Since I started playing Angry Birds about three years ago, a friend and I occasionally discuss the nature of this very addictive game. My friend thinks it has more to do with geometry and physics than with anger. But I beg to differ.
The back story is: the birds are angry because the pigs invaded their nests and ate the eggs. it’s just a fun game, right? But in the past, I’ve been up close and personal with anger. So, I respectfully submit that I am uniquely qualified to recognize an allegory about this particular emotion when I see one.
The slingshot that launches the angry birds at the miscreant pigs represents the focus or burst of adrenaline one experiences. There is a target, and you’re aiming for it. However, even though there might be a perfectly good reason for the anger in the first place, it can prove unpredictable and have unforeseen consequences. You can launch a bird with bomb or exploding capabilities, but now you’re cut off from the rest of the pigs and you have run out of birds. It’s reminiscent of lobbing that perfect (contentious) comeback into a conversation, then realizing you might have just lost a friend or made an enemy or talked yourself out of a promotion.
Even the colour and the corresponding function of each bird symbolizes the various guises anger can take:
- yellow (joy, happiness) birds speed up (anger without “heat” but is unthinking/knee-jerk)
- black and white (good, purity, innocence/power, death, evil) birds have the capacity to drop egg bombs (anger that explodes after careful consideration)
- black (power, death, evil) birds ones explode when they make contact with something (a person experiencing anger is no longer able to contain themselves when encountering an obstacle)
- blue (trust, loyalty, wisdom) birds split into three (productive anger with multiple purposes)
- red (passion, war, danger) birds are small and don’t really do anything (unproductive anger – doesn’t inspire action or lead anywhere)
Angry Birds as an allegory for anger seems so obvious to me. But I concede, most people probably won’t make the connection.