Angry Birds is Overrated/Kind of Dumb
A packed New Jersey public transit train roars towards New York City at a speed that the current political regime has deemed both practical (to meet consumer demand) and fiscally responsible (to turn a profit.) A teenaged Hasidic boy, realizing that he will not be able to sit with his father because of the lack of open seats, searches for a suitable vacancy. He has the yarmulke, the payot (curly side burns), and the whole getup. The fact that he is a Hasid is completely irrelevant to this article. However, it is a specific detail that creates a clearer picture. Consequently, I included it. Go away politically correct douchers.
He continues to search for an open spot. Sitting next to any female within his age radius would be too awkward, especially with his father around (I saw you talking to that girl….) Besides, what are the chances of meeting a girl on a train anyway? If he picks a passenger that is too old, chances are that train ride will consist of complete silence. The best choice in this situation, it seems, is to sit next to a male of a similar age. Moi.
In addition to the Jewish apparel, the guy’s got a flashy new Android. I am already screwing around on my IPod touch, so conversation inevitably ensues. (BTW, at this point I am kind of excited because I like talking to random people although so far, I don’t think this piece conveys that idea so I’m just going to tell you that I am excited and you will have to trust me.)
“What are you playing?” he asks.
“Tiny Wings. It’s good.”
“It’s good huh? Is it better than Angry Birds.” He says “Angry Birds” like a poker player who has just flipped over a pair of pocket aces.
“Yeah. Angry Birds is overrated, and kind of dumb, I think.”
This kid then proceeds to look at me as if I just told him that I was trying to revive Yasir Arafat in an attempt to start the next Intifada. My comment, apparently, was blasphemous.
“But Angry Birds is the best.”
There is no answer to why Angry Birds is “the best game” other than the fact that “it is the most played and most purchased new game.” But just how popular is Angry Birds? Well, if what Wikipedia says is true, then the answer is ‘pretty fucking popular.’
As of June 2011, Angry Birds had been downloaded 250 million times while at one point spending 275 straight days at the top of the ‘paid IPhone app chart.’ There are also shirts, plush dolls, and other pieces of apparel ready to be purchased. There are ads for the game all over Verizon retailers, and T-Mobile recently did a publicity stunt by creating “real life” Angry Birds on a crowded city street in Barcelona. Indeed, Angry Birds has been and continues to be a massive social phenomenon. I just don’t see why.
The game is undeniably entertaining and fun. I won’t argue that. But it gets old and repetitive very quickly. I got bored after a day or two. After a few levels, you come to the realization that even though there are still 9383924 stages to complete, none of them are going to introduce you to anything new or different. Once in awhile you get a new bird to sling around—but that’s it. A game like “Tiny Wings” is also repetitive. The difference is, however, is that it is too fast-paced for that repetition to matter. Games only last a few minutes.
Another flaw of Angry Birds is that the physics are too inconsistent. Often, a helmeted evil green pig frog thing would fall to the ground and survive. Other times, it would drop from a lower point and disappear/die/go to evil green pig frog thing purgatory. This randomness frustrated me.
Similarly, the fickle physics take the strategic aspect of the game away. It is hard to map out a “plan” on how to attack the level because random things seem to happen. Instead, success seems to come from slinging the birds around a hundred times until you get lucky OR until the game feels bad for you and, afraid that you might quit and consequently not buy the next expansion package—let’s you win.
Again, all of these flaws are not ‘deal breakers.’ I just think that they dethrone Angry Birds from the top of the IPod App kingdom. Maybe I’m just a hater, who knows—but to me Angry Birds can be compared to solitaire or minesweeper for Windows. It is an entry-level game for people who have no desire or are too scared to pursue further.
What haters tend to do though, is to criticize while offering no other alternative. I, on the other hand, will now relinquish my hater status by supplying you with some games that I think are just as fun as Angry Birds if not FUNer.
One of these games is the aforementioned Tiny Wings. This one is also quite popular. Basically, you are a little bird and you have to fly as far as possible with your defunct, “tiny wings.” Flight Control is another good one. Spider: Secret of Bryce Manor is a game that is very critically acclaimed and seems to be designed specifically for handheld devices. I personally like to download old Nintendo games that have been redesigned for smartphones (ex: Final Fantasy.) Classics like chess, Tetris, and brick breaker always seem to suffice as well. Of course, these are only a few examples. In reality, there are hundreds of IPod/IPhone games out there to play.
The point of this article was not to say “don’t play that game!” That would be mean and I have no right to do such a thing. I guess what I was trying to convey is that there are SO many cool apps out there. You’d be surprised what you can find… if you only stopped shooting those birds at those green guys for a few minutes…
photos courtesy of theoutsidejoke.com and noveltygift.com
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