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Jim Walker: ‘Angry Birds’ and cranky columnists

Don't Take Me Seriously

Posted: November 11, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: November 11, 2011 1:55 a.m.

So, I just became aware of the video game “Angry Birds” — proving once again how out of touch I am, as the game has been rapidly growing in popularity since it was released in 2009.

Silly little time-waster, seems to me.

In the game, players use a slingshot to launch birds at pigs stationed on or within structures, with the intent to wipe out all the pigs on the playing field and cause massive destruction. I am told the fact that the game is mobile, as in you can play it on your smartphone, is the best thing about it.


I can sure tell you the worst thing about it: It has generated an estimated $70 million. Someone is getting rich while y’all waste your lives away playing it. And, most important, I’m getting none of the cash!

This makes me an angry bird.

It’s bad enough that I didn’t invent the microwave oven, VCR or reciprocating nose hair trimmer, or that I didn’t create Microsoft or Apple. These oversights I can reluctantly live with because, I assume, it took a lot of hard work and genius to accomplish these things. No, it’s the cash cows that originally started off as larks, such as Facebook and “Angry Birds,” that I can’t accept.

I mean, I get angry, too, you know. And I have done my share of destruction. We’re talking real-life, lookie-there destruction, not namby-pamby stuff on a video screen. And all it ever did was cost me money, not make any.

Someday I will find there is a museum dedicated to the doors, walls, windows, textbooks, electronics and gas-powered devices I have turned into “artwork” during my lifetime of “game play.”

And guess what else I’ll learn.

Right, the museum can’t make any money, either. It will be more of an homage to lovable intensity, a curiosity folks will tour and add graffiti to, as they do with Cadillac Ranch in Texas.

Now, aside from being a reusable outlet for aggression, “Angry Birds” is pretty much a do-nothing-machine. Nothing of any real use is created during its “play.”

Well, I have created my share of do-nothing-machines, too, from the Incredible Sinking Raft to the Twisted Trumpet to the Immobile Automobile.

And Dehydrated Water was an idea I came very close to perfecting.

But turning the corner to profitability with these masterstrokes was always where I came up short.

I mean, does anyone remember the Pet Rock? Well, I invented a version of that. I called him Fred. I just got, you know, really angry once, and threw Fred at someone — and he turned Fred into a marketing bonanza.

Then there were my Broccoli Patch Kids (made of real broccoli), Tickle Me Elbows and Beanie Boogers — all just an eyelash away from hitting the right marketing demographic, I’d swear.

Where was my assistance from the universe? Where was my marketing guru? Where were perfect timing and plain-old luck? Where is my money?!


Woulda, shoulda, coulda.

But knowing people are squandering their youth and making nerds rich while playing a silly, simplistic little video game with characters a 3-year-old could draw…well, it just doesn’t sit right.

I mean, in an equitable world, I’d make millions with these columns. They are equally as socially-valuable as “Angry Birds,” and have the added benefit of making terrific bird cage liners when you are through with them.

Maybe I will create a video game called “Cranky Columnists.” Maybe it would be something like “Where’s Waldo” meets Monopoly, and every time you pass “Go” or find the columnist complaining, or in a compromising situation, you send 99 cents to yours truly.

Either that, or take a shot of our “game-brand” tequila.

The details are unimportant at this point. All that needs to happen now is that it goes viral on Twitter and gets top billing on the Google search engine. The numbers will be up, the investors will follow, and we’ll supply actual product later.

I hear “Angry Birds” got started for $140,000. For that money, I can take my sabbatical to Tahiti and, you know, eventually, come back with something really spiffy for you.

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