Angry Birds – Structural Analysis
Let’s begin with the basics. Similar to Murray’s definition, in Angry Birds, the screen itself is a reassuring fourth wall, and the controller (basically your finger) is the threshold object that takes you in and leads you out of the experience. The immersive visit takes place as the players try to destroy all the pigs in any level. Although the player himself/herself is not actually throwing things to a (let’s say) castle made of wood, ice, rocks, etc; the world from the player’s perspective is still present. It seems to him or her that the game board is the real world as immersion takes place, but it is not the same as an RPG or other dramatically developed games. All the player knows is that there are the birds’ eggs stolen by the pigs, and that they are pretty angry about it.
As the players calculate the angles and strategies, they become semi-aware of themselves, as the game design forces the player to make precise calculations for the outcome of their actions. As a result, at the moment of the angle/strategy decision-making process the player is immersed, but the consequences of that action is partially watched without control. The self-experience of Angry Birds takes both on the stage and in a seat of the audience.
The active creation of belief is constant as Murray puts it (“Because of our desire to experience immersion, we focus our attention on the enveloping world and we use our intelligence to reinforce rather than to question the reality of the experience.”), as the players never question why these birds have special powers differing from one and other, or why they are incapable of flying, the elements offered by the game are taken for granted by players. The realist part of the game is that the existence of gravity, physics in general and geometry are taken into account quite seriously; and this is one of the most effective aspects leading up to the fact that there is this active creation of belief going on throughout the game.
In Angry Birds, a participation mask does not take place, as the players do not choose an avatar or identify themselves with a character in the game. As the player in the game is more in a godly position (controlling the birds), this kind of a participation does not occur.
As the nature of the game is quite simple, it does not have elements of collective participation with roles, structured in the game. The illusory world does not go deeper than a state of ambition to pass the levels and destroy all of the pigs.
Lastly, the aspect of arousal in Angry Birds could be said to be well structured. In Murray’s terms, “the trance should be made deeper and deeper without the emotions becoming hotter and hotter.” Indeed, players find themselves in a mode of trance while playing the game, playing for long periods of time. Although the tasks in the game are not structured to take a long time to be accomplished, it is successful in making the players immersed into the game and keeping them going on. And of course, there is not any sexual aspects as Murray suggests in this game.
It is all about anger. And birds.