In February, Dong Nguyen pulled his immensely popular "Flappy Bird" game from the Apple and Android app stores. The 28-year-old developer from Hanoi mystified fans and the press with a vague tweet.
The app had been downloaded more than 50 million times and was reportedly pulling in $50,000 a day from advertisements when Nguyen declared it “Game Over,” clearing the way for a flock of Flappy Bird clones.
On Tuesday, Rolling Stone scored an interview with the press-shy Nguyen. What did we learn about him?
STR / AFP - Getty Images
This picture taken on February 5, 2014, shows Nguyen Ha Dong, the author of the game Flappy Bird, relaxing inside a coffee shop in Hanoi.
Flappy Bird is still making money
Don’t shed too many tears for Nguyen. The game is still reportedly “generating tens of thousands of dollars for him,” which he is thinking of using to buy himself a Mini Cooper and his own apartment. He currently lives with a friend, according to Rolling Stone.
He took letters from angry parents to heart
After the game exploded in popularity, parents sent him angry emails, like one blaming him for “distracting the children of the world,” the Rolling Stone article said. That struck a chord with him because he claimed that becoming obsessed with the first-person shooter game "Counter-Strike" had caused him to fail tests in high school.
Still, that doesn't completely explain why he pulled the game. When asked by Rolling Stone, he simply said, "I'm master of my own fate."
He is not a fan of "Angry Birds"
Nguyen told Rolling Stone that he thought "Angry Birds" “looked too crowded.” He wanted something more simple, so he based "Flappy Bird" on paddle ball — the old-school game involving bouncing a rubber ball on a wooden paddle.
He was never a big spender
Nguyen’s big purchases when pulling in $50,000 a day? A new Mac computer and occasionally some rice wine and a chicken hot pot for his friends, according to Rolling Stone. When he lived with parents, he hid his success fromm them until they found out about it from the media.
He is working on three new games
An “action chess game,” a cowboy-themed release and something called "Kitty Jetpack."
When asked if he would ever bring "Flappy Bird" back, he said he was "considering" it even though he is not working on a new version.
First published March 11 2014, 2:27 PM