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Please, Shut Up About Angry Birds (Point and Counter-Point)

I’m glad none of the other TechnoBuffalo staff know where I live, lest this post would become a practical warrant for my capture and slaughter.

Nevertheless, it’s time to come clean…

I am absolutely sick and tired of hearing about Angry Birds. The game has been out for years, and it should not have garnered this much attention to begin with. It’s genuinely not all that fun, and the pop-culture phenomenon it’s created has become an annoying mess.

For instance, it’s now featured heavily in commercials for brand new tech.

People, are you really queuing up to buy your NOOK Tablet for Angry Birds? Really!?

I think what gets me most about the Angry Birds phenomenon is that it’s based on games that have already been done before. The catapult and trebuchet physics destruction genre is not exclusive to Rovio’s one hit wonder (yeah, I said it), it’s something that’s been around for a while. I can remember playing Flash games with the same premise before ever even hearing of Angry Birds. How about Castle Clout or Crush the Castle?

Rovio’s method for money making:

  1. Play Castle Clout and Crush the Castle
  2. Copy
  3. Paste
  4. Skin with Upset Birds and Pigs
  5. ?????????
  6. Profit!

What makes matters worse surrounding the phenomenon is that the game’s leading developer is kind of, to put it nicely, a jerk. Peter Vesterbacka decided to go on a few rants labeling the console and physical media sides of the gaming industry as practically dead a few months back. Here’s a piece of one of his gems:

“A lot of people in the games industry, they think the ‘real’ games are on consoles. You’re only a ‘real’ games company if you do a big budget game. But we don’t have that inferiority complex…If I was trying to sell a $49 piece of plastic to people then yes, I’d be worried too…But I think it’s a good sign that people are concerned — because from my point of view we’re doing something right.”

To all those people yelling about how Angry Birds is this generation’s Super Mario Broswhat? It’s a little game that’s sprung up pop culture references, but it’s not industry rocking in the way Super Mario Bros. was when it released on the NES so many years ago. Tell me, do you really think people will be talking about Rovio and these cranky fowl 25 years from now? Angry Birds has become nothing more than a fad cashing in on the cheap commercialism that drives companies like Wal-Mart and Target straight to the top of the capitalistic pile. I saw Angry Birds Snuggies last weekend at Kohl’s. I died a little that day.

Dear Jon: Thank you.

What sucks most about Angry Birds from where I stand is that its rampant success is now damaging the mobile gaming genre. Games could be going in so many more directions, but start-ups see the insane money Rovio‘s been making off of this flying titan and they build titles around the same quick play model. Mobile enthusiasts love to talk about how their gaming platform will put an end to the console and handheld markets; well, no. Because of Angry Birds, and simple cash-ins like it, there’s not much of a reason for developers to build insanely exciting games.

Since Angry Birds was so cheap to make and distribute (it and all of its cash-in offspring), Rovio’s been able to keep the price point for the game at $0.99 and an ad-supported $0.00. Mobile consumers see games in the Top 5 for $.99, and then they see games in the top 20 for $6.99; they know which titles they’re buying. Angry Birds is keeping mobile gaming cheap. On one hand, that’s okay. But, because they are keeping the genre so inexpensive, more costly games are seen as a higher risk purchase.

Think about it: Angry Birds has made Rovio a lot of money on this low cost model. More money than most other mobile games can ever even aspire to. Now, you get companies like Chair Entertainment and Epic Games spending millions on games like Infinity Blade and not enjoying nearly the same level of success. Part of that may be because of the subtle price difference between the two products. It costs a lot more to produce an Infinity Blade than it does an Angry Birds. Is Infinity Blade better than Angry Birds? Holy crap, yes. But it won’t sell more.

Here’s the deal, folks: there are other, better, more fun, more innovative options out there when it comes to mobile gaming. The App Store and Android Market shouldn’t be dominated by Angry Birds and its various offshoots. There are too many great games that should be occupying the top spots instead of this knockoff and its sequels.

It’s time to move on. Enough holiday editions, enough “seasons,” enough blankets, enough pork-rinds and enough plush toys. Angry Birds needs to go away. For the good of our children.

Be sure to check out Sage’s counter-point, The Mario of Mobile.


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Joey Davidson

Joey Davidson leads the gaming department here on TechnoBuffalo. He's been covering games online for more than 10 years, and he's a lover of all...Joey Davidson leads the gaming department here on TechnoBuffalo. He's been covering games online for more than 10 years, and he's a lover of all...


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