As I clicked into the newsfeed of my Facebook on just another day, all I saw was screenshots of green pillars stretching through the image and a dead bird engraved its short peck to the ground. Comments overflowed every post, each one trying to beat someone else’s high score.
People were all raving about how addictive the game is and how unbelievably quick the depressing Game Over sign flashed on their phones just five seconds after they started.
I knew I was hooked the second my Flappy Bird dropped on the ground and died. This game will be the death of me. I started tapping impatiently and raging and cursing every time my stupid bird hit the pillar with its head. Despite feeling confused and mad, I still found myself subconsciously tapping and re-tapping start again, to watch the fall of my soldier bird more than a thousand times.
Here’s what I learned in that seemingly simple and stupid, but-god knows-why-it’s-so-difficult-and-complicated game.
1. We tend to follow mainstream ideas and do what other people do
Just like Angry Bird, Candy Crush and other famous games that got downloaded a billion times, we’ll hear stories from our friends, schoolmates, colleagues and so on.
We’d hear legends of how they burned midnight oil not to study or work, but to get to level 99 so the next day they could show the world. These games are not entertainment anymore — they are an unhealthy obsession, a very unhealthy one. Despite getting to level 762, you’d still have that essay to finish or that dreadful meeting to attend. And once again I blame myself if I didn’t open that Newsfeed I’d save myself from a lot of trouble than wasting hours and hours of tapping the goddamn screen and mourning over that stupid bird over and over again.
2. Life hits you in ways you’d never expect…but you still get up and start again
Life’s a bitch, so is Flappy Bird. I couldn’t count how many times my friends ranted about how hard it was to even pass the first pillar.
Even if you pass the first, the bird would hit the second as soon as you would enter. And then you’d gasp and scream and start all over again. That’s the point. No matter what unexpected ways life hit us, drown us and burn us until we could hardly tolerate it, as long as the ashes are still there, we’ll get our shit together and start all over again. That’s the only way we don’t get defeated, and that’s the only way how I had achieved my highest score: 7. If we just curse and exit the game after hitting the first pillar, our high score will never soar. We’d never accomplish the higher and more difficult ones if we surrender to reality after the first few times we trip and stumble.
3. It’s all about attitude, concentration and dedication
The key to the game, is tapping the bird (or the screen) in steady rhythm and tempo. If you tap too hard or too fast, the bird will die instantly and all your previous hard work will have been in vain. Flappy Bird isn’t just a game you could play half-heartedly when you’re exhausted with homework or waiting for the train in overcrowded station. It requires absolute patience and focus. Multitasking in life may save you time, but life is like photography — you focus on the most important thing and capture that moment. You could play the game a trillion times, but the high score would still remain 1 or 2. It’s about quality, not quantity.
4. The ugly fact that we all wanted to be better than others
It’s vanity, it’s human nature. We all compare to others to indicate how well we did. The acknowledgement of others is the fuel to work hard again and it’s a never-ending cycle of comparing and acknowledging.
What I’m saying is that comparing to others may not always be a bad thing, because it serves as a motivation if used properly. But it’s hardly used properly as once we start to compare ourselves. We aren’t able to stop. We drown ourselves in the game trying to beat every other individual to declare ourselves victors.