Its App Store has sold 12 million copies of a game called Angry Birds.
Which means if you own an iPad and haven't downloaded --- for just 99 cents --- Angry Birds, you are among the small minority that hasn't ....
Oops. Sorry. I forgot, for a moment, that Angry Birds can also be downloaded to the iPhone and the iTouch --- and it’s hard to break those sales down. Maybe almost every iPad owner doesn't, at this moment, have Angry Birds on the screen. [To download Angry Birds from iTunes, for just 99 cents, click here.]
Still, from any angle.....that’s an insane number of birds.
If you play Angry Birds, you know what the attraction is. The nasty green pigs have stolen eggs from an assortment of birds. You help them recover their eggs with the help of a giant slingshot that launches the birds toward the pigs’ well-fortified sanctuaries. Various birds have different properties; when you tap them on the screen, some become bombs, some travel faster, some divide, some double back like boomerangs. It takes strategy and skill to win --- that is, explode all the pigs and move up to the next level.
Angry Birds is also exemplary because of what it lacks. In general, the popular video games are a cesspool of violence, cruelty, misogyny and racism --- a sick celebration of testosterone. But in Angry Birds, no women are abused, no Muslims are tortured, the oinkers don’t bleed out when bombed --- Angry Birds really is “fun for all ages.”
The back story: Rovio Mobile, based in Finland, developed the game in 2009. The idea of pigs as villains came from a swine flu epidemic then rampant in Europe. It cost no more than $175,000 to create the game. Angry Birds caught on fast. By Spring of 2010, it was the best-selling app on iTunes. It fell briefly, but has since regained the top spot.
It’s certainly #1 around here. My wife is no dummy, and the almost-nine-year-old just played Bartok and Mozart at her piano recital, but they devote about a half hour a day to Angry Birds.
For two months, I’ve waited for them to move on.
So I’ve joined them.
Okay: just for a few minutes each day. As a player, I’m a pure, old-school strategist, obsessed with aiming the birds with such precision that they explode the kegs of dynamite and send the belching pigs to Hog Heaven. I never use the Mighty Eagle --- a devastating weapon that can be called upon only once each hour --- to win. And I don’t deploy all the skills of the different birds. My style's not to emulate. I am a mere visitor in the world of Mighty Birds, a patzer, in the lowest rank of Angry Birds consciousness. Even when I win.
But then, I’m a guy who stopped watching TV dramas when, like “ER,” they developed multiple story lines. It’s too much for my little brain. You are craftier. You can master diverse skills. You, unlike me, can utilize the expert advice available here and here.
If you’re sufficiently addicted, you may want to keep Angry Birds close in your real life. Well, now you can --- really, did you think there wouldn’t be dolls? There’s a 5”Red Bird. A 5" Blue Bird. A 12" Black Bird. A 5" White Bird. And, of course, a Green Pig.