Dong Nguyen, the creator of mobile sensation Flappy Bird, has withdrawn the game from the App Store and Google Play following accusations of plagiarism.
Just last week Nguyen told The Verge that the simple game - where players tap the screen to keep the titular Flappy Bird in the air and avoid crashing it into pipes - was attracting a reported $50,000 a day from in-app advertising thanks to the game's widespread popularity.
The accusations of plagiarism came from a variety of sources, though perhaps none so prominent as Kotaku, who highlighted the similarities between Flappy Bird and various art assets from Super Mario Bros..
In the wake of that report and others, Nguyen took to Twitter to explain how he felt: "I can call ‘Flappy Bird' a success of mine. But it also ruins my simple life. So now I hate it."
That was followed by this statement, again on Twitter, that said: "I am sorry ‘Flappy Bird' users, 22 hours from now, I was take ‘Flappy Bird' down. I cannot take this anymore."
It was that statement, along with the subsequent withdrawal of the game (you can no longer download it, although it still works if you've already got it), that provoked perhaps the most alarming part of this whole situation, as fans of the game turned on Nguyen and issued death and suicide threats to him via Twitter.
Eli Langer assembled this timeline of events via Twitter, whereby the game's creator was threatened with murder for stating his intention to remove the game after the unwanted attention it had received from certain quarters.
The furious response from fans indicates just how popular the game has become. Now opportunists are trying to take advantage of this popularity by selling iPhones with the game pre-installed on eBay.
It's a tricky situation whichever way you look at it. While there's an obvious amount of homage in the game's design, it does raise the old debate regarding inspiration and cloning in gaming. Where Flappy Bird sits relative to that discussion is still open to interpretation.
What we do know is that there's plenty of clones of Flappy Bird already on the market, so players looking for a 'tap tap tap' fix will at least be able to find it somewhere, even if the game that started it all is no longer available to download.