Angry Birds first appeared as an app on Apple’s iOS in December 2009. The game has been lauded for its combination of addictive gameplay, humor, and low price. As a result, Apple reports that Angry Birds is its most downloaded game. The mechanics of play are easily described and understood.
In Angry Birds, players control a flock of cardinals and other small birds that are attempting to retrieve their eggs from the evil green pigs that stole them. On each level, the pigs are sheltered by structures, though the materials differ as play progresses. The object of the game is to eliminate all the pigs in the level. Using a slingshot, players launch the birds with the intent of either hitting the pigs directly or damaging the structures, which causes them to collapse and kill the pigs.
The popularity of Angry Birds has reached such immensity that board game manufacturer Mattel announced yesterday that it would be developing a physical version involving a type of slingshot, plastic birds, and blocks that players use to construct the fortresses housing the evil pigs.
While to many the game seems little more than a harmless giggle with easily grasped rules, critics say the darker themes lurking beneath the surface are detrimental and terrifying.
Janus Heuchler, director of San Narcio’s Poeslaw Institute for Social Research and Development (PISRAD), claims, “Angry Birds is just that -- an examination into societal outrage. It promotes the same elements of negativity, vengeance, and extremism that led to the recent shootings in Tucson. This game, more than any heavy metal record, may inspire the next Columbine. It must be banned.”
Heuchler, in line with officials at the DHS, cited two fundamental concerns with the game. The first is the very nature of the back story.
“The game is all about revenge,” explained Heuchler. “The evil green pigs stole the birds’ eggs. Now that’s a serious offense, if we take it within a human context. Child abduction. Intimations of genocide. Those are pretty heavy issues. But rather than working with authorities to track down and prosecute those criminals, which could easily be accommodated in a puzzle-based game, the birds have taken matters into their own hands...or wings, as it were. Without regard for the law, for the safety of their eggs, or even themselves, the birds have set out to kill all the pigs. Perhaps there are innocent pigs. There were plenty of innocent Germans during the reign of the Nazis. But you see, the birds don’t consider this.”
But the most poignant and frightening part of the overall scenario, Heuchler feels, is that the birds are not merely killing the pigs -- they’re on a mindless suicide mission.
“This is where the game chills my blood,” Heuchler said. “Every time one of the birds destroys a structure or directly terminates a pig, it explodes. Even worse, there are smaller birds that can be dispatched, Kamikaze-style, for the sole purpose of exploding to cause maximum collateral damage. This game is nothing short of a cartoon version of the September 11 attacks, told from the perspective of the terrorists. And over 50 million of our nation’s children are playing this game, feeding into its bloodlust, and embracing its ideals of suicide bombings.”
Sources at WikiLeaks say the DHS agrees with Heuchler’s assessment, and with the most recent suicide attacks in Moscow, wants this game banned.
“It’s terrorist training,” Heuchler concluded. “Plain and simple. I think the DHS would be wise to investigate this company in Finland to see if its financial backing has any ties to al Qaeda. Until recently, these terrorist cells were profiting off opium trafficking. Now that NATO has cracked down on al Qaeda’s access to poppy fields, developing a video game with subliminal messages of radicalism makes perfect sense. And who would ever suspect it?”