By Jake Levine
The lord giveth, and the lord taketh. As quickly as “Flappy Bird” came into our lives, it was gone. Never before had an app graced the collective consciousness of millennial America with such beauty and vitality, and never again will one reach its dizzying heights. “Flappy Bird” left us without a proper goodbye, and now we are stuck, wandering through life with nothing but the memory of what we once had – of paradise lost. I intend to give “Flappy Bird” the ode it deserves, a final goodbye deserving of its illustrious and storied status.
In his epic poem, Paradise Lost, John Milton sought to “justify the ways of God to men” (Milton I. 26). 1 Detailing the fall of man, Milton’s work strikes an interesting parallel to the untimely departure of “Flappy Bird.” Also following an arc of rise and fall, the tale of “Flappy Bird” is ubiquitously filled with temptation, as well as the consequences of our frenzied appetite for mobile games. “Flappy Bird” had reached the pinnacle of success, making $50,000 a day, yet at the peak of its height, its owner removed the game from the app store. 2 It was as if in the midst of paradise, we had eaten the apple, and been banished from the paradise.
“Farewell happy fields/Where joy for ever dwells: Hail horrors, hail/ Infernal world” (Milton I. 249-251). 3 Gone forever was the joy and wonder of jumping through pipes with an unshakable, incorruptible hero: the flappy bird. Instead, the echoes and reverberations of his perilous journey haunt us, lodging itself in our collective memories, always present, yet hidden by the continuous passage of time that neutralizes even the brightest and purest of things.
O “Flappy Bird”! You soared through those pipes with a grace and dignity the mobile platform was not ready for. Seasons may come and go, years may pass, children may grow old, but you are eternal. Like “flours of all hue, and without thorn the rose,” you were too perfect (Milton IV. 256). 4 In a world of faults and deficiencies, we can only appreciate imperfect, flawed things. You were not fit for this world; too pure and too innocent. Your perfection was not meant to be handled by our judgmental, labeling nature.
“Flappy Bird” is gone. Though I still have the game archived on my phone, it is like playing with a ghost, a flitting apparition of something long gone. Long and prosperous was its reign, but like all good things, it has come to an end. May you rest in flappy heaven, with numerous pipes to fly through on your eternal journey. You fought the good fight, now rest. Goodnight sweet prince.
1 John Milton. “Paradise Lost” (1667). New York: Barnes and Noble (2004).
2 David Kushner. “The Flight of the Birdman: Flappy Bird Creator Dong Nguyen Speaks Out,” Rolling Stone, March 11, 2014. Accessed March 17, 2017.
3 John Milton. “Paradise Lost” (1667).
4 John Milton. “Paradise Lost” (1667).
Jake is a sophomore History major with a double minor in Art History and French.