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The Squalid Grace of Flappy Bird

The Squalid Grace of Flappy Bird Ian Bogost The Atlantic


If you look past the familiar shimmer of Super Mario Bros. and Super Bowl Sunday, there in the middle you will find the unsung paragons of gaming: games like Chess and Go and Backgammon; Tic-Tac-Toe and Dots and Boxes and Crosswords; Monopoly and Candy Land and Sorry!. These are games that frustrate more than they titillate, because operating them involves minimal effort yet considerable misery. It’s not the misery of boredom or stupidity, but the misery of repetition. The misery of knowing what you want to accomplish but not being able to, whether thanks to the plodding pace of a child’s board game, or the bottomless strategic depth of a folk classic. Whereas football yields its beauty through the practiced triumph of the human body and will over circumstance, Sorry! delivers only the stupid, gratuitous anguish caused by our decision to play it in the first place.

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