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Flappy Bird clone hacked into playable macOS push notification

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Shown off in a proof-of-concept video

The video shows the game playable in a push notification.
Screenshot: Twitter / Neil Sardesai

In a new video, a developer has shown off a playable version of viral hit Flappy Bird running inside a macOS push notification. It’s the work of Neil Sardesai, who previously made headlines with a clip of Pong running inside a macOS app icon. The hack has yet to receive a public release, but it’s still a neat proof of concept.

According to Sardesai, the feature works by loading a web version of the game into the notification. This playable version is technically a browser-based clone of the original app made by Will Eastcott of PlayCanvas. Sardesai notes that the feature relies on the UserNotificationsUI framework, introduced by Apple with macOS Big Sur, though he says it should also work on iOS.

Distracting notifications are bad enough when you’re trying to get some work done, but combining them with a playable version of an infamously addictive game is the final straw. Sardesai doesn’t appear to have released his work publicly for anyone to try out, which is probably a good thing for the sake of our sanity. After all, the last thing humanity needs right now is for our devices to be able to compel us to play several rounds of Flappy Bird with just a simple notification.

Flappy Bird’s addictive nature was cited by its developer as one of the reasons he removed it from the App Store after it became a hit in 2014. “It happened to become an addictive product. I think it has become a problem,” Dong Nguyen said in an interview at the time. Although the original game is gone from the App Store, numerous clones have surfaced in its wake, including an excellent battle royale version.