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Flappy Bird: The massive rise, sudden fall of a viral game

This is the new top search result when someone searches for Flappy Bird in Apple's App Store. Close, but no cigar. (Source: App Store) This is the new top search result when someone searches for Flappy Bird in Apple's App Store. Close, but no cigar. (Source: App Store)

(RNN) - On Sunday, the widely popular mobile game Flappy Bird was removed from stores in a sudden pull by the creator.

This is one case where being late to the game means you don't get to play at all.

The mission of Flappy Bird is, or was, to direct your flapping bird between pipes by tilting your phone. If you hit a pipe, you're dead. It's difficult, addictive, cute and just what people wanted - if the way it has taken social media by storm means anything.

It was originally released in May 2013, but it only recently went viral, as did creator Dong Nguyen's Twitter account.

The game was downloaded more than 50 million times and received 47,000 reviews. Nguyen told The Verge he was earning, on average, $50,000 a day from in-app advertisements.

At first everything seemed rosy for the game creator, who lives in Vietnam and has a few other popular games in app stores, such as Super Ball Juggling and Shuriken Block.

But Nguyen became inundated with tweets from fans both enjoying and hating the game. At first, he seemed pleased people were playing it. But as it grew, it became apparent that fame wasn't what Nguyen was going for.

Nguyen announced Saturday on Twitter that he "cannot just keep it anymore," and would be removing the game from stores in 22 hours.

"I can call Flappy Bird a success of mine," he tweeted. "But it also ruins my simple life. So now I hate it."

He also denied accusations he had copied designs from Super Mario Bros. and other games. When the game was pulled, he said that was not the reason.

"It is not anything related to legal issues. I just cannot keep it anymore," Nguyen tweeted.

Meanwhile, iPhones with Flappy Bird still installed have hit eBay. Big time.

The phones were going on eBay for as much as it costs to buy a new iPhone and higher. One auction even hit more than $90,000, although it appeared it had been removed Monday.

While the validity of those bids is in question, it's a good portrayal of what happens when something popular is suddenly yanked away from the gaming masses. Don't look for Flappy Bird to be returning anytime soon under a different name or owner – Nguyen has explicitly said it's not for sale.

Copyright 2014 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

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