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Keeping Up with the Shenanigans

Wait… is it April 1st?  With some of the news coming out lately, I’ve found myself checking the calendar a few times more than normal.  If you’re not exactly sure what  news I’m referencing, let me share with you some of the hot news items out lately.

  • The Flappy Bird Saga

imgres-2Now here’s a fascinating tale!  Let me sum it up as quickly as I can.  A Vietnamese indie game developer made an addictive, simple, tap-happy iOS game based on art from Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros, etc.  He launched it in the Spring of 2013, and without a single drop of marketing funds spent, the game became a number one hit by December 2013.  The creator, Dong Nguyen, has been accused of stealing art, game-creation and marketing/ranking fraud, and creating a terrible addiction for society.  Subsequently, he has been threatened and trolled by the masses (which seems to be more and more of a growing trend).  Despite making an estimated $50,000 per day on the wee lil game, he shook his fist at the gods and removed it permanently from app stores.

Now smart phones (still carrying the popular game) have been appearing on the market for resale for those who missed the chance to download, and multiple game clones (both legit and dangerous hacker-versions) have been popping up in app stores.  Flappy Bird: one moment popular yet hated and the next glorified & lamented!

Here’s the endearing kicker: Forbes had quoted Mr Nguyen as saying, “Flappy Bird was designed to play in a few minutes when you are relaxed. But it happened to become an addictive product. I think it has become a problem. To solve that problem, it’s best to take down Flappy Bird. It’s gone forever.”

Well… imagine that! Morals & Social Media Bullying > Massive Income & Game Rankings.

2364405Reddit creators (and trolls) should have a new meme soon: “Disappointing Good Guy Nguyen, Creates fun & engaging games, removes game when he sees it’s become a problem for society.”  You can credit me for that, should any of you start that thread and get Reddit Gold.

  • Dumb Starbucks

imagesNo, I’m not insulting that franchise. Dumb Starbucks is a legitimate thing (or was until a few days ago). Described as a “Parody Art Project,” this silly cafe in Los Angeles has left people head-scratching with a smirk.  I have to say, it really does shine a light on intellectual properties (IP’s), what’s legal, not legal, a gag, and legit business.  Dumb Starbucks is like a tongue-in-cheek homage to something that soaks up most corner stores in all popular downtown areas across the nation.  Needless to say, the Health Inspectors have already closed the location, citing issues with a valid health department permit [wonder who tipped them off to that, hmm?].  It’ll be interesting to see if any legal repercussions come from this (as Starbucks shared with USA Today in an email, “We are evaluating next steps and while we appreciate the humor, they cannot use our name, which is a protected trademark.” Whomp, whomp.).

  • #SochiFail

imgresIf you weren’t following the shenanigans last week from Sochi, then OH! do I have a treat for you.  Journalists and Athletes alike arrived in Sochi, Russia to find a unique adventure nowhere near their wildest expectations.  In the rush to complete such a huge undertaking (you know, welcoming the WORLD to your shores), some vital elements missed the necessary checkmark [✓] on someone’s To Do list.  A large portion of visitors did not have completed rooms (despite bookings MONTHS in advance), some didn’t have water, and a few didn’t have working doorknobs.  Others had questionable toilet situations (multiple toilets, incorrectly assembled toilets, or strict instructions for toilet use), interesting room additions (like unwound fire hoses, uncrated furniture, wireless router ornaments, or poisonous yellow tap water).

2D11548204-td-140208-johny-quinn-930-1.blocks_desktop_mediumNow, while I’ve been bummed out to see American favorites like Shawn White, Bode Miller, and the ladies curling team, amongst others, fall short of their Olympic promise (don’t even get me started on how sad I am to see that our “favorites to win gold” ladies hockey team lost to Canada today), the Sochi Shenanigans (as found at #SochiProblems or @SochiFail) have continued to make me giggle.  Particularly the ongoing trials and tribulations of American Bob Sledder, Johnny Quin, and any portal that opens/closes.

  • Dogecoin, CoinYe, DIY-coin

urlLet me preface this with: I’ve stayed away from the “digital coin” news for months, as it seems a little too close to what is in Hasbro’s Monopoly boxes for me.  Don’t get me wrong!  I love social and digital innovation.  Truly, it’s so very interesting to me.  But when Bitcoin gained popularity and traction in the news, I listened to logic from the brilliant people around me about the art of farming and where the value lends itself.  I didn’t get it then, and I still don’t (perhaps, that’s where I fail).  I had a long conversation with a beloved friend of mine who has relatively NO digital footprint whatsoever, and often rants about how the apocalypse is coming, and how he will survive NBC’s Revolution style when the Internet collapses and everything “tech” is lost.  Having heard about Bitcoin on his radio, this friend called me up and asked, “If this is a real thing, what is going to stop others from randomly creating currency?” To which I replied, “I’m not sure.”

Last week we published a fascinating post by our very own Matt Hostler about Dogecoin.  Yes, it’s a digital currency related to Doge, the dog meme competitor to the infamous Cat/IHasCheesburger meme.  As the current Blog Master of Metaverse Mod Squad (yes, you can complain to me about editorial/grammatical errors – I’m sorry!), I happily must read all posts prior to publishing on our glorious blog.  The subject of Matt’s post made me want to cackle like a crazed loon.  What has the world come to?!  There are MULTIPLE digital coins that carry recognized value, beyond Bitcoin?  Yes.  They’re called “altcoins” and fall under the category of cryptocurrency.

imgres-1January 2014 brought us the rise and fall of CoinYeWest.  Apparently Mr. Kanye West didn’t appreciate appearing on satirical currency (despite growing digital value).  There are many other variations of currency as well, should you be interested.  Or, you could just create your own Bitcoin clone with the help of this Coingen Beta program.

I have to say, if 2014 carries on like this — we’re in for quite a ride folks.  Here’s to the shenanigans yet to come, folks!  And please share any additional news stories you’ve come across in 2014 that seem a little unbelievable, or chuckle-worthy. 

Izzy Neis
Director of Digital Engagement

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Talk Back

Posted on February 12, 2014

Glad to hear Dumb Starbucks was shut down. I really dislike the attitude of the guys who started it. Sure, it’s funny and I agree, but the way they went about it was really underhanded.

The owner even admitted he literally just wanted the money of the Starbucks branding without paying for a franchise… Or maintaining any quality standards Starbucks would require. Plus, it’s exploiting Fair Use in a way that no lawyer of a company would let stand, which is just one short jump away from a trial that changes Fair Use so that YouTube videos about Video Games couldn’t exist, or Weird Al could no longer make actual parody videos.

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