The first time I saw an angry bird he was an African Grey and nobody wanted him. I took him home and gave him a home and lots of love – angry bird that he was. The second time I saw an angry bird it looked like the one above. A friend of mine was showing off her new kindle, demonstrating aerial agility of her oddly perturbed birds. With glee she hurled the imaginary bird at a tower.
No such thing as a free lunch
My latest encounter with an perturbed bird left me with a bitter taste. I found it difficult to give this bird any love at all. I opened the app store on my own kindle only to see the offer of the latest iteration of irate birds. I was offered the chance to watch miscreant birds go for “free.” But as we all know, there is no such thing as a free lunch, and there is no such thing as a free irate bird – at least not any more. Those who are avid pc gamers are used to the advent of “free to play” games. We are used to games that depend on those few individuals with deep pockets to through money at developers who call them “whales”. But my recent adventures in mobile gaming have shown me that “free” games are not the exception to the rule where apps are concerned; rather they are the rule. In fact, if you peruse what is on offer in places like Google Play and Amazon you will find it difficult to find games for which you must pay anything at all…at least up front.
It is readily apparent that mobile game developers top-load the comments from those rubes…er…gamers who have gone before us. If you look at the comments to any given app you will find the most “useful” comments are those that portray the game in the most glowing of terms, heaping glory after glory on the app. Yet if you refine your search to show the comments ranked lowest to highest you will see a much different picture of a game. That is exactly what I did when I was offered the chance to watch irate birds go. What I found was more than a little upsetting.
Please sir may I have some more?
Anyone who has seen Oliver has seen the poor waif who presents his empty bowl for an extra portion of porridge. The view I saw when I began reading the lowest ratings first presented an image of an angry bird astride a pile of fifty dollar bills demanding more. One such review was by a father who told how his son asked him to play the latest irate birds game.
Anyone who has played an app that is “free” will have noticed how easy it is to accidentally press a button to make an in game purchase. It’s easy as could be. I find myself accidently hitting buttons that ask me to make one inane in game purchase or other. One father told of how his young son asked him to play the latest irate birds game. The father was forced to tell him no. “Remember when you accidently deleted my Luigi’s Mansion game?” the father asked. When they youngster said he did, the father told him how proud he was that he had told the truth. The father was forced to tell his son now because if his son hit the wrong button they would automatically be charged an exorbitant fee for an in game purchase and they wouldn’t be able to pay their electric bill. Some of the go karts that can be purchased in the game it seems cost as much as fifty dollars. Sadder still this is a game that is designed to appeal to young children who are even more apt to make an accidental purchase and find their parents paying fifty dollars for a free app on an smart phone. This, my friends, is not an angry bird.
This is a greedy bird to which I say “go!”
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