Last September, as I suffered through a back-to-school night in my daughter’s first grade classroom, a small, in-app pop-up alert came across my iPhone. It said, “achievement unlocked. 30 total hours logged!” That app was Angry Birds, and that alert ranks as one of the lowest moments in my life, second only to the time in 1989 when I took a picture of Richard Marx into the hair stylist and said, “can you make my hair look like this?”
I’ve spent more than 30 hours playing a video game, and they have the nerve to call that an “achievement.”
Last Wednesday, Rovio Entertainment, the Finnish video game developers, reported that Angry Birds reached its billionth download. To thank all of their loyal customers, they stole another 21 seconds of my life when they released the this video:
Having downloaded Angry Birds, Angry Birds Seasons, Angry Birds Rio, and Angry Birds Space (I’ve got three stars on every level of every board in every game), I think it’s clear that I played my part in helping them reach that stupefying number. It should also be clear that I am butt-psyched for:
The makers of the game that spawned a movie, a TV show, and an amusement park, are now announcing that they have a new video game called Amazing Alex, which articles around the web are describing as “another physics-based game along the lines of Angry Birds.” First off, let’s be careful describing Angry Birds as “physics-based.” The people playing Angry Birds for the “physics” are the same people who read Playboy for the “articles.” Secondly, hold all my calls and clear my schedule because I’m all about playing this game.
While the logo doesn’t reveal much (although, the main character does look like a pretty cool dude there, playing the wall against his own name) I was able to find a few screen shots of the game, and this description:
”The game revolves around a curious little boy, Alex, who enjoys building Rube Goldberg-esque contraptions. In the game, players can use soccer balls, toy cars, tilting shelves, scissors, magnets, pails and boxing gloves to accomplish a task.”
Rube Goldberg stuff?? You mean, like this kind of Rube Goldberg stuff?
There’s no doubt that Angry Birds is a tough act to follow and that expectations for Amazing Alex among gamers, six-year-olds, and me will be set high. But to be fair, Rovio isn’t starting from scratch with their new title; Alex will be a revamp of Casey’s Contraptions, an iPad app that the video game developers recently acquired. Casey sold well on the iPad at $2.99 (more than a fair price for 30+ hours of fun and/or procrastination) but has since been removed from the App Store. Rovio confirmed that the retooled Amazing Alex will be available this summer for download on the Android and iOS, which is nerd for iPad and iPhone.
So, will it be the next craze that creates an addiction of epidemic proportions? It’s hard to say. But I do know that the game comes from a name I can trust. The same way every dope fiend in Baltimore knows to go to the Pit for some of that good Barksdale joint, I know I can go to Rovio to get me my fix.
With summer less than a month away, I’ve only got a few weeks to “achieve” 100% destruction with the Mighty Eagle on every board in Angry Birds Space, before it’s time to move on to the next sensation that will inevitably prohibit me from interacting with other humans and accomplishing anything even remotely productive.
Amazing Alex, I await your arrival.