Hey, wanna snort some coke? No? How bout we play flappy bird?

“This game is evil!”
“I hate my friend for introducing to this game!”
“The game is not fun, but it is addicting.”

These are things that I have heard and seen people say about this game called “Flappy Bird.”  Everyone is talking about it.  It quickly became the most downloaded app in a week.  Then the creator destroyed everyone’s lives by deleting it.  And my instant response was “NO.”

To be fair… My instant response was “no” mostly because I hate jumping on bandwagons. Call it my “pre-hipster snobbery complex” (that I’ve had since I was at least 10… before hipsters were even a twinkle in the sociomusic scene’s eye) ((please tell me you saw what I did there).  ANYWAYS,  I’ve been this way for a long time, and it drives my mom crazy.  I refused to ever get into Harry Potter (still have not read or seen any harry potter book/movie)… In junior high everyone started reading Ted Dekker books and it took me two years to be willing to touch one… I turned my nose up so high at all things Twilight.  And yes… I have snubbed the Hunger Games as well.  I do it PURELY out of pride and a desire to be different and possibly to make myself feel like I’m better than those who give in to bandwagon.  It’s BAD.  Seriously.  If I was to sit in a sermon on pride… this is right where my mind would go.  But then you add in the fact that everyone is saying it’s addicting… and that’s when I knew I couldn’t touch it.

Seriously, I’m currently on level 419 on Candy Crush.  I have procrastinated dozens of papers, blanked out of hundreds of one-on-one conversations, and tuned out of thousands of class lectures because of that game.  I know how bad addicting app games can be.  I knew I couldn’t get into flappy bird.  So every time I saw those two words on my social media time lines… I quickly kept scrolling.  I couldn’t let myself even read what people were saying about it.  But now and then, I would see a post, hear a conversation, scroll a little slower over that buzzfeed article… and eventually I was curious.

I thought to myself… “I mean, everyone else is doing it. It looks fun!”  and decided to make a deal with myself.  I would download it, play it for a couple minutes to see what it was all about, then delete the app before I went to sleep.

So there I was, sitting in bed, reading the app reviews while I waited for it to download.  I sat there with a smug  smile on my face thinking of how fun it was going to be be to beat my roommates score effortlessly and send her a screen shot.   I started up the app and made my first flappy bird tap ever.

And got a score of zero.

I laughed at myself, shrugging it off that I just wasn’t ready and didn’t understand how high the bird would go when I tapped, and I played it again.  Zero.  Again.  Zero.  Zero.  Zero.  Zero.  Then FINALLY I got one point.  One measly little point.  And then I remembered the words of my roommate “It took me an hour to get past four!”  And determination set in.   I focused on the screen, played around with tapping variations, tried to establish a rhythm, played round after round after round.  5 minutes of playing had gone by and I was still stuck at 3.  I wondered how bad I must have been to not be getting anywhere.  I realized by this point I had played longer than “a couple minutes” and still had not reached my goal.  So I said screw it and kept playing.

It was so easy to play.  I was hooked.  Game play lasted only a few seconds and you could just easily restart.  And unlike candy crush, you weren’t limited to a certain amounts of lives.  Endless game play.    I found myself zoned in and hooked like I had never been with candy crush or mario kart or jigsaw puzzles.  I found myself physically reacting in anger to the game, especially with all those ads that slowed the game down and made it glitch out.  I realized what was going on and it was scary.

That’s when I made myself delete it and vowed not to touch the game again.  Why?  Because it’s just not wise.   First off, you’re choosing to do something that you know is addictive just to experience some fun.  Um, hello? Drugs?  Secondly, what an awful way to treat yourself.  The game builds up your confidence, making you think “I can do it!  I can beat my high score!” only for you to fail at such a seemingly simple task, destroying your confidence and making you feel stupid.  And thirdly, part of the draw people have to this game is trying to beat each others high scores. Not in a sportsmanlike competition kind of way, but in a bragging, pride, “I want to humiliate you by proving I’m better” kind of way.   Remember that smug smile I had at the thought of crushing my roommates hopes and dreams by screen shotting my high score to her?  Hello, worm in my heart that is sin.  Nice to see you and your oh-so blatantly pleasurable evil self again.

I’m glad the creator removed it from the app store.  I really wonder what it says about our society that we can willingly allow ourselves to get sucked in to a simplistic game and become so invested in it in all the wrong ways.  I mean really, people are trying to sell their phones with flappy bird on it for anywhere between $300 to $100,000.  This is ridiculous guys.  C’mon!

I get it.  It’s just a game.  It’s just some simple fun.  But everyone needs to stop and check themselves.  Know your limits.  If you can enjoy this game without letting yourself play it for hours on end?  Play it.  If you can send your high scores back and forth with your friends with nothing but friendly competition as your motive?  Go ahead.  If you can play this game without screaming at your phone or chucking it?  Have fun.   But if you recognize that you’re going too far, show some discernment and delete it.  You’re better off without it.