Last night I discovered a mobile game called Flappy Bird. When I say that ‘I discovered it’ what I mean is I gave in to temptation and downloaded the same thing that every else has. The game that is sitting on top of the charts for both iPhone and Android. Lesson: people follow crowds. We assume there is value where other people have found value
Upon starting the game it became clear that there was only really one game mechanic at play. Press your screen to flap your birds wings. This is interesting to me because games have been getting more complicated over recent years and focusing on the continual ‘upgrading’ of capabilities. Think new combos/sweets in Candy Crush. Flappy Bird just asks you to do one thing well Lesson: when everyone else is creating complexity, simplicity can be refreshing
The one aim of the game is to not die and keep moving. This is a pretty compelling goal and you score points for every obstacle you fly through. When I started I was delighted to get past 3-4. Now I’m chasing progressively higher scores and slightly disgusted when I don’t hit double figures. I need to be pushing on and increasing my High score Lesson: we value progress, what looked big to us yesterday looks small to us today.
The obstacles in the game are generated randomly. The easiest way to get a high score is to be lucky and have several obstacles appear that don’t need you to adjust your height. If the obstacles are randomly generated so you have to move about too much you are more likely to die. Lesson: success is a function of randomness and luck. Don’t kid yourself that it isn’t, but equip yourself to be able to fly well enough to make good when it’s possible
As soon as I hit what I thought was a reasonably high score I checked online to see what other people were scoring Lesson: our sense of progress and achievement is normally grounded in how we have done relative to others.
Now I have scored a decent amount I wanted to share it, I wouldn’t have done that when I wasn’t doing so well. Lesson: I’m a show off. Bring it on. People share their achievements selectively
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