I have to be honest: I don’t get why Angry Birds is so big. It’s a perfectly enjoyable video game, and I can enjoy slingshotting birds across the screen as much as the next guy. But is it really worthy of the incredible superstardom it’s achieved? To find out, let’s look at some of the ways that Angry Birds has taken a bite out of pop culture.
TV & Theater
Above: a tongue-in-cheek trailer that imagines a live-action Angry Birds movie as directed by Michael Bay. It perfectly sums up my own feelings.
Angry Birds has made Finnish developer Rovio so rich and so popular that the company recently hired a Hollywood bigwig to oversee transitioning the games developer into a full-fledged entertainment powerhouse. Have you ever heard of anything so audacious as a casual games developer trying to become the next Pixar? David Maisel, Rovio’s new “special advisor,” last worked for Marvel Studios, shepherding the introductions of Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, and Captain America to the big screen. At Rovio, he’ll guide the creation of a big-screen motion picture based on the wildly popular casual game.
But what on earth will the movie be about? Rovio will need to create an entire storyline around those little birds and their pig enemies, since there’s not really a story there now. And that’s only where the complex issues facing the studio begin. There’s also been talk of a web-based TV series in the cooker, as partnered with the Roku player. Is Rovio biting off waaaaaaaay more than it can chew? I guess we’ll find out, but color me skeptical.
Speaking of television, this March, Conan O’Brien “honored” Angry Birds by building and playing a bigger-than-life-sized version of the game on his TBS talk show. (Conan made quick work of the pigs, as you can see in the video above.) Usually a video game has to be a triple-A console title before it breaks through to the cynical land of late night talk, but Angry Birds proved the exception to the rule. And it even got exposure one of the “cool” late-night shows. (Would Jay Leno even know what Angry Birds is? Doubt it.)
Yep, there are books on the way, too. As you can easily imagine, a line of children’s books are no doubt being dreamed up right now, but you can also look forward to a cookbook full of egg recipes coming soon.
Perhaps there’s no greater sign of dominance than when fans put their favorite character (or group of
birds — er, characters) into other media franchises. Take a look at some of these crazy mash-ups featuring those furious feathered fowl.
It seems clear that Angry Birds is taking over the world. But I still don’t get it.