Help Najam Sethi's 'chirya' collect gossip in this desi spin on Flappy BirdPakistan
After 'Go Nawaz Go' and 'Gullu [Butt]', the latest game to join the ranks of games inspired by Pakistan's political happenings is the humorous 'Najam ki chirya' [Najam's bird].
The central character of the game — or 'Desi Flappy Bird' as some are calling it — is Najam Sethi, a prominent TV journalist and former caretaker chief minister of Punjab.
The game, which is available for free download, has been designed by OffRoad Studios, a Lahore-based international digital agency, which has themed it around the popular talkshow 'Aapas Ki Baat'.
In case the 'chirya' pun is lost on you, it is inspired by Sethi's frequent mentions of a 'chirya' — a reference to top political sources — that delivers what he says is the inside scoop from the political scene.
Tap your fingers on the screen to make Najam's chirya remain airborne and navigate between pillars (upright and inverted) to accumulate gossip from around the country.
"He has mentioned the power of his Chirya time and time again... so why not build a game around it?" says Huma Tariq, a development executive at OffRoad Studios.
"We wanted to create a fun localised game for Pakistan, something that people will be able to connect with and enjoy."
Explore: Najam Sethi: Chirping away facts
The game has a vibrant, user-friendly interface coupled with a catchy tune playing in the background.
What makes this game really attractive, however, is that navigating the bird through the pillar posts is not boring, unlike the original Flappy Bird.
Adorning the columns are colourful images of all that makes the news in Pakistan. From Ayesha Sana's 'bright karein' look, the Pope, televangelist Amir Liaquat, Zubeida Apa to Malala and Imran Khan's retro look from the 90s — the pillars make for an amusing gallery in the game.
Fly carefully through each pillar without touching its edges and you score not a mundane point — but a 'punture [sic]'. Your top score, naturally, is called 'bara punture'.
The story of 'punctures' dates back to last year when PTI Chairman Imran Khan accused Sethi of fixing '35 punctures', which referred to alleged electoral rigging in 35 constituencies of Punjab, but later brushed it aside as "political statement".
Sadly enough, my luck at this Flappy Bird twin is just as bad as the original game that made millions across the world pull their hair out of frustration. My 'bara punture' is therefore a modest 21.
Besides the comical posters on the pillar and the fun gameplay, Najam ki chirya is punctuated in the background with Sethi's quirky statements in his own voice such as "Ooh wahan to mein puncture nahi laga sakta tha" [Ooh, I could not fix that puncture] and "Teri chirya aedi zero hai kasam khuda ki" [I swear to god, your bird/source is a flop].
What also makes this game a great time-killer is that its difficulty level isn't impossibly hard, and with sufficient practice you can become a pro.
The game is generally lag-free but goes into a perennial loading mode when it attempts to connect to Google Play right when you're in the middle of scoring a punture.
The game would have been better if it allowed players to choose the difficulty level with respect to the speed of the flying bird.
If you happen to closely follow Pakistani politics, love mobile games or are just bored at doctor's waiting lounge, Najam ki chirya is the game for you.
With adequate practice, you can score more and more 'puntures', lending an ear to Mr Sethi's musings and spotting celebrities on the way.
The writer is a Dawn.com staff member.
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