Somewhere in 2013, an annoyingly addictive game Flappy Bird was first released. But it was only a year later when it suddenly took the world by storm. The 2D side scrolling bird game was even pulled from the app stores, as the developer received life threats. But one mystery remained. Does it ever end or the fat lipped bird goes on flying forever? Since then, there have been hundreds of videos uploaded to YouTube on how you encounter an old-school Mario character when you reach level 999. Even big publications had picked the story back then. Some said that it’s a cleverly faked video, but had no proof. So, I decided to dig into game to find out the truth whether flappy bird ends.
Before we tear apart the game file, it’s essential to understand what are sprites. According to Google, it is a computer graphic which may be moved on-screen and otherwise manipulated as a single entity. Didn’t get it, uh?
Let me explain. Basically, Sprites are a collection of all the images used in any program/website in one single file. You can then display a particular image from the large sprite in your program at different instances. Lately, it is being used in websites. You may wonder what are it’s advantages. It reduces load on the server as it has to fetch a single image (sprite) instead of fetching individual images. Then CSS can be used to position individual images on a web page. Thus it saves bandwidth, reduces server load and file size.
Tearing apart the Flappy Bird game
Android Apps, have the extension APK and it’s content can be browsed by opening them in any compression software like WinZip or WinRAR. So, I opened the Flappy Bird APK in WinRAR and got the following contents.
Next, I browsed to the assets > GFX folder and came across a sprite file atlas.png containing all the graphics used in the Flappy Bird. You can see it in the below picture.
As you can see, there’s no image of any Super Mario or other old-school character appearing at any stage in the game.
So there you have it, there’s no Mario encounter when you reach level 999 or anything like that. The Flappy Bird does not end and simply goes on continuously forever. The videos have been clearly faked and it’s disgusting that even some big sites have picked up the story of Flappy bird meeting Mario at level 999.
Now I can rest in peace. Until I hear the annoying Flappy bird game sound again from my neighbor.