What is one raging addiction that worldwide currently consumes more young lives than any other, and may soon outnumber smokers and drug addicts?
Well it is Angry Birds, a two year old innocuous looking gaming application from a little known Finnish game producing company Rovio Mobiles Ltd, which has managed to transcend boundaries, cut across genders, ethnicities and age groups and has become a monumental global phenomenon. Just to give you a slice of its soaring popularity- the game has already been downloaded 300 million times worldwide and is well on its way of joining an exclusive club of billion downloads, which will make it the most downloaded game of all time. Peter Vesterbacka, the chief marketing officer was nominated by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people on this planet.
Young and old have all fallen prey to the crazy allure of this game. This simple, often cheesy bird catapulting game with a bland storyline of furious cartoon birds whose eggs were robbed by pigs, it seems has indeed charmed everyone.
The rules of this game are simple that involves gestures and taps to hurl birds at several block based structures. There are several levels, of increasing difficulty that one has to go through, but the basic premise of the game remains same – hurl and destroy.
Despite its apparent simplicity, its rip roaring success and cult status among gaming addicts have befuddled everyone. So what exactly makes Angry Birds so irresistible and we are more than happy to take a trip down the path of time wasting with gay abandon.
Who said being simple and ordinary cannot make you popular. The game’s simple theme is one of the foremost reasons for its success. Since our brain automatically connotes simplicity with ease, thereby making this game so addictive. The game does not warrant any special skills and fast reflexes. The game is no too intense and can be played virtually by anybody of any age and intellect. Since one is using only taps and gestures to catapult the birds, the language barrier has been down away with, which is a reason for its global appeal.
The game’s simplicity takes us back to the popular games of yore, like Frogger, Pacman, Tetris which were also shining examples of a game’s uncomplicatedness making it highly addictive
It is the Birds
The ease of play is obviously one of the main reasons, but it is definitely the unique appeal of the birds and their specific characteristics that holds all the keys. The birds are edgy and are not typical all conquering superhero characters so easily identifiable by the general populace. The birds are downright miffed for a very good reason which makes them similar to avenging heroes that appeal to the romantic in all of us. There are different types of birds, each with its own fan base, the ubiquitous red one and the black bomber bird being most popular.
The thin line between success and failure in this game, explains why people are simply unable to stop playing the game. Completion of one level and being subsequently upgraded to the next, confers a fall sense of success on its users. If you fail once you would simply refuse to give up and try again and again as our brain is hardwired not to readily accept defeats in tasks that it construes achievable.
I have to admit it- seeing those pigs decimated gives me an immense sense of satisfaction. The game’s essence of hurling and destroying, taps into our primeval instinct for destruction and carnage and whets it completely. Catapulting a bird into the wall and witnessing the subsequent massacre is therefore extremely compelling. You get a rush from being the architect of such wanton destruction which induces you to keep on playing this game.
Angry Birds offers one the perfect visual spectacle which is simple enough for anyone to understand, but just complicated enough to live an indelible impression. It has already become a pop culture phenomenon with characters of the game being transformed into cakes, costumes and even, ahem, bras. Psychologists have also mooted several theories to explain the game’s immense appeal at a cognitive level.
Whatever may be the reasons, it is undeniable that Angry Birds is quite simply irresistible.