Flappy Bird Rips Off Nintendo's Super Mario to Tune of $50K a Day?

Friday, 07 Feb 2014 07:09 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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It could be the most viral app since the Candy Crush craze, but did the wildly popular Flappy Bird game rip off most of its graphics and effects from Nintendo's old-school Super Mario?

Yes, some critics say. And the fact that Flappy Bird ranked as the most popular game on both the iPhone and Android platforms last month and raked in $50,000 a day in revenue has the tech world wondering if Nintendo will take legal action.

The premise of Flappy Bird is simple — tap the screen to guide the little bird through a maze of pipes and don't crash. But the problem is the graphics and sounds.

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"Both the pipes and the titular bird are nearly identical to assets found in past Mario games. Same for some of the sound-effects and backgrounds," according to Forbes' Erik Kain. "Indeed, it’s all so perfectly obvious one might chalk the whole thing up as an homage to classic Nintendo games."

Video game site Kotaku agrees.

"Even the twinkly sound effect when your bird flies between pipes is heavily inspired by Mario's coin-collecting chime, to the point where they sound nearly identical," the site reported. "And what about the bird itself? While the eponymous Flappy Bird isn't a direct rip-off, it appears to be a cross between the Spike and Cheep Cheep enemies in Super Mario Bros. 3."

No word yet on whether Nintendo has noticed the similarities or considered legal action. In the meantime, Flappy Bird just continues to blow up.

"The reason Flappy Bird is so popular is that it happens to be something different from mobile games today, and is a really good game to compete against each other," the game's Vietnamese developer Dong Nguyen told The Verge. "People in the same classroom can play and compete easily because [Flappy Bird] is simple to learn, but you need skill to get a high score."

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