Apps That Had 15 Minutes of Fame


Izzy Welch

Popular word game WORDLE

Have you ever wondered what happened to once-popular apps, such as or Pokémon Go? One day, all anyone can talk about is “this new app that you need to download,” but soon after, you haven’t visited it in months. So many apps have become popular– seemingly out of nowhere– yet as quickly as they became popular, it’s seen rotting in your app library. In any case, here are five apps that took over our phones and laptops, only to disappear not long after. 

Among Us 

Among Us was released on June 15, 2018, but had a spike in players around September 2020 and continued into 2021. Among Us is a survival game set on a spaceship with a crew of other astronauts (crewmates). Within the crew is an impostor whose job is to be the last one standing. To do this, the impostor must either get rid of the other crewmates or get everyone else voted out. At the peak of the game, there were only three roles: Crewmate, Impostor, or Ghost, but thanks to recent updates, a variety of roles have been introduced including Scientist, Shapeshifter, Engineer, or Guardian Angel. Aside from the gameplay, a fun aspect of Among Us was the ability to play with friends. When Among Us was popular, up to 60 million people played it daily. However, the game died about as quickly as it blew up. There are many different explanations as to why the game didn’t survive the test of time such as its “basic design” or the lack of quick updates, but regardless of the buzz, Among Us has declined in popularity. 

Animal Crossing: New Horizon 

Animal Crossing: New Horizons (ACNH) was released on March 20, 2020, with the original Animal Crossing (Nintendo 64) being released on April 14, 2001. The game became popular during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. In ACNH, players can control a character who moves to an empty island, and throughout the game, can evolve this island by building houses and shops, as well as inviting human-like animals to come and live with them. Animal Crossing alone is an objectively fun game. With island customization, online playing, and no defined right or wrong way to play, the game promoted creativity, as not one island was the same. The spike in players was greatly affected by the start of the pandemic and having to quarantine inside. During this time, escapism through the use of video games, especially multiplayer games, caused an influx of game users. Although you will still see ACNH merchandise around, it is uncommon to hear about the actual game anymore. 


Poparazzi was released on May 24th, 2021, and gained traction not too long after. Poparazzi is a  social media app where friends can take candid photos of you and post them to your profile. The app mainly became popular among high schoolers with its central advertising on TikTok. Poparazzi reached #1 on the App Store and had 5 million users, so it’s natural to wonder what exactly happened to this popular app. One problem people have observed is the authenticity of the app. Although the point is to have the photos be candid or unplanned, people could still technically plan out a photo or take one themselves. Another possible reason the app cooled down may have simply been that over time, the app ceased to be as new and exciting. After a while, taking pictures of your friends and posting them becomes less entertaining, especially when there are many photos on the profile already. However, even if the game is not currently a sensation, it can still be a great app for friends to enjoy. 


Wordle, based on the word puzzle “Wordle: The Party Game”, was released in October 2021. Wordle is a puzzle where players get a certain amount of tries to guess a word by typing in various five-letter words. The squares turn green if a letter is correct and in the correct space, yellow if the letter is correct but belongs somewhere else in the word, or the letter stays gray if it isn’t in the word at all. The New York Times bought Wordle less than a year after its release and has kept it as a free puzzle that changes every day. The puzzle peaked sometime in February of 2022 but has lost over half of its users since then. People used to play this game every day and post their results, or talk to their friends about its difficulty, yet, Wordle too was eventually forgotten. A large reason could be a lack of variation. Like all apps and games, a lack of variety can make it feel repetitive after prolonged usage. Regardless, Wordle will always hold a special place in the hearts of its loyal users.

Emoji Swap 

The earliest version of EmojiSwap was released in March 2022. EmojiSwap is a trading and collecting game in which players begin with a randomly generated collection of five emojis. Each emoji is ranked either common, uncommon, rare, epic, or legendary. Throughout the game, players can trade their emojis for another person’s, or wait for their daily spin to switch out their emojis. There isn’t an exact objective of the game. People can play to get their favorite emojis, get the best emojis, or get trophies. The game itself didn’t necessarily gain a huge spike in users in many places, however many people at St. Petersburg High School and other schools around the area took to the app, making it a popular choice amongst teens. This app may have been the shortest lived on this list because after about a month or two, the app’s popularity subsided, and it went from a popular conversation topic to an almost untouched subject.

 This list is only the beginning of the many dead apps and games in mobile history. Whatever the reason may be, such as a lack of entertaining qualities, limited reasons for popularity, or simply being replaced by the next big idea, many trends become popular out of the blue and then quickly die out. Also, it isn’t just games. Clothes, music, and even hairstyles come and go, seeming like the faster they grow in popularity, the faster they disappear. Not everything can withstand these extreme generational changes. What do you think will be the next infatuation of the month?