In an interview with Rolling Stone, Dong Nguyen, Flappy Bird’s creator and, ultimately, executor, talked about how the game came to be and the impact its had on both himself and his work.
Nguyen, 28, lives with his parents in Hanoi, Vietnam, and makes a living programming location devices for taxis.
Over a holiday break he created a mobile app that was both an homage to the Mario games with which he grew up, and a challenge that would keep people engaged and excited. That’s how Flappy Bird was born.
Flappy Bird wasn’t an instant hit by any means. It sat in the app store for months until, through Twitter and serendipity, grew more popular until the floodgates burst open.
While it’s no longer in any app store, Flappy Bird has become a real moneymaker for Nguyen, who raked in an estimated $50,000 per day at its peak.
He’s still raking in tens of thousands of dollars, however, as people still play the ad-supported mobile game.
Nguyen’s success surprised even him. “I was just making something fun to share with other people,” he said to Rolling Stone through a translator. “I couldn’t predict the success of Flappy Bird.” Unfortunately it also took a toll on his well-being, affecting both his health and private life.
While the hype has died down, Nguyen is still considering re-releasing Flappy Bird, albeit with a warning suggesting users “Please take a break.”