Just when you glanced wistfully at your Angry Birds coffee mug sitting atop a limited edition Angry Birds Rio coaster and thought the world just doesn’t have enough Angry Birds stuff, Finland saves the day. From the country that not did not bring you Ikea and Volvo, but did bring you Nokia, and thankfully didn’t bring you Björk (this is one of several umlauts I’m coming atcha with), comes the latest in slap-a-licensed-character-on-it-and-it-will-sell experimentation: Angry Birds Land.
Built in Finland’s Särkänniemi Adventure park under the guidance of Rovio, who developed the game just two short years ago, Angry Birds Land boasts a dozen themed rides, an adventure course, and eateries. Park boss Miikka Seppälä adds, “the theme and design of Angry Birds is internationally renowned, so we are delighted to welcome visitors from around the globe to experience the product for themselves.”
No. Way. You mean I get to take my family someplace where everything has Angry Birds characters slapped on it? Wait, somebody please explain it to me because I don’t get i– oohhh wait. You mean like the boys department at Target? Awesome.
But of course the park is more than just fiberglass cartoon birds and green rollercoaster cars with snouts painted on them. There’s interactivity involved! The park features pods, where you can play the game and get downloads for it. Let me get this straight… so instead of conveniently taking Angry Birds with me wherever I go, I can actually stand in one place and do the same thing? Brilliant!
As revolutionary as this sounds, I’m guessing they won’t need to build any new hotels in Tempere, Finland anytime soon. For an attraction aimed at families and young children, touted as a “must-see destination [for] millions of Angry Birds players,” I don’t think the world is feeling this enough to bum-rush the place when it officially opens in June.
Here’s why: Angry Birds Land makes no sense—especially to Angry Birds fans. Making time to go to an Angry Birds theme park is like marrying a girl because she’s an awesome booty call. Families and young children love Angry Birds because it’s there whenever they need it. It’s non-committal, and you play it so that you can avoid doing other things. We’re not vested in Angry Birds like we’re vested in the world of Disney, with all its story lines and characters and such. We give our 2-year-old the iPhone to play Angry Birds when she’s about to throw a tantrum in the supermarket because we like Angry Birds better than temper tantrums. My son plays Angry Birds when he’s in the doctor’s waiting room because we like Angry Birds better than Highlights magazine. I play Angry Birds when I’m on a conference call because I like Angry Birds better than falling asleep on the line and being called out for it by my boss. Angry Birds is the best thing to ever happen to waiting in line. Making us wait in line for an Angry Birds ride is cognitive dissonance at its best.
While I will gladly continue to buy Angry Birds stuffies for my daughter to throw around the house (and yes, Angry Birds was one of her first words), and buy Angry Birds T-shirts with positive, yet pop-culturally relevant sayings on them like “Aim High” for my son, I think the fact that we have the need to play Angry Birds at all precludes us from ever being able to go to Angry Birds Land. Irony aside, I wish them all the success in the world, because if they could ever expand the franchise to build one in the parking lot they call the 10 and 405 freeway interchange in Los Angeles, we’re so there.