2/05/2014
My Flappy Bird is bigger than your Flappy Bird

"It is a deceptively simple game," I told my brother, as I peered into his iPad and he attempted to play, well, that game. Flappy Bird.

Surely by now you know how it goes. You simply guide a bird through a series of obstacles. Well, more of fences, 8-bit fences that don't look out of place in the Mario Brothers' land of whimsy. Without prompting, the bird flies upwards. You tap the screen and the bird flies downwards. You make sure the bird avoid the obstacles. One hit and you're done.

Deceptively simple - I know the description is long, but still, deceptively simple - but extremely hard, as it turns out. The learning curve is steep, and everybody around you is suddenly judging you from, well, your ability to guide that bird through a series of obstacles.

"Agh!" My brother got past one post the first try. And then, two posts. By the end of the weekend he was at five posts.

"It is deceptively simple," I told him, again.

It's amusing how a game for your phone consumes everybody you know. Well, any game, really. Remember when a day wouldn't pass without you receiving an invite to FarmVille or Mafia Wars? But then staying on Facebook just to watch your plants grow got boring, and you needed to play while you're on the go, so to the smartphone you went. Suddenly, you're in the shuttle, and everybody else is either sleeping or playing Temple Run, or 4 Pics 1 Word, or Candy Crush Saga.

I don't download a lot of apps. Again, I'm really a boring person. I bought a phone with 32 gigabytes of storage and it's never gone past a quarter full. The only apps I have are for my social media presence (ugh, I sound so old saying that) and my TuneIn app for when I listen to better radio stations. I've never downloaded a game because, well, I don't see the point. Again, I'm a boring person. Also, I don't want to drain my battery, and I don't want to waste my time being unproductive, as if checking your Twitter feed every five minutes is any more productive.

But maybe it is, because it does become a conversation topic of sorts. Anong level ka na sa Temple Run? You compare. Anong level ka na sa Candy Crush? You compare again, and maybe, beg for extra lives so you could play again. Anong level ka na sa Flappy Bird? You compare again, and you learn that she's gone past 100 and you're still stuck at 11, and your body has the urge to literally shrink.

55 na ako sa Flappy Bird.

Ako, 56!

And suddenly, your Flappy Bird score is the sole basis of your worth as a human being. (The fact that the game is called Flappy Bird does not help matters at all, since, well, you know. My Flappy Bird si bigger than your Flappy Bird. Don't call me a pervert. We all are perverts!) You try your hardest to get past that eleventh post, but you're stressed, and you're not tapping the screen at the right time, and you're in the middle of class, and your name gets called, and now you have to identify the three types of columns in Greek architecture.

My brother's now at 50 points. I think he reached that point last night; I know, because he had to tweet about it. In those five days, everybody I know has posted about how frustrating it is, about how it builds patience or anger, about how people get killed because their scores are higher or lower or something.

I don't really feel the need to be sucked into that. But it's not like I don't play games like these. Rainy used to have 4 Pics 1 Word on her phone, which makes sense because, you know, she writes. Well, I think that makes sense. It doesn't explain why I don't have it. It also doesn't explain why I have, at times, become the go-to person when you're at level 250-something and the words get difficult and the clues start to drone and you need a fresh pair of eyes. And then you claim credit for getting you to level 260-something. You're awesome now, yes.

But Rainy is my girlfriend, and I'm the only one who cares about her 4 Pics 1 Word score, so I don't mind. But then she moved to Candy Crush, and I found myself working on this one level at the country's first Starbucks branch, leaving my sandwich a bit cold, the night of the Serendra explosion. And I think I snapped right there.

And now she's playing Flappy Bird. And she's telling me that you tap so the bird flies upwards, not downwards as I wrote earlier.

And your responses...

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