I think I'm going to just release a game called "Push the Button". There's a big red button in the middle of the goddamned screen and the objective is to push it as many times as you can. As long as I don't kill a guy in Guam, I think I'll be set for life; I base this assumption on the H.L. Mencken conjecture.
I tech various programming technologies. One lecture on web session handling I showed a big red button app running on a local intranet server. The problem was it had a leaderboad in it. I completely lost the class after they got the URL. One pair even went so far as to figure out how to share their session so they could combine their clicks.
It's been tried as a joke not unlike yours, under the name ‘Click a cow’, and made a lot of money and many enthusiast (many ironically) players. Apparently, what you are set for life with are unending questions about the nature of what is fun, and designing meta-games.
Bonus points for adding Ren & Stimpy audio quotes.
Narrator: How can he possibly resist the maddening urge to erradicate history at the mere push of a single button? The beautiful, shiny button? The jolly, candy-like button? Will he hold out, folks? Can he hold out?
Funny enough, this was exactly my reaction to the Flappy Bird phenomenon—got the game idea email in my sent-to-self box from a few days ago. It's a neat, tidy concept too when you add a high score list but the only way to make it on the list is to lose the game.
But of course the trick is to get the right 500 people telling their friends about the game, and, well, who has the time and money to bother with figuring that out?
Since the button is red, get Coke to pay you to put their logo on it. With 100M downloads, you can deliver millions of hours of exposure to the Coke logo per day. There's your $50K/day :) Now all you have to do is get 100M downloads and you're good to go.
If you look at the iOS App Store, all of these "clones" are in the top 15:
2. Fly Birdie
5. Flappy Bee
15. Flappy Plane
I'm sure more will come, but it's still crazy to me that there are 4 apps that all have essentially the same mechanics. It also makes me wonder how long the app store will ride out helicopter style games.
I jokingly said to my roommates tonight, "we should just make a mini putt clone for iOS." Seems like I never have any idea anymore of which old arcade or flash based hit will pop up on my phone with a fresh look as the #1 app.
Dragonsden on the C64, from 1983, is the oldest game I remember that relies on the "press something to move up a discrete amount" mechanic, though it would be totally unsurprising if there are older examples:
yeah, as ChrisClark mentioned, it was late and I decided to call them "helicopter style games", since I think the first one I ever played in this style was the helicopter one (I think on addicting games or something). Does anyone know the official name for this style of press / tap to play game?
Realistically, as a programmer, you know the market is about to be SUPER saturated. In my opinion these people know they are being scammy, so the only appropriate response is to scam them back: build one Flappy Bird clone, sell this one clone to each of the hundreds of people trying to get rich off of you, and cackle to yourself while the world burns with countless Flappy Bird clones.
Just another variant on the classic advice that the best place to be in a gold rush is to be the person selling the shovels.
I wouldn't waste my time building my own clone, because aside from being completely unfulfilling, it's also likely to make no money for me by the time I get it done. But I'd happily charge my standard consulting rate to build one for somebody else, and let them eat the probable loss.
If I was a good Android programmer, I don't know if I would feel good about releasing a game clone. But if someone is paying me to simply code it, I'd just take it as an assignment and get it done for a decent amount of cash.
You tap the screen to make a candy-colored bird jump over, or dodge under, obstacles of a jungle theme. Anyone is free to build this out but I'd like .01% of the profits for the idea, and I'd like to be credited as the inventor :-)
More likely it's because those jobs are submitted by a bunch of clueless wannabe tech millionaires who've never worked with a programmer in real life and have no clue about what is involved—all they know is it's a pretty simple game.
It's kind of sould deadening to see jobs like "Port small IOS / Android Game to Windows Phone 8 - tight deadline" going for $150...but maybe they'll get what they pay for, and perhaps learn from the experience.
To be honest flappy bird, is a clone. Karma in action. Also it's such a simplistic game, that the easiness of "cloning" it attracts the copiers. Imagine if it was an innovative, highly technological app.... Much harder to clone.
Just as an aside about Flappy Bird, pulling in Bitcoin given it's another hot topic -- on Android he used the AndEngine project (http://www.andengine.org/). It's interesting to see that the project has received absolutely no donations/tips at all.