Being new to the world of the smartphone, I have started embracing the ever-growing world of the Apps. These programs, found in any smartphone whether it is the iPhone or an Android phone, range from games, to business, fitness, sports—whatever suits your fancy. For a buck, maybe a few bucks, or for free you can download applications that can make your life ridiculously easier (or just more fun). For example, I touch one button on my phone, and I instantly have all the show times at the local movie theater—how cool is that?
One App that has gotten more of the limelight than others is a game called, “Angry Birds.” Originally designed for the Apple OS but now available for the Androids as well, the game is simply about some angry birds that decide they want to get back at the evil green pigs who stole their eggs. There is a slingshot—you fling the angry bird over to where the pigs are in hopes to destroy their home and crush them. Each level has different challenges as the structures of the pigs’ home changes and how you fling the bird determines how successful you will be. As players advance through the game, new birds appear, some with special abilities that can be activated by the player.
Since the first release of the game in December of 2009, the game has been purchased over 12 million times from the Apple App store, keeping in on the top of the popularity list for months. This game became, without a doubt, a phenomenon. In an interview with one of the game’s designers, the company from Finland, Rovio, estimates that fans of Angry Birds play the game for over 1 million hours every day just on iPhones.
How did they come up with this?
The original idea game from Senior Game Designer Jaakko Iisalo.
Everybody loved the characters, even though there was no clear idea what the game was going to look like. The main problem was simple: the birds needed an enemy.
This was around the time the swine flu pandemic scare had reached its highest level, so why not evil green pigs? Brilliant.
The amazing thing about this is the idea that it opens up the doors for a new media and merchandising powerhouse. Of course we can envision Angry Bird stuffed animals, Angry Birds the animated series, and may even a feature-length film. I don’t see why not, there’s already an audience for it.
Never mind the fact that the regular version where Apple users paid 99 cents to download the game as been downloaded millions of times, but the free version for the Android market has brought in millions as well from the advertising that runs during the game. Who knew Angry Birds would be a gold mine?
Angry Birds sells for just $0.99, and cost Rovio virtually nothing–around $140,000–to make, with a return of around $70 million to date. Compare with Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto IV, which sold for $60 at launch, and cost around $100 million to make.
Reports of new apps may be giving Angry Birds some strong competition for the top popularity spot. Recently a new game called “The Heist” took the top spot and was being downloaded a bit faster than one per second.
The Heist involves four different puzzle types: a sliding block puzzle, something similar to Sudoku, a Sokoban type puzzle, and a maze. There are a total of 15 of each of these puzzles, 60 in all. Once the puzzles are solved, a vault can be opened. Inside the vault is another game, said to be worth more than the 99 cent cost of The Heist.
Reviews of The Heist have generally been positive – but don’t count Angry Birds out yet. Many of the comments left by readers of those reviews are not positive, some saying they were bored with the puzzles, others that the game at the end was not worth it. New Apps like The Heist may become the next big thing, but only time will tell if they have as much staying power as those pissed-off feathered creatures.