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The Secret to Angry Birds’ Success
What is it about Angry Birds that makes it so much fun to play? Joe Eskenazi of SF Weekly was wondering the same thing, so he tracked down a couple of people and asked about their opinion on the matter.
The first person he asked was someone who knows a thing or two about games; Seppo Helava, co-founder of Self Aware Games. According to him, the cuteness of the game gets your attention but it’s the slot-machine-like nature of the game that gets you hooked, comparing the actions of shooting birds and the resulting collapse of the castles to that of pulling on the handle of a slot machine. Helava says, “Whereas with the slot machines there’s no pattern, in Angry Birds there is — but it’s very hard to figure out,” and that a deep-seated desire to solve that pattern makes people “pull the trigger over and over again.”
Saying we enjoy a video game because of our basic human nature isn’t too bad, and Eskenazi could have simply stopped his fact-finding mission right there, but he couldn’t stop with just one person so he also talked to Mel Joseph Ciena, a psychology professor specializing in development.
After agreeing with Helava’s initial assessment, Ciena proceeded to voice his opinions on the subject, showing very clearly that he probably isn’t a video game aficionado.
“It gives you the false impression you’re competitive and achieving something, but, really, you’re achieving at things that are relatively safe and anonymous. It becomes addictive because you get the false impression you are improving as a person. But you are improving at the wrong thing — you’re just becoming an expert at a frickin’ game.”
I think Professor Ciena might need to switch to de-caf. There have been plenty of studies showing that some frickin’ games actually improve concentration, strategizing skills, and hand-eye coordination. Maybe Angry Birds doesn’t meet those specifications, but it’s still fun to play. Check out the trailer below to see what all the fuss is about.