(Or A.K.A how controls makes everything easier thus better)
Angry Birds is a hit, we all know that.
But what, or how, did that game becomes a hit? In my opinion (and I believe this is most of other people’s opinion as well) Angry Birds is in fact a physics game – look at it – You shot the birds using a slingshot, it creates a curve and hit the buildings, the buildings collapse and crash the pigs, all of them follows real life physics: To wreck the most havoc you surely need to aim for the base of the building because you know this will cause the most damage. Basically you are using a slingshot to destroy buildings – there are thousands of flash games online that have a similar goal and gameplay. Some of them are even before Angry Birds.
So why only Angry Birds become a hit?
Look how this game gets referred by others – Casual Game instead of a Physics Game. Most physics games requires that the player know the physics behind the game, thus they features controls that’s usually hard to make the player understand – “I know I need to use these bricks to destroy this building, but I now have several kinds of bricks that each has a different property that each description equals to walls of text, how am I supposed to play this thing.”
Angry Birds, on the other hand, simplifies the game down to a drag and release. No matter the platform, the core gameplay here is just drag and release. You don’t get the chance to select what to fire since the game did it for you. You don’t need to calculate how to fire to whack more havoc since the game points it out – It actually gets easier in later games. The game also avoids the walls of text seen commonly in prior traditional physic games by showing the player how it’s done, but that’s more a tutorial thing instead of controls.
It is a Physics Game, however It’s built in such a way that even people who don’t know the inner workings (Giving what I’m currently studying, I know the inner workings of this game and I think all physics games are boring because of that, can’t help it.) to enjoy the game to the fullest without a steep learning curve. And the first step of that, is the simplified, easy controls.
Control is not the only thing that gets streamlined, a lot of things are, but we’ll leave it for later when this issue is brought up again in future blog entries. I myself is not a fan of simplified stuff, but most people out there do like it, and we should always cater to the player’s needs.