Angry Birds app icon on iOS and Android
|Creator||Rovio Entertainment Paramount Pictures|
|Original work||Video game series|
|Films and television|
|Animated series||Angry Birds Toons|
Angry Birds is a video game franchise created by Finnish computer game developer Rovio Entertainment. Inspired primarily by a sketch of stylized wingless birds, the first game was first released for Apple's iOS in December 2009. Over 12 million copies of the game have been purchased from Apple's App Store, which has prompted the company to design versions for other touchscreen-based smartphones, including the Android, Symbian and Windows Phone operating systems. It has since expanded to video game consoles, PCs, and a full length feature film is planned to be released in summer 2016.
Angry Birds has been praised for its successful combination of addictive gameplay, comical style, and low price. Its popularity led to versions of Angry Birds being created for personal computers and gaming consoles, a market for merchandise featuring its characters and even long-term plans for a feature film or television series. With 2 billion downloads across all platforms and including both regular and special editions, the franchise has become the highest downloaded freemium game of all time. It has also been called "one of the most mainstream games out right now", "one of the great runaway hits of 2010", and "the largest mobile app success the world has seen so far".
The first game was released on iOS on December 10, 2009. In the game, players use a slingshot to launch birds at pigs stationed on or within various structures, with the intent of destroying all the pigs on the playing field. As players advance through the game, new types of birds become available, some with special abilities that can be activated by the player. Rovio Mobile has supported Angry Birds with numerous free updates that add additional game content, and the company has also released stand-alone holiday and promotional versions of the game.
This game was first released on October 21, 2010 as Angry Birds Halloween. It has been updated to add several holiday-themed episodes and has four seasons of episodes.
Angry Birds Rio was released on March 22, 2011. The game is a marketing tie-in based on the 20th Century Fox animated film Rio. And from 2014, the game has been updated with new levels based on the sequel, Rio 2.
Angry Birds Space was released on March 22, 2012, The game features elements from the preceding Angry Birds games as well as new gameplay mechanics. The stage is no longer flat, instead comprising several different planets, each of which has its own gravitational field that affects the trajectory of the birds after launch.
Angry Birds Star Wars was released on November 8, 2012. Merchandise related to the game was released on October 17. The game is a crossover with the Star Wars original trilogy, and casts the Angry Birds as the Rebels and the Piggies as the Empire.
Angry Birds Friends was first released as a Facebook app in May 2012 and was later released for mobile devices on May 2, 2013. The game features six-stage tournaments that change every week.
Angry Birds Star Wars II was released on September 19, 2013. The game is compatible with Hasbro Telepod technology to allow the player to summon a specific bird or pig into the game. The game is a crossover with the Star Wars prequel trilogy, and for the first time allows players to be either on the Bird Side as the birds or the Pork Side as the pigs.
Angry Birds Go! is a kart game released on December 11, 2013. The downhill racing game features birds and pigs from the Angry Birds series as racers, each with unique powers.
On March 12, 2014, Rovio announced Angry Birds Epic, a role-playing game that will feature turn-based fighting and a crafting system. It was soft released in limited countries on March 17, 2014.
On February 13, 2014, Rovio announced Angry Birds Stella, which takes on a markedly different approach to the other games in the series. This entry will focus on characters and adventure, and is described as being "about inspiration, empowerment and other real issues, without forgetting entertainment and quirky fun."
A spin-off to Angry Birds, called Bad Piggies, was released on September 27, 2012 on Mac, Android and iOS platforms. The game is from the Pig's point of view, and involves building vehicles in order to reach a goal point.
The Angry Birds characters have been referenced in television programs throughout the world. The Israeli comedy show Eretz Nehederet (in English: a Wonderful Country), one of the nation's most popular TV programs, satirized recent failed Israeli-Palestinian peace attempts by featuring the Angry Birds in peace negotiations with the pigs. Clips of the segment went viral, getting viewers from all around the world. The sketch received favorable coverage from a variety of independent blogs such as digitaltrends.com, hotair.com and intomobile.com, as well as from online news media agencies such as Haaretz, The Christian Science Monitor, The Guardian, and MSNBC. American television hosts Conan O'Brien, Jon Stewart and Daniel Tosh have referenced the game in comedy sketches on their respective series, Conan, The Daily Show, and Tosh.0. In the 30 Rock episode "Plan B", guest star Aaron Sorkin laments to Liz Lemon, "Our craft is dying while people are playing Angry Birds and poking each other on Facebook". He then provides a tip for Liz to improve her score in the game. In February 2011, American journalist Jake Tapper mockingly introduced U.S. Senator Chris Coons as the "Angry Birds champion of the Senate" during the National Press Club's annual dinner. Some of the game's more notable fans include Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom, who plays the iPad version of the game, and author Salman Rushdie, who claims he is "something of a master at Angry Birds". Basketball star Kevin Durant is an avid fan of Angry Birds, and regularly plays other NBA stars in matches, although he is weary of cheating. In August 2011, the Milwaukee Brewers played the Angry Birds theme song during the pre-game introductions of the arch-rival St. Louis Cardinals players, in reference to former Cardinals' manager Tony LaRussa's propensity to bean opposing players. Angry Birds also appears briefly, for comic relief, during a scene in the 2013 film G.I. Joe: Retaliation, in which Zartan plays the game while waiting for the world leaders' response to his threats of annihilation. Angry Birds were featured in the 2013 Helsinki episode of Veep. Angry Birds was referenced in the film The Starving Games, a parody of The Hunger Games.
Angry Birds and its characters have been featured in advertisements for other products. In March 2011, the characters began appearing in a series of advertisements for Microsoft's Bing search engine. At the 2011 South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, Nokia used scrims on a downtown building to project an advertisement for its new N8 handset that included the game's characters. A June 2011 T-Mobile advertisement filmed in Barcelona, Spain included a real-life mock-up of the game in a city plaza, while Nokia used the game in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to promote an attempt to set a world record for the largest number of people playing a single mobile game. Finnair has also used Angry Birds in their advertising, including taping an Airbus A340 airliner with the Angry Birds figures and holding an Angry Birds tournament on board a flight to Singapore. Rovio has also prepared a number of web-based promotional variants of Angry Birds themed around creations of other companies, such as Finnish snack company Fazer, Spanish pizza delivery chain Telepizza, and Japanese television network Fuji TV, as well as promotions of American brands including Cheetos, Wonderful Pistachios and Coca-Cola.
The game's characters have been used, officially or otherwise, in amusement park attractions. In September 2011, the Window of the World theme park in Changsha, China opened an unlicensed Angry Birds attraction. Visitors to the park use a large slingshot to launch stuffed versions of the bird characters at green balloons representing the pigs. Upon learning of the attraction, Rovio Mobile was reported to be considering working with the theme park to officially license it. In March 2012, Rovio announced plans for an official Angry Birds land (opened April 28, 2012) at the Särkänniemi adventure park in Finland. Angry Birds Theme Park is expected to open by May 2014 at Johor Baharu City Centre in Malaysia.
Most recently it was announced that UK theme park Thorpe Park will open their own Angry Birds Land themed area within the park in May 2014. The new area will consist of the reinstatement of the 4D Cinema with a 10 minute long Angry Birds film with 4D effects, a new addition of themed Angry Birds Dodgems and a slight re-theme of existing drop tower ride Detonator.
Also in March 2012, Formula 1 driver Heikki Kovalainen unveiled an Angry Birds crash helmet that he will use in the 2012 season, following sponsorship from Rovio. Kimi Räikkönen has also a Angry Birds Space logo on his cap. Angry Birds has teamed up with the Lotus F1 Team for the upcoming 2012 Monaco Grand Prix, with its logo on the top of each Lotus Renault F1 car's nosecone, as well as a promotional web-based version of Angry Birds in honor of Kovalainen.
The game's popularity has spawned knock-off and parody games that utilize the same basic mechanics as Angry Birds. For example, Angry Turds features monkeys hurling feces and other objects at hunters who have stolen their babies. Another game, entitled Chicks'n'Vixens and released in beta form on Windows Phone devices, replaces the birds and pigs with chickens and foxes, respectively. The developer of Chicks'n'Vixens intended the game as a challenge to Rovio Mobile, which stated at the time that a Windows Phone port of Angry Birds would not be ready until later in 2011.
Angry Birds has inspired works of religious analogy. A five-part essay entitled "Angry Birds™ Yoga – How to Eliminate the Green Pigs in Your Life" was written by Giridhari Dasa of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (i.e. Hare Krishna) of Brazil, utilizing the characters and gameplay mechanics to explain various concepts of yoga in Gaudiya Vaishnavism as understood and interpreted by the Hare Krishna. The piece attracted much media attention, in Brazil and abroad, for its unique method of philosophico-religious presentation. The piece was also recognized and appreciated by Rovio Mobile's Peter Vesterbacka, who was prompted to comment on Twitter, "Very cool! I can see Angry Birds Yoga becoming a worldwide craze;-)".
Rovio is investigating ways to expand the Angry Birds brand, including merchandise, television shows and movies. The game's official website offers plush versions of the birds and pigs for sale, along with T-shirts featuring the game's logo and characters. In May 2011, Mattel released an Angry Birds board game, entitled "Angry Birds: Knock on Wood". Over 10 million Angry Birds toys have been sold thus far. Rovio opened the first official Angry Birds retail store in Helsinki on November 11, 2011 at 11:11am local time. It expects to open its next retail store somewhere in China, considered the game's fastest-growing market. Merchandise has been successful, with 45% of Rovio's revenues in 2012 coming from branded merchandise.
Mikael Hed, CEO of Rovio Mobile, has envisioned a feature film in the stop-motion animation style of Aardman Animation. To that end, Rovio has purchased a Helsinki-based animation studio to prepare Angry Birds short cartoons on the Nicktoons station's Nickelodeon Extra, the first of which was a Christmas special named "Wreck the Halls" that debuted in December 2011. Rovio also hired David Maisel, former executive producer of Marvel Studios films such as Iron Man and Thor, to head up production of feature-length films. Hed acknowledges that such a film would be years away, and that Rovio must keep the characters relevant until then, by producing sequels or new ports of the original game. Rovio officials have hinted that one such "sequel" will be told from the pigs' point of view.
On March 20, 2012, National Geographic published a paperback book titled Angry Birds Space: A Furious Flight Into The Final Frontier shortly before the release of Angry Birds Space which became available on March 22, 2012.
At Spring 2012, Olvi started to manufacture Angry Birds softdrink, when it made a deal with Rovio for making of them. First there came two different tastes, Tropic (tropical fruits). and Paradise (pineapple-mandarin). At September 2012 Olvi released two new tastes to the softdrink collection, they were Lagoon (pear-apple) and Space Comet (orange-cola).
Angry Birds Toons, a TV series based on the game made its debut on March 16, 2013. Toons is released through third-party video distribution platforms, including Comcast’s Xfinity On-Demand in the US, Samsung Smart TVs, and Roku set-top boxes. It is also available in a number of countries on traditional television broadcasts. Angry Birds Toons is available on mobile devices by an additional Toons channel on all of the Angry Birds apps homescreens.
A 3D computer-animated film has been officially announced for release on July 1, 2016. The film will be developed, produced and financed by Rovio and distributed by Sony Pictures. The film will be the first to be produced by Rovio, written by Jon Vitti & directed by Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly.
In January 2014, it was revealed that Angry Birds was considered a "leaky app" and was used to collect data about its users including their sexual orientation and location by the NSA and GCHQ. In retaliation, anti-NSA hackers defaced Rovio's website. Claims were made by Edward Snowden that the app was leaky and that they were capable of siphoning off data.
According to The Register, the information was leaked through the in-game advertisement code like that embedded by Millennial Media: “Millennial's tracking software generates a personal record for each user that can store information from their political affiliation and sexual orientation to whether their marital state was single, married, divorced, engaged or "swinger." This information is used to target in-app ads more effectively, and can be collected by UK and US intelligence agencies for analysis”. In a statement to the press, Rovio denied that they were themselves providing any information to the intelligence agencies, but did not exclude the possibility that their advertisers might do so.
Following this revelation, on January 29, the Angry Birds site was defaced by hackers who replaced it with "Spying Birds" via a DNS hijacking attack. According to Rovio, "The defacement was caught in minutes and corrected immediately". The Syrian Electronic Army tweeted after the incident that the attack had been carried out by "a friend" of theirs.
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