Few games or creators have ever managed to upset the status quo in the way Flappy Bird and Dong Nguyen did. The game skyrocketed to #1 with zero marketing, earned its creator hundreds of thousands of dollars, and disappeared from the App Store due to a sense of ethics and responsibility; the game was simply too addictive, its creator said.

Asides from a few tweets and a whole lot of speculation, though, we’ve had little to go in in terms of what really happened with Flappy Bird – or to its creator Dong Nguyen. But now, thanks to an interview with Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers, we have the whole story.




If you have even the slightest bit of interest in the phenomenon that was Flappy Bird, you owe it to yourself to check out the whole article. That said, here are a few highlights of what we learned;

  • After placing in the top 20 spots of a programming competition in University, Nguyen interned at Punch Entertainment where he made sports games for cellphones.
  • Vietnam isn’t a country that’s used to tech celebrities; his instant fame resulted in a siege of paparazzi and Nguyen’s hiding in the homes of friends to avoid them.
  • Even though the game is no longer available for download, he’s still making tens of thousands of dollars from ad revenues.
  • He’s received countless letters from people claiming the game was destroying their lives. A similar Counter-Strike obsession damaged his own performance in high school, so these really hit close to home (and, yes, greatly influenced his decision to remove the game from the App Store).
  • He’s “considering” releasing Flappy Bird again. If he does, it’ll be with a warning advising players to take a break.
  • He’s working on three new games: a cowboy-themed shooter, a vertical flying game called Kitty Jetpack, and Checkonaut – an “action chess game.” One of these will launch this month

Read the complete feature, The Flight of the Birdman, at rollingstone.com (or pick it up in the March 27thprint edition when it hits newsstands).