Confession of an ‘Angry Birds’ addict

jheeter@macon.comJanuary 28, 2011 

I had quite a long wait during a recent doctor’s appointment.

By a long wait, I mean a few hours from arrival until departure.

No one likes to sit in a waiting room for an extended period of time without some form of entertainment, and I forgot the book I was reading when I left home in the morning.

But, as is the case more often than not in recent weeks, I turned to my smart phone, and specifically the game “Angry Birds,” to pass that time.

“Angry Birds” is a puzzle game that has become a pop culture phenomenon over the past year.

The premise is simple.

Players shoot a variety of birds from a slingshot to attack a group of pigs that has stolen the birds’ eggs. The birds take aim at a variety of structures built to protect the pigs. The seven different types of birds all have different attributes that help the gamer overcome the sometimes very difficult puzzles. More than 100 different levels have been released, including specialty seasonal packs during Halloween and Christmas. Some levels can take 10 seconds to complete. Others can take significantly longer.

The prime minister of Great Britain, author Salman Rushdie and TV host Conan O’Brien are all “Angry Birds” fans, according to a Wall Street Journal article.

The game was released onto Apple’s App Store in December 2009 and has sold more than 12 million copies of the game. Another reported 30 million ad-supported copies have been downloaded for free on the Android market.

It’s easy to pick up at any time. Rarely do I spend more than 10 minutes at a time playing the game, and the ease of getting in and out of it makes it a very attractive passer of time. The game becomes increasingly difficult as it progresses, making it all the more addictive. You’re ranked between one and three stars for each completed level, so there’s incentive to go back through to perfect your score.

The other reason for the game’s success is its portability. Games like this are turning mobile phones, iPads and iPods into handheld gaming devices, and presenting a potential competitor for the Nintendo DS and Sony’s PlayStation Portable.

The developer Rovio is consistently adding content through updates, and the game recently became available on the PlayStation Network. The success of the game all but guarantees sequels, which should make any person with a couple minutes to spare and a copy of “Angry Birds” handy pretty happy.

I know I don’t worry about boredom when I need to fill some time.

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