Angry Birds

Recently, as I just received a new iPhone for my birthday, I have been hooked on the worldwide phenomenon: Angry Birds. The very simple game is centered around flying birds who are trying to kill pigs that have stolen something valuable to them. There are multiple types of birds that have different power ups or specialties that can be used in different scenarios. The point is to destroy the structure, and hence the pigs, by launching the birds. Besides wasting hours of my time playing the game, Angry Birds provides insight into what constitutes a valuable and addictive game.

Firstly, and I think most importantly, it is an extremely simple game. Individuals spanning the age of 4 to 100 can play the game with huge amounts of success. All it takes is a swipe of the finger and occasional tap on the screen. Essentially, the game requires limited or zero skill. Also, if one fails to defeat the pigs on a given level, it is very easy to restart and the failure is quickly forgotten. The images used for the game are also simple and easy to understand. The birds come in different colors, the pigs are always green, and the building structures, depending on the substance, are colored differently. This allows the gamer to easily diagnose the correct way to attack each level. Similarly, the soundtrack and noises associated with the game are superb. The sounds correspond perfectly to what is occurring on screen. There is very little extra or unnecessary noise. The images and sounds help make the game easier and more fun to play. The game makers are not trying to create a game that will stump or aggravate the gamers. They are neither trying to create a game that makes a broad statement about society. Rather, the game is made for many million individuals to enjoy the game while they have a few extra minutes during their day. It is a game that can be enjoyed at all hours and whenever the gamer would like. That’s the beauty of Angry Birds and these are the factors that help make it so addictive and simultaneously fun to play. It is thus no wonder that it has been an international craze, leading to the development of a TV show, printing of clothing, and other merchandise. Angry Birds is extremely successful and it is amazing to see how such a simple game can captivate everyone.

By Micah Kantrowitz

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10 comments
  1. jmtroop said:

    While I have tried Angry Birds before, I never really saw the universal appeal of the game. It doesn’t really strike me as much more than any of the other flash games you see every day on the internet. It intrigues me as to what caused Angry Birds to gain such immense popularity. While the reasons you gave are all very valid, there has to be something more that catapulted Angry Birds to the success it has today. The one factor that I feel gives it the extra boost is that this was one of the first truly original games to be released on the iPhone platform. I feel like this game set the example for how to develop a successful iPhone game. It strikes the perfect balance between simplicity and addictiveness and is released on the perfect platform for the type of game it is.

  2. allangolden said:

    I think it is important that it is so easy to restart a level if you fail it previously. More modern games, especially silly games like this, have gone towards the trend of making it incredibly easy to continue from a very recent point (beginning of a level) if you fail it. This is vastly different from how games used to be. A lot of old Nintendo games used to give you a certain number of lives or continues, and if you lost them all, it would mean game over and you would have to start from the beginning of the game. This created a challenge, but also made the games very very frustrating. I think modern games like angry birds are much less frustrating because they don’t make you repeat the entire game if you fail.

    • MrWesley said:

      I agree that modern games have made it easier to continue from a recent save to help players from losing their progress. In my opinion this makes games incredibly easier, especially when compared with older games, such as old Nintendo games, where saves are limited. When tried to play the original Zelda this summer (long after playing many of the more recent games) I was shocked and frustrated with how difficult it was, and gave up before I even found the first dungeon (level). I think this trend towards making games easier by keeping players from losing their progress is part of a trend towards making games appeal to the masses.

      Video games used to only be available on systems that plugged into televisions or on large machines at arcades, which attracted a specific audience. As games have expanded to handheld devices, computers, the internet, and now onto our phones (as with Angry Birds) developers have had to find ways to make them more appealing to a less “dedicated” gaming population. As gamers now want to be able to play whenever they want for however long they want, it must be possible to save smaller amounts of progress, especially for games such as Angry Birds that require low time and skill commitments.

  3. khausoul said:

    I think Angry Birds very successfully followed the guidelines of what is needed to make a game, as we learned from the class tutorials. It has clear rules and a goal which involve destroying the pigs. There is player interaction in gauging correct angles and tapping at the correct time.There is also feedback because it provides you with a score as well as gold stars for how well you completed the level. It is no surprise to me that this game became immensely popular. It is simple and allows for quick starts and ends so that you can pick up the game at any time and just continue. It does not require much mental capacity and very successfully utilizes the topics discussed in class for the characteristic of a game.

  4. spenway said:

    After reading your post, I decided to look into the reason Angry Birds took off as it did. To date, the game has made over 300 million dollars and has expanded to almost every platform imaginable. The craze is clearly there but what interested me is why. When I played the game, I was entertained for about 5 seconds and then found myself uninterested and extremely bored. While I do not consider myself an avid game player, I do think that I am someone the Angry Bird creators would want to attract. Since everyone around me seemed to be more excited about the game than pretty much any other item in their lives, I wanted to see some real-world facts. Why does everyone like it so much?

    Here are my conclusions…
    – The games basic design and straightforward rules make it easy and very user-friendly while leaving a memorable impression
    – Allowing restarts at each level without making players start all over at level 1 motivates players to continue on
    – The game benefitted from all of the buzz around its release, creating a strong bandwagon effect in which everyone wanted to try it since others were doing the same
    – As mentioned before, the game was really one of the first of its kind in the apple app store

    Below are two articles that attempt to answer the same question that I had….

    http://www.mauronewmedia.com/blog/2011/02/why-angry-birds-is-so-successful-a-cognitive-teardown-of-the-user-experience/

    http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2392794,00.asp

  5. Jennifer Tucker said:

    I rarely pay attention when new video games come out since it happens so often. However, I became interested in learning about angry birds when I heard about it from both my 10 year old cousins and a coworker this summer. I knew there had to be something to the game when I heard that 2 people from different genders and age brackets both could feel the same about a game. From that alone I knew it was successful since it could capture such a wide range of players. When I played the game, I realized again that the simplicity and cleanliness of the game is why my cousins were able to enjoy the game so much that they collect angry bird dolls. The quick restarts prevented me from becoming frustrated with the game, which is usually my issue with video games. However, the fact that it is an iphone app is the only reason I ever gave the game a chance, and I believe it was a crucial factor.

  6. lpsmit said:

    I would have to agree with saying that this game is addictive. The very first time I played the game, I found my self about 30 minutes later, still playing. I lost all track of time, and really do not even know why. What is this game’s real purpose? I have come to the conclusion that although I do not know the real purpose of the game, because of its’ simplicity, this game has been a hit. It has a variety of themes, from Halloween to Valentines’ Day, and is pleasing to the eye.

  7. It truly is astonishing how extremely popular Angry Birds has become. Mostly all of the aspects that have made this game such a hit have been touched upon above; however, there is one thing that I think was left out, and this one thing is what fostered my addiction to the game. What is it? The star ranking the player receives after each frame. As Kyle said, it does offer feedback for how you did, but to me it did much more. Every single time I had to get those three stars, the perfect score. I wouldn’t move on to the next level until I did. I took it as a personal challenge to tactically and skillfully earn the top number of stars. Sometimes I would be stuck on the same level for hours or even days, and not because I didn’t beat it but because I didn’t get three stars. This made the game much more complex for me personally because I couldn’t be reckless in how I played; I had to play smart.

    Fortunately, for the players who don’t care about the stars, the game can be just as fun and rewarding without worrying about them. While the game is very simple, it still has the ability to become more complex for those willing to take the challenge. I believe that for this reason angry birds is a hit for people of all ages and video game experience.

  8. snbrown said:

    I agree that Angry Birds is a simple game and can be played by anyone. It takes the swipe of a finger, it couldn’t be a more simple game. I personally do not find Angry Birds interesting, but that’s not to say that it is a bad game. I would recommend it as a game for children to play because it is simple and does not display any negative messages, however, the title can be questioned. Why Angry Birds? Is that to say that all birds are angry? That can be explored further but overall I believe that it is a clean and innocent game.

  9. I agree with this blog 100 percent all the way. The game is very simple and anyone who wants to play it and enjoy it can do so freely on their own time. The game is very interesting and very fun to me to say the least, it’s far from a bad game. I don’t believe that there are any messages trying to be sent to its players. Just a fun game that anyone who wants to play, can.

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