Some Thursday ASEAN links:
Dong Nguyen, the Vietnamese creator of viral mobile gaming sensation Flappy Bird, has indicated that the clumsy avian could make a comeback in the future.
Speaking with Rolling Stone, the 28-year-old programmer also discussed his decision to pull the successful app while announcing several new games that he’s working on.
Nguyen announced in February that he would remove the free-to-play game from online marketplaces – despite the fact that he was earning $50,000 a week in ad revenue. After it vanished, death threats and rumors of his suicide spread across the Internet. Smartphones with the app installed were selling for thousands of dollars on auction sites.
Before long, Nguyen was being hounded by paparazzi. Emails accused him of peddling a game that was ruining lives.
“One [came] from a woman chastising him for ‘distracting the children of the world.’ Another laments that ‘13 kids at my school broke their phones because of your game, and they still play it cause it’s addicting like crack.’ Nguyen tells… of e-mails from workers who had lost their jobs, a mother who had stopped talking to her kids,” wrote Rolling Stone. “‘At first I thought they were just joking,’ he says, ‘but I realize they really hurt themselves.’ Nguyen – who says he botched tests in high school because he was playing too much Counter-Strike – genuinely took them to heart.”
When asked if he would re-release Flappy Bird, Nguyen said that he was “considering it” – but only if it includes a warning that tell people to “take a break.”
Nguyen also revealed three new games in his pipeline: a cowboy-themed shooter, a chess game and a flying game called Kitty Jetpack. One will be released this month.
As the missing Malaysia Airlines flight mystery continues, new information has surfaced about a pilot who was onboard.
Fariq Ab Hamid, flight MH370’s first officer, allegedly invited strangers into the aircraft’s cockpit on previous trips. Jonti Roos, an Australian teenager, told reporters that she was invited to the cockpit by Hamid three years ago.
“[Roos] and a friend were waiting for a flight in 2011 when Hamid and another pilot asked them if they wanted to sit in the cockpit during the flight,” said CNN. “Roos and her friend agreed and went to their assigned seats when they boarded. Later they were escorted to the cockpit, she said, and they were there for the rest of the flight.”
Roos, who is also Facebook friends with Hamid, added that the pilots posed for pictures while in the air, though she claims that it wasn’t a distraction.
Malaysia Airlines said it was “shocked” by the allegations.
Meanwhile, The Bank of Thailand announced that it would cut interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point to 2 percent, the lowest level since 2011 floods crippled the economy.
Ongoing government protests in Bangkok and elsewhere were blamed for the rate reduction.
“Political unrest has delayed billions of dollars of infrastructure investment, which had been the cornerstone of the country’s growth plan,” wrote FT. “The central bank described the main challenges facing the economy as ‘not financial in nature.’”
Thai growth forecasts for the fiscal year have been cut to roughly 3 percent as household debt has risen to 80 percent of GDP.