What Games Are: Flappy Bird, Patterns And Context


Editor’s note: Tadhg Kelly is a veteran game designer and creator of leading game design blog What Games Are. He manages developer relations at OUYA. You can follow him on Twitter here.

It’s nice to know that the games industry can still surprise you and that – just when everybody thinks it’s been figured out – there’s room for a Flappy Bird. Flappy Bird, if you don’t know, is the latest game-from-nowhere that’s taken over the App Store. It’s another Dots, Temple Run, Ridiculous Fishing, Candy Crush Saga, Puzzle and Dragon, Tiny Wings or Fruit Ninja. The game that seems to just pop, leaving many heads scratching as to how it did it.

The repeated success of these games shows that there is always room for a new game mechanic. Players still like to play a fun game that seems new compared…

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