This Looks Familiar

Money has become the sole influence in the determination of what is permitted to function successfully in today’s society. As Brice states that capitalism has overtaken an individual’s judgement of what is perceived as valuable and invaluable, she presents the example of Flappy Bird’s past presence in the app store as both successful and the focus of criticism.

As individuals attempt to navigate a flying bird between strategically placed pipes in the game, it was “billed as theft” since these pipes depicted a similar resemblance to those found in Super Mario (Brice). The criticism directed towards Flappy Bird demonstrates Brice’s argument of capitalism as the deciding factor of value since the amount of money generated by the game, along with its popularity among individuals, was directed towards the idea that the game was incorporating and presenting familiarity to the public. The creator had capitalized on the notion of nostalgia from the 80’s and 90’s by introducing the population to an already established and well known form that is Super Mario in order to make the public more inclined to play, purchase, and devote their attention to (Brice).

From Flappy Bird’s success, it introduces the notion of how capitalism controls which games are valued, paid attention to, and listened to by how they appear in the gaming community. Given the global success of Super Mario, Flappy Bird’s incorporation of “green pipes”, a form of familiarity to the public, allows the audience to establish a link of value between the two games since one success attributed to Super Mario can be duplicated with Flappy Bird. It is due to this association that allows capitalism to determine what constitutes value since games that contain a reference enables them to make money (Brice). A similar process has been seen with Candy Crush Saga as other games have been released with candies incorporated in its gaming narrative as an attempt to gain popularity and recognition. As developer King aimed to destroy other games with the words “candy” and “saga”, it has attempted to rid the amount of other games’ use of candy since this reference would have attracted individuals and earned a similar recognition (Brice).

By referencing successive games, it demonstrates that the goal for these new works is to make money and appear valuable to the public. They begin to follow and incorporate an already established reference in order to ensure that their game will carry a similar success. Since Candy Crush has established itself as a “successful” game, other games have incorporated similar references of candy to generate success themselves. This is done for the purpose of directing the consumers attention towards their game with the hopes of generating money. Since “a game makes money off of having a reference, maybe, to a ‘real’ game” (Brice), the consumer recognizes a familiarity to the game and correlates its reference to how valuable the game can be since it has already proven its value on the market in the former game. Due to this notion, it has become how much money a game has earned that supplies its value as other games have taken the action to accompany similar instances within their own game.

The notion of capitalism demonstrating what is valuable and invaluable has built a narrative of success in the gaming community (Brice). Games that incorporate references to already successful games know what works and what qualifies as value in a what’s good for the goose is good for the gander mindset. As one game reaches a level of success, other games will aim to stay within those similar boundaries and conventions of what is proven to be just as valuable. These similarities are therefore implemented within other games as an insurance policy to project their game as valuable and worthy of the public’s attention.


Brice, Mattie. “Our Flappy Dystopia.Alternate Ending. 10 February 2014. Accessed 18     January 2016.


This Looks Familiar

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