The UX of Angry Birds

9 Mar

It seems like every time I take the subway to work and back, I always spot a patron or two completely engrossed with shooting little birds at green pigs with a slingshot. Of course I’m speaking of the mobile game hit Angry Birds which has sold millions and has rumors of an animated movie under negotiation.

Charles Mauro breaks down the psychology and experience of what made the game such a hit on his blog:

What makes a user interface engaging is adding more detail to the user’s mental model at just the right time. Angry Birds’ simple interaction model is easy to learn because it allows the user to quickly develop a mental model of the game’s interaction methodology, core strategy and scoring processes. It is engaging, in fact addictive, due to the carefully scripted expansion of the user’s mental model of the strategy component and incremental increases in problem/solution methodology. These little birds are packed with clever behaviors that expand the user’s mental model at just the point when game-level complexity is increased.

It’s a great read with an analysis on many different aspects of the game from its ability to manage short term memory and make good use of audio and visual cues.

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