By Lang Whitaker, NBA.com
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Have you played the game Flappy Bird on your cellphone? If not, well, that’s too bad, because the game is no longer on the market — the game’s creator removed it from the app store a few weeks back. If you downloaded the game before it left the market, you can still play, but I would advise against this. Why? Because it’s a horribly addictive game. On this point, I can speak from experience.
Flappy Bird is about as simple as they come: You tap the screen over and over to navigate your bird through a series of openings in pipes. Touch a pipe, your bird crashes to earth. That’s it. It’s easy to figure out, easy to control, but the game is just tough enough to make it maddeningly difficult. But as simple as it is, as addictive as it is, there is some terrible zen to be found by hypnotically getting lost in trying to improve upon what you’ve already done.
This has apparently been learned in Minnesota, where as Steve McPherson reports in a fun piece for True Hoop, Flappy Bird has become all the rage in the Timberwolves’ locker room. The top three scorers? Third is Ronny Turiaf with 113; second place belongs to Ricky Rubio with 187. first place belongs to Chase Budinger, who somehow has racked up 327 points. As someone who has spent, ahem, more than a few hours playing Bird, my brain literally cringed a little when I read that score for the first time.
Anyway, as Budinger explains to McPherson…
Budinger will be difficult to top; he has a deep yet nuanced understanding of the game and what it takes to win. “All you do is tap the screen,” he says. “The bird flaps and you gotta go through tunnels. The way to do best at that game is you need to be somewhere alone and quiet. I think on the plane is a good time to play. Or on the bus, even though you’re moving a little bit.”
“Right now,” says Turiaf, “Chase is claiming that when you play without the sound, it helps you get better.”
Apparently, there’s one player who needs to put it on vibrate. Asked who on the team is the worst, Turiaf replies, “By far, and I mean by far: Corey Brewer.”
“I think his high is six,” Budinger says.
Brewer, trotting through the locker room behind Budinger, growls, “Get off me, man. I got seven. Seven’s my high.”
I have to admit, Corey Brewer is a man after my own heart. Or at least my low score.