Are We Entering the Simplicity Era of Mobile Apps?

A funny thing happened in early 2014. Dong Nguyen, a Vietnamese indie app developer, unintendedly created one of the most addictive, frustrating and downright must-have apps of all time, Flappy Bird. Yes, the game that looks a bit like Super Mario, but ends abruptly after once false move and makes you want to throw your phone at the wall, as hard as possible, repeatedly.

Flappy Bird

The game generated widespread buzz, however after several negative tweets and responses (going to the extent of death threats!) Nguyen revealed in February, just weeks after unveiling his creation, that he would be removing it from the app store. Yes, one of the most simplistic and addictive games would be removed from our existence and the response was remarkable. Second-hand smartphones that contained the app began tripling, if not more, in price as players realised their need for the game, despite many of those people likely being the very same ones who voiced their frustrations in the first place. This begs the question; does simplicity sell in today’s market?

The game was certainly far from ground-breaking. In fact it’s a concept that has been done before, with other games such as Jetpack Run falling at the hurdles Flappy Bird seemingly galloped over. All you had to do was navigate a bird through Mario-like tunnels, by holding your finger down to send the bird up the screen or leaving it to send it back down.

It is not the first game that has seen success from simplicity though, as another app, Temple Run, also received widespread acclaim for its pick up-and-play factors. Users simply had to swipe their Indiana Jones-inspired character away from perilous falls, treacherous obstacles and of course aim to get as much coins and boosts as possible. Oh and don’t forget those strange, monkey creatures that are always behind you and won’t hesitate to eat you up if you fail. This was another success story of a game, with players using the game as a way to pass time, whether that be for five minutes, or five hours and if you think about it, all you were really doing was beating your high score. The exact same as Flappy Bird.

Moving to a more renowned game, that is also still high in demand today, Candy Crush Saga is even more simplistic. All you have to do is swipe candies to the corresponding colours in order to tackle levels that become increasingly difficult. Users simply cannot get enough of this concept, regardless of the fact that you have little control over what candy comes next in the game and that there are nearly six-hundred levels for you to progress through and if that won’t keep you busy, nothing will.

Candy Crush Saga

Other apps that remain popular are other concepts that revolve around simple, easy to use gameplay. Many online gaming apps now offer a whole host of bonuses and promotions to entice prospective and existing players into trying their virtual game halls out, with the gameplay again, being easy, allowing players to simply pick and have a few games. Although, with the plethora of games out there, it is important you receive the best no deposit offers and you can even play for free, so it’s not as If all of these app creators are looking to take your money.

The sheer reality of the situation is that people want the pick-up and play apps that have been mentioned over a dozen times before in this piece and this is exactly why, it’s repetitive. If you like something, or the idea of something, you will often want to do or see that thing. Think of it as a bag of sweets or crisps, once you have had one or two, you might as well finish the whole bag. It is exactly the same with apps, once you have played one or two games, you may as well sit there for an extra five minutes running across temples and guiding a bird away from obstacles.

And before you say, ‘Those games should be consoles, not for the app store’, there simply is no way to accommodate that. If you look at the big games, such as FIFA, the quality of their app is far from the depth they put into their console and next-gen games, but the pay-off is still the same, because their concept is simplistic, easy to use and popular. Honestly, we have all been there. Most of you simply cannot deny that you didn’t feel just a small bundle of rage ball up when you ventured onto social media and saw that one of your friends had completely destroyed your high score on Flappy Bird, for example. The high score that you had remained on the train just long enough to complete, and had to scramble off before the doors closed on you, as the price you had to pay for your reward.

You might as well face it folks, these simple apps aren’t going anywhere (well, except for Flappy Bird, but that may be getting a re-release due to high demand!). Buckle in and get ready for the ride, which admittedly, will be quite a fun one. Most of you have probably been looking for an excuse to continue your app-addictive tendencies so when anyone asks, just say you are just early to the party. In a few weeks, they will probably be playing those very same games they moaned about, more than you.