Are the horrible-yet-addictive mechanics of the mobile game Flappy Bird really symptomatic of a culture addicted to the lowest common denominator?
That's the take of Forbes contributor Paul Tassi, who writes in his review of the stupefyingly simple game, "How far into the Heart of Darkness do we dare venture?"
"Flappy Bird is not a game. It’s an addictive collection of pixels you don’t win, you simply play until you’re frustrated enough to delete it," Tassi bemoans.
The game is free to download on both Apple and Android devices. It's also the most popular, ranking No. 1 in free downloads on both platforms. It's a side-scrolling game that involves tapping the screen to give a pixelated bird upward and forward momentum, with the goal being to avoid touching the Super Mario pipes that stretch from the top and the bottom of the screen. But the mechanics are awful. The slightest tap makes the bird jump far too high, making navigating through the small gap between pipes nearly impossible. The scoring is simple, but the game is deceptively difficult. You get one point for each pair of pipes through which you pass. Yesterday, I downloaded the game, and after 10 minutes, my high score was four, and my IQ had dropped maybe 10 points.
Read the entire (extremely entertaining) review here.
UPDATE: My high score is now 12. After achieving this feat, I wiped Flappy Bird from my phone and rediscovered the life-enriching wonders of Starcraft II.