If you do and you have an iPhone or i-Screen, there’s a good chance you might be sneaking in a game of Angry Birds. This deceptively simple game has stormed the iPhone app charts, with millions of copies sold since it went on sale last year, and counts the likes of UK Prime Minister David Cameron and author Salman Rushdie among its player base.
So what’s the appeal? The concept is simple enough. Cute but clearly grumpy birds load themselves into a slingshot, and you fling them across the screen to wipe out a bunch of green pigs who are guilty of using the birds’ eggs for a fry-up. You get points for every pig you pop, and once they’re all gone you move through to the next level. Fans say it’s hopelessly addictive.
Last year the Wall Street Journal suggested that one part of the charm of games like Angry Birds is that they’re designed to be played in short bursts. They’re easy to get into and are a great way to snatch a moment of fun in the middle of a demanding schedule. A 2008 study found these kinds of “casual games” were most often played while people were waiting for an appointment, and appeared to contribute to a measurable drop in stress levels.
The Age of Now strikes again. Through ubiquity of technology and screenery, fuelled by creativity, every minute can get a shot of fun.