Tap to flap, fly to earn… NFT game Fancy Birds aims for Flappy Bird-level addiction
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If the wild success of the original Flappy Bird is anything to go by, upcoming play-to-earn NFT game Fancy Birds might just take off. At least, that’s what notable DeFi identities backing the mobile tap-flapper are hoping. Stockhead caught up with the game’s founders…
Hi, Fancy Birds team. Please describe your NFT gaming project for us in one sentence.
Earn while you play your favourite mini-games on the go – waiting in lines, at home, and as you travel.
Tell us why you think the world’s ready for another 8-bit, flap-happy phenomenon… and why you think lightning in a bottle can be captured for a second time on such a seemingly simple concept.
Just as the humble ball is still a mainstay in physical sports, proven gameplay mechanics and loops will forever be mainstays in esports. Arguably the biggest and fastest-growing video game user demographic is the casual gamer.
So, with the current rise in the popularity of NFTs and blockchain gaming this makes for the perfect time to reintroduce these types of games. Plus, we’ll have more gameplay modes to come based on other popular and proven game mechanics.
Can play-to-earn mechanics make Fancy Birds even more addictive than the original game it’s drawn inspiration from?
Absolutely. Play-to-earn matched with simple gameplay aimed at casual gamers is a recipe for addiction. Play-to-earn while waiting in line at the store? Yes, please! We also plan on taking the game loop and adding on more depth and layers to really create something more than just an addicting game. Mix in the viral nature of streaming with a multiplayer mode, and Fancy Games will have an addictive and competitive landscape.
Is there also a kind of gamers’ nostalgia factor you’re tapping into here (pun intended), despite the original Flappy Bird only being about eight or nine years old?
For sure. And it’s not just Flappy Bird to be nostalgic about, as the original inspiration for the game mechanics comes from the old Mario games’ underwater levels. There will be many nostalgic game modes to come after the initial release.
So overall, what are the main factors you think will take Fancy Birds to the next level, beyond super-simple gameplay?
Unique gameplay, play-to-earn mechanics, rewards and competitive play. And we have breeding gamification as well, which we think is a unique way to reward the NFT breeders. There is also more lore and opportunity for seasonal content through Fancy. We think the multiplayer game mode with competition amongst peers and influencers will really take Fancy Birds to the next level.
In order to play the game, players need to get themselves a Fancy Bird NFT – do the birds vary in value?
The NFTs that will be available to start are the unique bird skins, eggs and collaborative skins via our shop. So, the bird will act as entry to play. If you hold a bird you can access the game and its earnings. And that’s right, certain birds – for example, genesis, mutated or unique – have their own different value and utility.
And what’s the in-game currency that players can earn through the game?
All birds will be able earn the Fancy Games token ($FNC) as they progress through daily quests, leaderboard challenges and multiplayer games.
Does the $FNC token have any particular utility or staking functionality?
Yep! So $FNC will serve as the main governance token for the entire Fancy Birds ecosystem – everything is governed by the token. And $FNC will also be used for staking amongst several in-game utility aspects.
Everything we design in the game is made with the utility of $FNC in mind. We will have breeding, tournaments, customisation and our shop to start, as well as some unannounced things in development.
What sort of return on play (ROP – is that a thing? It is now!) could devoted players of this game expect?
Potential fluctuations in price of $FNC make it impossible to form exact numbers, but it should be entirely possible for a dedicated gamer to earn some decent “fun money” for playing… while others may choose to flex and spend much more than they earn to show off their profiles, skins, breed and compete.
The Axie Infinity play-to-earn crypto game blew up in a big way this year, with gamers in some countries giving up day jobs to make more money playing the game. Is it, er, fanciful to think people could go down the same path with Fancy Birds?
I don’t think anyone can predict that, the same way Axie didn’t really see the rise of “scholarships” and its popularity as an income source in the Philippines.
The notion of people earning as a secondary income is more appealing. Although, we won’t know the impacts until the community gets their hands on it to play!
To get the most out of it from a returns POV, it’s something that needs to be played rather than… “buy token, hope number go up” – would that be accurate?
It’s definitely designed to draw you in with simple mechanics and extensive possibilities which can totally encourage players to dig in and earn. But for those even too casual to game at all, there’s always the simple collectibles aspect plus the option to breed. And, yep, some investors might just speculate on the $FNC price without getting into the NFTs.
How will the the breeding aspect work? Is this something that’ll potentially bring more value to the NFT birds?
We’re keeping it very simple, two birds can breed to create an egg. Although, we’ve added some gamification to breeding with mutations, and hunting for “uniques”.
Mutations will be rare traits that can happen to any egg. They’ll carry select traits that will actually increase your daily earning cap. Our uniques will be able to be found randomly by our breeders which can be one-of-one designs or unique colourways.
Nice. Will rarer birds have special abilities? Or is the game largely a level playing field for all, no matter the bird?
Right now everything is cosmetic. We don’t want whales coming in and immediately earning top rewards due to a “meta”. We want to keep this skill based to earn. There are some mutation traits that will allow you to raise your cap of earning – similar to owning more Axies.
Is there a benefit to trying to grab one of the 8,888 “Genesis” birds? And why 8,888?
The Genesis birds will always be super special. In addition to being the “first edition” they will also be the main breeding source for all other playable birds as well as the source for inheritable traits that may turn out to be super rare.
As for the number, it doesn’t have any particular significance. We just wanted to keep the Genesis pool smaller, a bit more exclusive, and we saw a lot of projects that had 10,000 mints, so we decided on 8,888.
You’re building on Ethereum and the layer 2 solution Immutable X, is that right? Weren’t tempted to go with Solana or Avalanche or something else?
Yeah, we recently announced Immutable X as our home. We really thought this through for a long time, but decided as a P2E game we want to be in the best ecosystem for our community and really see IMX as being the top platform for said games.
And that’s mainly due to there being no gas fees on the network, while maintaining decentralised security. We just think this is the best home to build a network of games for casual gamers. We have a “Treehouse Diaries” article that goes a bit deeper into why we chose IMX if you want to check that out.
Looks like you’re playing into crypto meme territory with the pixelated art and design aesthetics. Will we be seeing Pepe frogbirds, Elon Musk birds, McDonald’s-hat-wearing birds… that kind of thing?
Anything is possible. We want this to be a fun, creative and exciting game that doesn’t take itself too seriously. We do have some exclusive collaboration skins lined up with Illuvium, which are super cool, and others yet to be announced publicly. Our store will be hosting new limited skins and collaborations all the time, so keep your eye on it.
Speaking of Illuvium, we noticed its founder Kieran (Warwick) tweet about the lack of a Flappy Bird-style crypto game. Then you guys replied… and now you have the backing of some serious DeFi royalty! Forget stuffy boardrooms – is Crypto Twitter where the best deals are cut in this industry?
Yes! A Lot of people think this was staged, which is hilarious. One of our early community members actually got my attention about Kieran’s post. Then I made a reply to Kieran, not really expecting anything. But here we are! Crypto Twitter is like the social-media metaverse for the blockchain gaming industry.
— Fancy Birds | Play2Earn | IMX (@Fancybirdsio) September 27, 2021
So among the early backers, you’ve now got Kieran, and his brother Kain (Synthetix), Santiago Santos (formerly ParaFi Capital), plus other luminaries from Aave, Barnbridge, Sushi and more. Guess they all see the same thing in the project you guys do?
The concept has even surprised us with its ability to captivate people. But we honestly believe it’s the simplicity of the concept and the security of the play-to-earn that attracts everyone. Our backers are very smart and very wise and we’re sure they recognise the allure that we see in it.
Got any other big investors showing interest – venture capital firms?
We’re speaking with some strategic VCs, but we want the main round to be led by major guilds. Stay tuned for more info as it becomes public.
Do you see smaller play-to-earn games like this one having a real opportunity as flag-bearers, funnelling in more of the mainstream to blockchain/crypto gaming?
We definitely think there is a need for casual onboarding to the play-to-earn space. We wanted to fill the niche of the casual gamer and everyday mobile user. Not everyone has hours to sink into an RPG in hopes of rewards. We think this will be a great way to onboard people into the play-to-earn space and an easy way to show the mainstream how NFTs can be used to expand a game’s depth.
Are there any intellectual property issues with Fancy Birds that you need to negotiate? Think there was talk about Nintendo potentially suing the original Flappy Bird creator at one point, although that never eventuated…
We were aware of the Nintendo issues and did not include any of their IP in our game. Our birds were created from scratch as well as our levels, art, sounds and music along with our own code and engineering.
Fair enough. The team’s names and backgrounds – are you going semi-anonymous or pseudonymous for now, in true crypto “degen” style?
We’re public to our investors and advisers, but we’ve decided to limit our full public exposure until after the release of the game.
Do crypto-project teams go anon due to concerns about a still-murky regulatory climate in the US and other jurisdictions regarding DeFi and GameFi?
Well, from our point of view, we are a fully decentralised DAO, with team members around the world who hold a completely law-abiding agenda, so we don’t fear any current regulations. But, we’re always vigilant and respectful for any regulatory framework that may have any impact on the DAO’s structure.
What’s on the Fancy Birds roadmap that’s got you focused right now?
Live multiplayer! We can’t wait for people to start flexing their birds in a race and on the leaderboards. We also have another feature race mode that we’re working closely on that has yet to be announced in detail. We can’t give all of the game modes away just yet…
We see you’ve got tournaments and a world expansion? Buzzword alert… are we talking “metaverse” and gaming-world collabs here?
Fancy Birds will definitely be taking part in the metaverse. Our Treehouse is already being built in Decentraland. And we plan on expanding with new game modes, shop updates, exciting collaborations and other unique races. We want to take this beyond the core mechanics of what players may be anticipating from a tap-style game.
Cool. And finally, are there any specific dates of significance for Fancy Birds that interested readers should be aware of?
Just be sure to follow the latest updates from Twitter and especially Discord. Our Early Bird whitelist spots are currently up for grabs. After the public sale and Early Bird whitelist spots are finished, we’ll release the date of the Genesis Mint, which will then mark the start of the game!
You can learn more about the Fancy Birds play-to-earn mobile game on its website.
Stockhead has not provided, endorsed or otherwise assumed responsibility for any financial product advice contained in this article.
At the time of writing, the author holds several crypto assets, including Bitcoin and Ethereum, and has made an early-stage investment in the $FNC token.