Attack of Angry Birds

Written by Dr. Andrew Doan & Brooke Strickland on .

By Brooke Strickland

Little red, green, and yellow birds with mean little faces: you see those little faces all over. On t-shirts, hats, laptop screens, posters, and even cookbooks – Angry Birds have taken over!  It first was available for download in 2009 and since then, has been downloaded by users over 1 billion times.

The company not only sees revenue from game downloads but also from all the “stuff” that Angry Birds is now on. You might have downloaded it initially just to pass a little bit of time while you’re traveling or as a break from your monotonous work day.  But before you know it, the little birds have you coming back time and time again and you aren’t able to stop playing.

There are free and paid versions of Angry Birds and both are equally as addictive.  As you go from level to level, you’ll be introduced to different types of birds with a variety of special skills, and the more pigs you get rid of, the faster you’ll clear levels.   So why is it so addictive? First of all, it’s simple. It doesn’t take much time to grasp the rules and start playing.

It doesn’t take much brain effort to use a sling shot to throw one animal at another one’s fortress until they crash and crumble.  It might even be satisfying for some people to see those buildings fall apart after just a second of releasing your slingshot.  It’s instantly gratifying and provides a rush. And as soon as you finish one level, you can move onto the next one, without a break in play time – it’s a continuous upward cycle: the more stuff you break, the more points you get.  It is easy enough, but also engaging enough to keep users coming back for more and more for a challenge.

Angry Birds is virtually everywhere. If you play the game all the time and are trying to cut your time playing, you might not be able to clear your mind completely of it, because almost everywhere, there is talk of Angry Birds or there is some kind of commercialized item out there with a red angry bird on it.  It’s hard to get away from the game when these brand extensions are all over the place.

Do you dream about getting rid of little green pigs all the time?  There are even reports of kids as young as three or four that are playing it all the time – a dangerous statistic. Are you taking your real-life anger out in this Angry Bird game? Do you feel pleasure when you’re destroying the structures in this game?  Video game addiction is very real and can change the way you interact and live in the real world.  If you are struggling with a gaming addiction, visit


“What Makes Games Like ‘Angry Birds’ So Addictive?” NPR, Talk of the Nation. April 17, 2012. Accessed July 17, 2013.

Mazin, Lev. “Are You Addicted to Angry Birds? [Infographic]” Accessed July 17, 2013

“Why is Angry Birds So Addictive?” Scientific American. June 3, 2013. Accessed July 17, 2013.