Monday, March 7, 2011

DBIM: Angry Birds Rio

Since I do the DBIM and am a virulent anti-bird-death guy, a lot of people (well, okay, one person) ask me about the game. After all, the birds disappear in a puff of smoke and feathers after they get tossed at the pigs. Don’t they die?

No, they don't. If you watch the ending movies (we call them “cutscenes” in the game biz), the pigs and birds are all still alive at the end. So, Angry Birds actually rates pretty high in my estimation: it’s a story of birds defending their children.

I know all both of you have been keeping current on last week’s blog entries (I’ll talk about Google Analytics tomorrow), so I won’t rehash how I went to the Game Developer’s Conference. But, there was a talk there about Angry Birds and, since it might be the year’s biggest game success story, I decided to attend.

The talk was a major disappointment. Here’s what I learned in the hour-long talk:

1. Angry Birds is Rovios’s 52nd game.

2. Angry Birds makes a million dollars a day on advertising alone.

3. There’s a Super Bowl ad.

The Super Bowl is a tie in with the Rio movie. I was actually enthusiastic about Rio, since it had a bird protagonist and was unlikely to have bird deaths in it. It also dealt with the horrific trade in wild parrots.

Then I saw the ad. Watch it for a moment.

Can you spot what pissed me off? It’s not the treatment of the Angry Birds trio; that’s funny. It’s not the depiction of the poor conditions of the birds kept in confinement; it’s actually better than what I heard. It’s the fact that the bad guy is a cockatoo.

Okay, so I haven’t seen Rio. It’s wrong for me to judge the movie yet… Ah, heck, we both know I’m going to do it anyway.

They made the bad guy who is perpetrating the cruel confinement and destruction of rare parrot species a parrot himself. Let me state that again: they took a real-world tragedy and made the perpetrator one of the victims. Imagine we made a movie about any other crime -- rape, slavery, genocide, whatever -- and made the bad guy turn out to be doing it to one of his own people. Imagine a rape movie, where the rapists are women. Imagine a slavery movie where the slaveholders turn out to be black. Imagine a Holocaust movie where the Nazis are really Jews. Do you think there’d be outrage?

Nah, probably not. Never mind. Pretend I didn’t even write this.

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