Maybe it’s the Asian competitive gene in me, but I can spend hours on a single Angry Birds level in order to achieve the elusive three stars. Sometimes I even flash my screen of completed levels to friends, beaming as if it were a perfect report card.
If you’re not hooked on the game yet, Angry Birds is readily available on many touchscreen-based smart phones. Using a slingshot, you launch different birds (of varying size, color and abilities) in order to destroy their enemies, the green pigs, who have stolen their eggs. Upon completing each themed level, you attain a certain number of points, as well as a score of 0 (failed to complete) to 3 (top score!) stars. Currently, Angry Birds comes in three versions: Regular Angry Birds, Rio Angry Birds (based on the movie, Rio), and Angry Birds Seasons.
I really look forward to the new levels in Angry Birds Seasons, especially since some updates highlight important Chinese traditions. The Mooncake Festival update, released in September 2011, featured green pigs that donned bamboo hats or caps with a trailing braid. While trying to capture all the mooncakes, you can admire the lanterns, swirly clouds, and silhouettes of pagodas. Upon closer inspection, you can even see a rabbit in the moon, which is a part of Asian folklore.
The Year of the Dragon is the latest installment in the Seasons series. With fifteen levels corresponding to the number of days in the holiday, each one is festively adorned with red lanterns and strategically placed fireworks that add more destruction when targeted. Dangling gold fish decorations emphasize the importance of longevity and surplus. Traditionally, fish is eaten on the eve of Chinese New Year.
This year is also an exciting one for China and Rovio, the makers of the addictive game. According to Bloomberg News, the first retail stores will hit China this year, with expected revenue of $100 million. The Finnish-based creators have been responding quickly to the raving popularity in the region. Earlier in September, a video of people launching stuffed Angry Birds via a slingshot at a Chinese theme park gained viral attention:
Imagine, Angry Birds coming to life without harming animals! Although this amusement park was created illegally, Rovio later expressed some interest in partnering with Chinese business partners to turn it into reality.
I’m excited for the developments between Rovio and China. I may never be able to partake in the future theme park, but as soon as I finish The Year of the Dragon level (32 out of 45 stars right now), my fingers will be itching for more!