「Rolling Stone」というメディアが Flappy Bird の開発者 Dong Nguyen へのインタビューに成功した。彼はメディアやパパラッチから身を隠しており、現在は友人の家にいるようだ。この記事はルポルタージュのように書かれているのでちょっと独特。この中でどうして Flappy Bird を App Store や Google Play から取り下げたのかが語られている。
As news hit of how much money Nguyen was making, his face appeared in the Vietnamese papers and on TV, which was how his mom and dad first learned their son had made the game. The local paparazzi soon besieged his parents' house, and he couldn't go out unnoticed. While this might seem a small price to pay for such fame and fortune, for Nguyen the attention felt suffocating. "It is something I never want," he tweeted. "Please give me peace."
But the hardest thing of all, he says, was something else entirely. He hands me his iPhone so that I can scroll through some messages he's saved. One is from a woman chastising him for "distracting the children of the world." Another laments that "13 kids at my school broke their phones because of your game, and they still play it cause it's addicting like crack." Nguyen tells me of e-mails from workers who had lost their jobs, a mother who had stopped talking to her kids. "At first I thought they were just joking," he says, "but I realize they really hurt themselves." Nguyen – who says he botched tests in high school because he was playing too much Counter-Strike – genuinely took them to heart.
By early February, the weight of everything – the scrutiny, the relentless criticism and accusations – felt crushing. He couldn't sleep, couldn't focus, didn't want to go outdoors. His parents, he says, "worried about my well-being." His tweets became darker and more cryptic. "I can call 'Flappy Bird' is a success of mine," read one. "But it also ruins my simple life. So now I hate it." He realized there was one thing to do: Pull the game. After tweeting that he was taking it down, 10 million people downloaded it in 22 hours. Then he hit a button, and Flappy Bird disappeared. When I ask him why he did it, he answers with the same conviction that led him to create the game. "I'm master of my own fate," he says. "Independent thinker."
彼はベトナムのハノイに住んでいる。生まれもそこだろう。彼は子供の頃にプレイした Mario Bros. に強く影響を受けた。その好きなゲームのオブジェクトの絵をまねて描いて Flappy Bird を作った。これを公開してから少し経った後、Flappy Bird が急に話題になってパパラッチによって彼の平穏が乱される。
そしてゲームの中毒性から「Flappy Bird が世界の子供を惑わしている」とか、Flappy Bird の所為で「子供が iPhone を壊した」「失職した」「母親が子供に話しかけなくなった」とか言われる。彼にとって「Flappy Bird の所為で」どうのこうのという言葉が一番辛かったらしい。こういうのが重なって Flappy Bird を取り下げるのを決意したようだ。
普通の開発者なら「あなたのゲームの所為で」という言葉には「関係ない」と一蹴して済ませてしまうと思う。それどころか自分で作ったゲームの人気に優越感に浸るところだろう。でも Doug Nguyen は違った。ゲームの所為でプレイヤー生活が悪化したのを重く受け止めている。これは仏教的な発想なのだろうか。ベトナムの宗教のメインは大乗仏教系らしい。なので利他の価値が重いのかもしれない。
それにしてもライターから何故取り下げたんだと訊かれた後の答えが格好いい。「I'm master of my own fate, independent thinker.」。