Angry Birds Analyzed

http://www.mauronewmedia.com/blog/2011/02/why-angry-birds-is-so-successful-a-cognitive-teardown-of-the-user-experience/

The schema formation mentioned in the article is a combination of the semiotic, design and identity principles. The game’s simple design allows the user to understand and master his/her knowledge about the underlying gaming mechanics. This is crucial since it helps to accelerate the interaction between the user and the interface without the presence of obstacles. Once the gaming mechanics is understood, the next goal is the mastery of the skills needed to pass each level. The bird is not itself but the user, as the user masters his/her skills, the bird progresses through the levels.

The previously mentioned elements are in many ways required for any game with significant development time. There is almost no excuse nowadays for a poorly designed user experience. Angry Birds takes it a step further and questions the default setting for games of the same genre. These involve in aiming, adjusting power and shooting targets in a 2D environment. While other games do not give you the possibility to observe the whole scenario as a chance for you to perform better, Angry Birds offer the possibility to survey both scenario and shooting outcomes. This helps to fuel user skill development and understand of the game’s dynamics. There are notions of “material intelligence” principle here, but it is molten into the user interface itself.

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The Angry Birds User Experience

My specialization for the degree I’m pursuing is Human-Computer Interaction. This means that I’m studying user experience and interaction design. Because of this, I found this piece on the user experience of Angry Birds interesting indeed.

Why is it that over 50 million individuals have downloaded this simple game? Many paid a few dollars or more for the advanced version. More compelling is the fact that not only do huge numbers download this game, they play it with such focus that the total number of hours consumed by Angry Birds players world-wide is roughly 200 million minutes a DAY, which translates into 1.2 billion hours a year. To compare, all person-hours spent creating and updating Wikipedia totals about 100 million hours over the entire life span of Wikipedia (Neiman Journalism Lab). I say these Angry Birds are clearly up to something worth looking into. Why is this seemly simple game so massively compelling? Creating truly engaging software experiences is far more complex than one might assume, even in the simplest of computer games. Here is some of the cognitive science behind why Angry Birds is a truly winning user experience.

The article goes on to discuss at length the ins and outs of the user experience of playing Angry Birds. Now if only someone could tell me why the pigs stockpile ham (it’s so disturbing).

The Popularity of Angry Birds

For anyone who has not played Angry Birds on an apple product is missing out on possibly the greatest game invented.  If you are someone who is productive with all those extra spare minutes you get, whether that is waiting for an appointment or before class to start and you are able to whip out a few flashcards then I suggest not to continue reading.  Angry Birds may be the best (or worst) thing that has happened to me.  I first saw my brother playing and I thought it was pointless and stupid and could not understand why anyone would dedicate so much time to such a simple game.  However, three weeks later and I am basically as addicted to this game as TMZ is to making awkward nicknames for new couples.  The biggest surprise  about Angry Birds is that the most popular demographic playing this game is men and women in their forties.  Some of the reasons for making this game the most popular app in 2010 is because of its simplicity to complete a level in a quick time period, there is no harm for failing a level, and you can carry it in your pocket and whenever you have two minutes you could be slingshotting birds at pigs.  Thankfully, I only have a few levels left in the game because I am not quite sure the impact it could have on my school, but this game is as addicting as they come and I highly suggest everyone to play it.  Just be careful that it doesn’t take over your life.

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