pyoro can eat all enemies with it's tongue... Just like Angry Birds where you have to touch and drag to release them to destroy enemies...



SheldonRandoms said:

@Mask0Gear @WingedSnagret was planning this the entire time.........maybe, but that's a job for those meddling kids and their talking dog to solve, cause i'm lazy.

One of these days, when I make a game, i'll make it staring a bird, put it on the app store and i'll see what happens.



idork99 said:

I saw my nephews playing this game constantly on their iPad that it drew my attention and made me want to have a try. My thoughts: there's only one control command in the game that makes it an easy game to get into. But the control is horrible at best which makes for constant failure in the game. Since it looks easy but hard to control, one cannot help but try and try again.

I think that Nintendo goes after companies and individuals that use similar character and control schemes; not background settings.



Morpheel said:

@bezerker99 it's a really popular (and supposedly super hard) free minigame where you tap the screen to make the bird flap up to pass through a bunch of pipes.



mystman12 said:

@ledreppe Actually, the guy who made didn't want the game to become popular. He actually took the game down because he was annoyed and he knew the game did not deserve such popularity. Anyways, if the $50,000 a day is true, this guy is probably set for life!



pixelman said:

@shigulicious He'll keep making $50,000 a day as long as people keep playing it. Removing a game from the app store doesn't stop people who've already downloaded it from using it, and the ads will also still work (which is where he's getting all of that revenue).

I never downloaded the game because it looked pretty damn terrible, but after reading the horrible, horrible things people have been sending him I feel kind of bad for the guy.



SmaMan said:

Huh, I thought about the pipes looking too much like warp pipes. Hell the whole game looks like a really boring Super Mario World level.

But upon closer inspection, anyone else think that bird looks like an Opa-Opa from Fantasy Zone?



Swiket said:

Considering that this dude will forever be associated with a crappy Helicopter clone he made a year ago and never marketed, and he received death threats and suicide messages after he took it down, I definitely feel bad for him.



XCWarrior said:

How this game took off so fast is why there should be some level of worry with the video game market.

This game took 2 days to make - the developer said so. All you do is tap the screen at different paces to get through pipes at different heights.

That's it. So basic. So stupid.... yet so popular for the casual fan. No microtransactions or money to be made. you can't charge for it b/c there are already 100 clones on the app store.

How are video game developers supposed to make money on mobile when crap like this is popular? That's right, you can't. Glad Indies are starting to work for the WiiU eshop, where they can actually make money off the games they spend time making and if they make a quality game, it will be appreciated.



unrandomsam said:

There is a game called 14px which puts both the eshop indies and even Nintendo to shame when it comes to level design.



unrandomsam said:

@XCWarrior The original hexagon flash game (That Super Hexagon was based on) took hardly any time at all to make but its mechanics are perfect.



BinaryFragger said:

Wow, what a great game, repeatingly tapping the screen sure is a lot of fun. Much better than anything offered on the 3DS and Vita.
People are always mentioning the amazing graphics capabilities of phones/tablets (the new Tegra K1 is supposedly more powerful than the PS3 and Xbox 360) but what's the point if the gameplay is so shallow? TAP TAP TAP wow the graphics sure are great TAP TAP TAP...



Gioku said:

...such a bizarre thing...
I have no comment on the whole Flappy Bird thing.



alLabouTandroiD said:

I've only heard about that on the radio today. People just get too worked up over things.
It's not your property that got used here, so make fun of it all you want but you've got no business with the man who made this.



BinaryFragger said:


Unfortunately, it's a race to the bottom. Seems that people care more about the price instead of actual quality.
"The game sucks but it was free!"



Incognito_D said:

Knowing how out of touch Nintendo are about mobile gaming, I wouldn't be surprised if this was the first time they'd heard of Flappy Bird! :S



babyguess said:

Bundle Flappy Bird on Wii U and it will fly off the shelves. Or at least it will have the same faith. Pun intended of course.



Barbiegurl777 said:

Don't have a smartphone so never heard of this title... Sorry... Weird... FlappyBird? lol one heck of name even for a game lol.

Happy Gaming! (^_^)



jdarrell said:


I wish the graphics didn't look like an unoriginal clone to me (why use pipes in a 2D game that has a flat dirt ground with a strip of green across the top, a light sky background with bushes, and a coin sounding effect). If you're using green pipes, it's because you remember them from the Nintendo series.

Edit: It's interesting though that games with "bird" at the end of the title have become popular.



Squiggle55 said:

The only thing that makes me madder than a game like that earning 50k a day is someone turning down an honest 50k a day. Like many people have already said, give the proceeds of the game to charity. Utterly foolish.

Of course he could be a genius doing this as a publicity stunt. Then I'll just go back to being confused how something like that is more popular with kids than Mario.



Agent721 said:

This episode shows how dumb Nintendo is toward cell phone games. This guy rakes in $50k per day, the game hits #1 in 15 different countries, but Nintendo doesn't see a Market in cell phone games? Wether they like it or not, their graphics/ips are already being ripped off, so the argument that it would negatively affect sales is already happening ( although I call BS on that logic...GTA San Andreas is out on the ipad & not taking away sales from GTAV) and instead of having Joe blow make that money, Nintendo could. I love Nintendo's games...but they business decisions are getting truly laughable. They are letting morons decide how their rich legacy is viewed across iOS & Android, and it's becoming a joke. WAKE UP NINTENDO!!!



Wii_Win said:

Half of these comments are utterly foolish. They're saying "w0w he turned down 50k a day such idiot dat guy is st00pid."

Honestly, go make 50k a day off of your game that goes viral and then come talk to me. Can none of you see the issues? Not everybody wants to be a celebrity. That guy made plenty of cash off his game for the near future and doesn't want a bunch of random people asking for his autograph. I don't love the game personally but if he made cash off of it, good for him. None of you have the right to call him an idiot for turning down the 50,000. What's the point of having that kind of money if you can't get out of your house to spend it without being mobbed?

Before talking about people like that, everyone who's made comments about the topic should put themselves in his shoes and think about why he stopped the cash. Can nobody understand why he made his decision? Some people would take it, some wouldn't. No reason to talk about him like that if he makes the latter choice.



Agent721 said:

The guy is a marketing genius. The name sounds like Angry Birds, the graphics remind you of the NES era & it has a strange sort of terrible yet slightly addicting game play. What makes me mad is the use of graphics everyone associates with Nintendo. Nintendo could make a game ten times better in their sleep & be the ones controlling their historic legacy, as opposed to the thousands of programmers like this guy use their legacy to enrich themselves via terrible games. I hope this serves as a wake up call to them. Their legacy is being used wether they like it or not. Staying away just lets others guide where that legacy goes & directly affects intangible assets such as goodwill on your balance sheet. I'm highly disappointed they let this happen, with no games of their own on theses systems.



Bass_X0 said:

Don't have a smartphone so never heard of this title...

I don't have a smartphone either, but its been reported in the newspapers and on the radio here recently. And people have been posting their scores on Facebook.



Robin_Aisaga said:

I hated this game the first time I played it... And not only because I was really really bad :/



Undead_terror said:

Like who cares, first came helicopter, then piro piro (forgot what the name was) and then this, the game took pipes from Mario and remade the bird from piro piro, it was a bad game that stole stuff so why don't people play a real and fun game like Mario!



Squiggle55 said:

@Wii_Win With all due respect you are the one who needs to stop and think about it a little more. It is certainly his decision to stop a revenue stream of 50k a day in its tracks. But it was a selfish decision, simple as that. Imagine the positivity that would have come from donating the ownership of the game to a charity.



K-Gamer said:

The tubes is a stupid thing that can easily be replaced with a brick wall, and it wouldn't matter anymore.



Wii_Win said:

@Squiggle55 - At the same time, that would give the charity the burden as well. I'm not even sure if that can be done through the App Store - If he kept it up and gave all the cash to charity he'd still be a celebrity and that's the problem he's trying to fix.



PikminWorld said:

While I didn't really like Flappy Bird, I think you guys are being harsh on him. If you think about it, he's a genius. He made a game that was simple and challenging and people loved it and it made him rich. You have to remember too, he made it by himself, he doesn't have a ton of money like other mobile game developers to make games like Clash of Clans and Angry Birds. It's a shame that he grew to hate his own creation and fell to the pressure of his haters, at least it means he wasn't egotistical in his own game. At least now with all the money he made, you can expect a game from him 100x better than Flappy Bird. Also saying he created a rip off of Mario over the use of the pipes is a bit over the top isn't it? Even, if Nintendo had gone a long with it they would've gotten so much hate from fans of Flappy Bird that it wouldn't help Nintendo's cause especially when they're trying to make up for the lost ground with the Wii U.



Funny_Moblin said:

Is it just me, or doesn't Flappy Bird (at least when he appears orange) look almost identical to a Cheep-Cheep?



Linkuini said:

He might as well have kept it up. With all the clones up now, the damage is already done.

Each game is the same: some endless, pointless, overly demanding exercise in frustration. All the reviews are the same: dramatic accounts of being psychologically enslaved by a painful, repetitive game so ridiculously addictive it defies human comprehension. Many have insisted that their ability to hook players in for hours in spite of their incredibly poor quality could only have been a gift from the devil himself.

Mr.Nguyen, you've created mobile gaming's next inexplicable phenomenon. I admire and pity you in equally generous measure.



DarkKirby said:

Take online flash game that's existed online in multiple forms for free forever.

Make same game starring birds/a bird as a smartphone/tablet game.

Become rich.

Glob damn it casual market, you are so stupid, and you eating up this garbage is hurting the hardcore gaming market.



ledreppe said:


Well that's the first time I've heard of someone not wanting a game they've created to become popular. Perhaps he should be more careful in his future endeavours!



ledreppe said:


Well that's the first time I've heard of someone not wanting a game they've created to become popular. Perhaps he should be more careful in his future endeavours!



NintendoROCKET said:

@ledreppe it has NOTHING to do w/Nintendo games other than the Mario pipes that were used as graphics.
@Nintendude789 he didn't mean for it to get popular at all. He made it back in MAY LAST YEAR & just 2 weeks ago, Pewdiepie discovered & made a video about it & everyone who watched him downloaded it, flinging it to the top of the charts, where even more people saw & downloaded it.
@artwark Finally, even though he was getting rich, he never wanted it to get popular & got so much hate from jerks like you, he deleted it.
Now, there's even worse rip-offs that are almost as popular.
I swear, almost everyone I look at is becoming a jerk lately & especially on this website!



ledreppe said:

@Agent721 They know there's a market, they just don't want to go down the developing on other platform's route. Ninety make hardware the way they do because it compliments their games. Games like Mario wouldn't work on smart devices, Ninty claim their games need their hardware.



NintendoROCKET said:

@jdarrell sorry, but Flappy Bird doesn't look anything like an actual Mario level. It's just the pipes which shows that you probably haven't even played it.
@squiggle55 so I guess you're mad that there's still some good people in this world that would give up money!
@Wii_Win Finally another nice person in the comments!!
Also, this is more proof Nintendo needs to start making games on iPhones ASAP!!



coolvw93 said:

I never played flappy bird, found it would be a waste of my time, i like games with a little more substance.



Squiggle55 said:

@NintendoROCKET Did you even read my comment? I don't care if he wants the money. And what does giving up money have to do with being good? If you had 50K in cash on you, and you decided you didn't want it, does burning it make you a good person? Absolutely not. I think I can make a very strong argument that it makes you the exact opposite. It is extremely egocentric to do so regardless of your reasons, because the money can be put to very good use in the right hands and make a difference in the world. It's his right to do with his money as he will, but this action was self-centered, and I can't see a valid argument to the contrary.



jdarrell said:

@nintendorocket FlappyBird has visuals that are almost exactly like the random screenshot I posted, just change the blue hills to mini-skyscrapers, make the sky lighter blue, and then modify the clouds. I couldn't make something more similar to SMW if I tried.



Weedy said:

This is the first I've heard of this game which means I must be living in a very deep well, i.e. Summerset!!! ;-(
But surely Nintendolife has also been down this deep well since this is the first mention of this game on their website?!



Aaronzord said:

It's a fun game. Great for when you've got a spare minute or two (waiting for a bus, standing in a queue, whatever). My friends are never going to play Fire Emblem or Gravity Rush, but I can compare my Flappy Bird score with them, so it's cool.

I'm not sure why people have so much venom and negativity towards it. It's harmless and it makes people happy. Deal with it.



Squiggle55 said:

@Unca_Lz I disagree. If I saw someone burning money I would strongly pressure them into walking over and handing it to a local charity instead.



MAN1AC said:

I tried it yesterday and enjoyed it. Its too bad the guy couldn't handle the attention.



t1redmonkey said:

It's actually a pretty fun '5 minute timewaster' sort of a game. Me and a few colleagues have been having a quick competition on our breaks recently to see who can get the highest score. It's not a game you can spend hours on, but then that's not what it's meant to be!



Squiggle55 said:

But honestly, a bit off topic: If nothing else the success of a very simple game like this shows where the market is right now and where money is to be made with very little effort. When kids are talking about Flappy Bird at school you know something is wrong with Nintendo's strategy.



NintendoROCKET said:

@Squiggle55 he gave up getting more money & you call him self-centered. What kind of person are you?? And you said he burned his money. Can I get proof please? According to you, if you don't give all your money to charity, you're selfish.
@jdarrell Flappy Bird is a simple game w/Mario pipes. Super Mario World has many MANY other things than just pipes. You can't really compare them. Also, there are lots of games more similar to SMW than Flappy Bird!



Squiggle55 said:

@NintendoROCKET I see now that your critical thinking/reading skills aren't functioning properly while reading my comments, so I give up. No point in debating if you don't even read my comments.



XCWarrior said:

@1337man1233 That's the exception, not the rule. And now there are 100 clones of it, so they will divide that money up until people grow tired of it after a week or two and move on to the next thing. And then the dev has to hope he hits lightning twice.

Name another game outside of Angry Birds that the dev for it has made. You probably can't, it's their only hit. Hence all the spin offs trying to milk it to death.



XCWarrior said:

@Funny_Moblin You are joking right? Why do you think Nintendo's lawyers commented that they won't be pressing charges. Because its obvious, at least to gamers, that the assets are ripped from Super Mario World.



Squiggle55 said:

@XCWarrior It's blatantly obvious. I think there's still an outside chance Nintendo told him to take it down. It's possible they didn't want the bad press or the headache of a lawsuit and gave him a settlement to just take it down w/o mentioning why. Isn't it? Maybe the settlement was you get to keep all the money you've made so far, otherwise we'll take that too. haha.



1337man1233 said:

@XCWarrior yeah i know that i was just telling you he made a profit because in your original comment you made it seem like noone made money on the appstore



Princebalad said:

@ledreppe This guy works really hard on all of his creations, and he 'stole' NONE of it from ANYONE. I swear people on this site are so stuck up and ignorant. YOU DONT HAVE TO HATE EVERYTHING NINTENDO DISAGREES WITH. I'm a huuge nintendo fan but this is ridiculous. The man is getting all kind of hate already. Grow up.



tedko said:

@Squiggle55 There may be problems with Nintendo's strategy in how they've marketed the wii u, but the day Nintendo starts making cheap, completely shallow games filled with ads will be the day I and probably most other Nintendo fans stop supporting them.



Korbin64 said:

I was overjoyed when this was taken down... The game itself is just awful after all!
My friend downloaded it to my phone so I tried it, immediately deleted it, took his phone to delete it, told him to get a real game, and continued the process on the phones of friends. Now it'll have a lasting impact. Also, boycott Candy Crush Saga.



theberrage said:

A guy makes a game, releases it free to download , then receives a ton of hate mail. He probably wanted to give something to the world that was meant for fun. It's crazy, the sense of self entitlement of some people.



SMW said:

So why is it called Flappy Bird, when it looks more like a cheep-cheep?



Plucky said:

I heard that he supposedly removed it because he was ashamed of the game, for something to be simple in implimentation yet popular meant that he pretty much struck his Apex...chances are people are going to suggest a Flappy Bird 2 whilst he wants to create more substantial games with more depth.

Other rumor is that it might have been removed either to distance himself from any potential Nintendo cases, or because of a murder...though i think the latter might have been satirical.



Darkness3131 said:

I really only heard about this on Saturday. Then again I don't tend to be very into mobile games. I didn't find it all that amazing really.I think this whole thing is sort of silly anyway.



sumofeet said:

I've only heard of it a couple of days ago when my brother downloaded it. It's rubbish.



FriedSquid said:

Love how this guy has been getting horrible death threats about this game, yet all the smartphone-bashers here can do is celebrate and get mad at the guy for "copying" Nintendo or making a bad game, as if this is some immature contest to see how much we can make fun of people who play or make smartphone games.

@Korbin64: What kind of horrible thing is that to do to your friends? To take their phones away to delete their games? You think that's justifiable because they need to play a 'real game'? You cannot be serious.



Socar said:


You do know that there are countless amounts of games that use Nintendo's property and make money out of it in smartphones right?

Also so what if we are jerks about this stuff? the point is he made lots of money by using Mario Sprites.



SavoirFaire said:

This should be a wake up call to Nintendo to take mini games in some of their series (Kirby or Zelda for instance) and make them into 99 cent phone games.

However, before you all wish for Nintendo to jump into phone and tablet games, go look what EA did to Dungeon Keeper. I would hate to see nintendo sell their souls for micro transactions.



XCWarrior said:

@unrandomsam Yeah, and I paid $0.30 for it on Steam during a sale. Is the developer really getting a lot out of that?

If a 10,000 people buy your mobile game at $1, you make $10,000.
If 1500 people buy your eshop game at $10, you make $15,000.

So it's worth trying to make your game of higher quality, even if only 15% of the people end up buying it.



Henmii said:

Looked it up on youtube! It doesn't look like anything special! But yeah those pipes, they are really Mario pipes!



OptometristLime said:

@Squiggle55 eh? There is enough money in this world, not all of it needs to go to charity. Not sure I understand your point though.

But it's his money, and I do bristle at the charity suggestion — as if it's your money or the Internet's or something?



lamco said:

It was a really annoying game anyway. But you can't deny that the game seriously did borrow elements from super mario anyway (everyone i knew commented on that). Shame the creator will miss out on raking up all that cash though.



Omarsonic9 said:

At least if he doesn't want that much money, he could help the world and donate or something



Squiggle55 said:

@OptometristLime I feel like I've gone absolutely insane. Does nobody read anymore? This is not an article about the success of Flappy Bird. And I am not saying he should give all his money to charity because he doesn't deserve it. Please somebody tell me they can even comprehend my argument.

This is an article about pulling Flappy Bird off the store. The choice is not between this guy keeping the money or giving it to charity. The choice is between the money not even existing or giving it to charity. He didn't even need to maintain ownership of the game. It's his choice, but I'm arguing that the choice was selfish and probably impulsive without considering the other options. It's really not a difficult stance to at least understand. Please nobody else try to debate this unless you at least understand what I am saying.



NintendoROCKET said:

@Princebalad I know!! W/in the last year, almost all these commenters either became hypocrite jerks OR just a bunch of followers of the average opinion. It's so sad b/c this is a great website!



NintendoROCKET said:

@Korbin64 so you take your friends' phones & delete games off w/o their permission. Come back to me in a year & tell me how much true friends you lost by being so stuck-up.
@artwark no, he made lots of money by making a simple, genius, fun little game to play that used one Mario sprite(the pipes). And possibly a Sonic-looking background.
@omarsonic9 hi Omar!! It's been a long time since I saw you!!
My gosh people, do you not understand it was an ACCIDENTAL SUCCESS!!??



Squiggle55 said:

Ok, I'm mostly playing devil's advocate here. But let's be clear. My argument is based on the analogy that pulling the game from the store is the same as "burning money". Instead of simply "throwing this money away" he could have given his creation and the flow of funds to charity. Again, I am not saying he should give all of his money to charity, nor am I saying everyone should give all of their money to charity, nor am I chastising him for wanting to live a simpler life. And I most certainly am not saying he literally burned his money.

Your argument that you've presented me with is: "there are some good people in this world who want to give up money" and "can I have proof that he burned his money?"

I don't care if you disagree with me. My stance is "a charity having money is better than the money not existing." Your stance is "it's okay to just throw the money away, in fact it makes you a good person." I guess we just have to agree to disagree.



JosieC84 said:

I never had a chance to play it but it looked pretty cute. Poor guy doesn't deserve all these death threats.



OptometristLime said:

Wow, @NintendoRocket is out of his mind.

I do understand what you're saying @Squiggle55, but I feel like it's a contrived argument. Why should anyone care what somebody does with their own money - it's simply no one's business IMO. The app creator wants to walk away from a personal catastrophe, there is too much bad will generated by the whole situation. To try and channel that for good, I just think it's too late... Humble Bundle and other gaming initiatives do a great job of contributing, there's no need to ride the coat tails of the now infamous project.



MrMario02 said:

I'm just glad we won't be seeing cheap clones of this like:
Iron Man Flappy Bird
Flappy Bird Seasons
InFamous Flappy Bird
EDIT: Or other clones of Flappy Bird like:
Resident Evil Flappy Bird
Gangnam Style Flappy Bird



HappyHappyist said:

you know what? nintendo knows that the game is original. sure, it wears a nintendo skin, but the game is its own. it isn't a clone of anything (not that i know of). i bet that's the reason why they didnt sue. they're reasonable company, even when they could use the money right now (based on poor wiiu sales and how many court cases they're losing).



Yoshi said:

Now, Splashy Fish is popular now. And the fish looks like a flippin Cheep-cheep!



HaastMK7 said:

the reason for the withdrawal of Flappy Bird is a very amazingly bad one. I will not say what the reason is, but a good thing the creator did what he did when he did. it could of gotten much worse.

BTW my high score: 64

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