The Squalid Grace of Flappy Bird
This review of Flappy Bird is by far the most amazing thing I’ve read all year. It may be the best review I read all year, despite the fact that we are only one month in.
But in fetishizing simplicity, we also mistake the elegance of design for beauty. For Go and Tetris are likewise ghastly, erupting stones and tetrominoes endlessly, failing to relent in their desire to overtake us. The games we find ourselves ever more devoted to are often also the ones that care very little for our experience of them. This is the devotion of material indifference. To understand Flappy Bird, we must accept the premise that games are squalid, rusty machinery we operate in spite of themselves. What we appreciate about Flappy Bird is not the details of its design, but the fact that it embodies them with such unflappable nonchalance. The best games cease to be for us (or for anyone) and instead strive to be what they are as much as possible. From this indifference emanates a strange squalor that we can appreciate as beauty.