I feel like being an adult and seeing the insane amount of Angry Birds merchandise flowing through stores in recent years must be what my parents felt when Power Rangers came out. All of a sudden, there’s an extremely large amount of Angry Birds merchandise spilling out. And, as somebody that had a non-smartphone (dumbphone?) when the phase started, I felt very out of the loop when I saw everyone with Angry Birds shirts, shoes, and umbrellas (probably). So why has the war between birds and pigs gotten so big? Here’s a few reasons why:
The Games Are Pretty Good
Let’s begin where it all started: the games. The concept is pretty simple: birds vs. pigs. You know, just like in real life. You slingshot your bird at the pigs and try to make them explode (wow, I would have loved to have seen that pitch meeting.) It’s all about gravity with a bit of puzzle strategy thrown in there. It’s basic addicting arcade style gaming that’s perfect for a casual audience. In other words, it’s a good time killer. It’s like Pac Man fever, except instead of teens wasting all their allowances in an arcade, anyone can play it anywhere.
The Characters Are Marketable
It all started with Angry Birds. And then we started getting Angry Birds Transformers, Angry Birds Star Wars, and I believe Angry Birds Mr. T is coming out soon. Clearly, the world of Angry Birds is easy to market with colorful characters and a world that can have so many different tie-ins. But it’s also branched out into non-bird-flinging genres. For example, Angry Birds Go! mixes the Angry Birds characters with classic kart racing. Angry Birds Epic acted as an RPG imagining of the birds vs pigs war. But perhaps you don’t want to play Angry Birds, maybe you’d rather watch them. They now have cartoons and even a movie dedicated to the avian slingshots.
And, be honest, you would totally play Angry Birds Mr. T Edition.
It’s All Free
On Android devices, the core Angry Birds games are absolutely free. This makes it extremely approachable for the general audience. Unlike something like Mario or Halo, any 7-year-old borrowing their mom’s phone can try it out. And when they try it out, they’ll want the other games. And when they play the other games, they’ll want the merchandise. Then the endless cycle begins again. Trust me, I used to collect Yu-Gi-Oh cards.
As somebody that got caught up in every craze of the 90’s and 2000’s, I can understand why Angry Birds went from time-wasting phone game to a multimedia phenomenon. Need proof? The crates of trading cards and action figures in my parents’ attic will back me up.