There’s been quite a bit of Angry Birds talk transpiring lately, so I thought I’d crash the party with my bowl of Wacky Punch. But first, if you have not read Joey’s ace account on the Angry Birds phenomenon, please read it. Joey very succinctly puts the Angry Birds craze in its place and admonishes the gaming world that the sling-shot-driven franchise will never achieve sustainable success on par with the Super Mario Bros. franchise. Joey also mentions the fact that Angry Birds is a knockoff of games like Castle Clout and Crush the Castle. I played both Castle games and was dumbfounded by Rovio’s rampant looting and pillaging of their trebuchet gaming platforms. After playing both Castle games, I came to the conclusion that the only reasons Angry Birds is hotter than gold bullion right now can be summed up like so:
- It’s cheap.
- It’s easy.
- It requires minimal brainpower.
- It is ubiquitously marketed.
In fact, I draw my parallels to Reality TV. Reality TV is cheap to produce because production companies are not paying real actors. They’re paying bilious dregs at the bottom of the barrel that slither and undulate like toxic microbes in a petri dish, yet somehow viewers can’t look away from the microscope. In Rovio’s case, they’re paying developers to rip off a trebuchet platform and charging under a buck in the App Store. We just can’t look away from the slingshot, regardless of the fact that every single level out of the 303 levels in the first game is virtually the same, just like every single reality TV episode. But we also can’t pass up a 99-cent deal when we see one. Look at the vomit-inducing McDonald’s Dollar Menu. Then take a look at the average American.
Because every single Angry Birds level is the same story—load up a slingshot with an irate fowl and fling it toward radioactive swines with the hope that they will receive black eyes and disappear in puffs of smoke—the game has a soporific effect. It’s far too easy unless you’re a three-star hunter like me—then you can spend 1,000 tries on a single level just to get that pesky third star. Whereas with Super Mario Bros., even the first NES game, there were multiple worlds such as underwater, underground, mushrooms, clouds, trees and castles with various strategies and power-ups to use. Angry Birds has themes, but it’s still the same gameplay throughout all 303 levels.
And because the game features the same tactics and plot throughout its 303 levels, Angry Birds requires minimal brainpower. In fact, go play Castle Clout and Crush the Castle—those games actually teach the player how a realistic catapult works via the physics of trajectory. Angry Birds are not even shaped like real birds. They’re commercialized polychromatic bowling balls. Granted, each bird is capable of deploying a different type of weapon—that’s nifty. But that’s about it. Do pigs look like round green faces with hardhats or blinged-out crowns in real life? Do real pigs lust for freshly laid eggs? No, those would be foxes!
Which brings me to the most important question in this preposterous rant:
If they’re birds, why the hell do they need a catapult!? Are we that collectively vapid to condone the catapulting of animals capable of aerial locomotion!?
A bird does not need a freaking catapult to fly! How about Angry Porcupines or Angry Three-Toed Sloths? Now that’s realistic.
And that brings me to one of my last points. Angry Birds is an incestuous orgy of marketing. Rovio knew that people would love birds if they were caricatured into lovable—and marketable—cash generating orbs. Rovio knew that pigs represent the filth of the earth and that people would naturally accept them as diabolical forces. So Rovio took the Castle Clout and Crush the Castle models, changed the cast and setting and succeeded to market the bejeezus out of its knockoff version to the point where I can’t walk through a store without seeing Angry Birds bed sets, plush toys, t-shirts, backpacks, wallets, tableware and now dog and cat toys. It sickens me!
Now there is a monumental caveat here. I was one of the first people to download Angry Birds. In fact, it was free when I downloaded it to my iPhone 3G back in 2009. I am also one of the very few Angry Birds players to have achieved the following:
- Three stars on all 303 levels
- A Mighty Eagle Feather on all 303 levels
- All 27 Golden Eggs
- The Magic Birthday Cake achievement in Level 18-15
It’s safe to say that I’ve seen a heck of a lot of Angry Birds, probably more than the average player. Yet I am still left with an empty feeling every time I beat the latest wave of level updates. Instead of a “THANK YOU MARIO. YOUR QUEST IS OVER. WE PRESENT YOU A NEW QUEST,” I’m bombarded with Angry Birds advertisements.
Angry Birds Rio. New Update! Buy the App! Angry Birds Seasons. A New Level Every Day! Buy the App. Angry Birds. Watch Us on YouTube! See all available Angry Birds Comics! Angry Birds. Like us on Facebook! Angry Birds. Follow Our Tweets! Get Your Angry Birds Merch Now! Sign Up for the Angry Birds Newsletter!
I plucked those from the game itself. It’s absolutely appalling.
So yes, Angry Birds is an effervescent cauldron of success. But it will never and should never be placed within the same category as the Super Mario franchise or any other game that is eons ahead of a cute and repetitive trebuchet ripoff game.
The Angry Birds Theme song is indubitably catchy, though.