The chances are that you have either played it, or seen someone else playing it or been invited to play it. But if not, the basic idea is that you use your mobile phone touch-screen to lob a preordained series of coloured birds, one after another, towards precarious buildings containing one or more circular green pigs. There is some kind of plot that explains all this, but nobody I know has ever bothered to pay attention to it, because that would delay the arrival of the next level.
The idea is to kill all the pigs by getting things to fall on them, knocking them to the ground or blowing them up (the colour-coded birds have different abilities). This usually requires multiple attempts as you try different demolition strategies. Once you’ve finished a level, another slightly harder one appears, and another, and another. It is life-stealingly addictive and hugely popular: about 30m copies of the game have been downloaded in the past year. But “Angry Birds” is more than just another mobile-phone game. It epitomises gaming in 2010 in three ways. First, it can be enjoyed by people of all ages, and by both casual and hardcore gamers. Each attempt at a level takes just a few seconds, which is great when you’re standing in a queue or on a train platform. But it can be played for hours on end. It’s simple enough to pick up quickly, yet also has depth and replay value for the more obsessive gamer. This is a circle that game publishers everywhere are suddenly trying to square.
I tweet about the Mideast uprisings being similar to Angry Birds killing Green Pigs and voila a brilliant, satirical video along the same lines appears!