Flappy Bird: A note about 8-bit sprites

February 9, 2014 at 6:08 pm | Posted in Video Games | 5 Comments
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All other things aside, as someone who has had to create both 8-bit and 16-bit sprites… When I read captions like these: “look how similar these are, this is ripped art” alongside images like this:

Flappy Bird 1

I feel the need to point out that 8-bit graphics with such severe palette and size limitations will all end up looking pretty similar. As the image below says, Flappy Bird and a Cheep Cheep look no more similar than a Cheep Cheep and a vast array of NES sprites pulled from multiple different NES games from multiple different companies.

Flappy Bird 2

The same can be said about pipes with such graphical limitations (friends of mine who had to create faux 3D metal in the NES era and before will all attest to this). It saddens me that death threats and other cruel forms of vitriol are being slung over something like this.

similar vs ripping off 2


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  1. Thank you for posting this Laura. 8-bit art is very limited in nature, so you are going to get “ripped art” with it.

  2. Thanks for this post, Laura. I used to create 8-bit sprites for an educational game company back in the day, and as someone who understands the similarity between sprites that share such limitations, I find it absurd that folks are accusing him of stealing art from Mario.

    I know you didn’t go into details about the gameplay, but I’d also like to add that I think it’s ridiculous that folks complain of its similarity to Piou Piou. Both games utilize the game mechanic of controlling one’s character via tapping the screen to go up, and letting go to fall. This is the cornerstone of so many iPhone games, and I don’t think it should belong to any one game in particular. Of course games based off of that will seem similar!

    p.s. I love that you made that image. You know your retro games 🙂

  3. Thank you too Laura for speaking up about this.

  4. I totally agree! When I saw the original article accusing him of “ripping” off art, the first thing I thought of was the little bird from Mega Man. The sprites they claimed were so similar to Flappy Bird are just as similar to a ton of other Nintendo sprites. Good job with the picture, that captured my sentiments exactly 😀

  5. Wow there are lot more cute bird. i know cheep cheep and beat. What the others? May i know?

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