31 Jan 2011

Angry Birds are killing my brain

I’ve always considered myself pretty well informed. As a former newspaper journalist, I have been something of a news junkie. I hate the thought that something important might happen somewhere without me knowing about it.

When I was living in London, I used to read at least two newspapers on my way to work. Here in Stockholm, when not riding my bicycle to work, I would either scan a newspaper (even the free Metro) or dive into The Economist. A ten-minute trip on the Stockholm subway would be a wonderful opportunity to sup at that weekly smörgåsbord of informed analysis.

At home, the TV was almost permanently tuned into the BBC, CNN, al-Jazeera. The internet was a joy: I could read news from dozens of my favorite papers and magazines, watch TV reports, listen to radio stations and podcasts.

Mobile internet made it even better. I was never more than seconds away from the BBC’s news site, Dagens Nyheter. I could keep up with breaking events, understand issues of global, regional and local importance. I was well read, and could make considered comments on the issues of the day.

Then something happened.

I downloaded Angry Birds onto my smart phone.

The game, one of the top downloads for both Android and Apple smart phones, is addictive. Instead of reading about developments in Cote d’Ivoire, I am hurling digital crows, gulls (I think) and strange exploding birds at evil pigs who have stolen my eggs. I am wracking my brains, trying my best to knock down the swine’s seemingly impenetrable lairs. Ten minutes, twenty, even half an hour can disappear. Just one more try. I almost got it. Yes! (I have even punched the air, discretely, and received a knowing smile from the passenger next to me, who is playing the same game.)

One claim to fame for the mobile internet is that it helps people pass the time. Some have said it and personal stereos are killing off small talk between fellow bus and train passengers (never really a big thing here in Stockholm).

This might be another phenomenon, with potentially devastating consequences for our society. Games like Angry Birds, Bouncing Balls and Alien Abduction might inadvertently be leading to a less-informed polis.

I would like to explore this theme in more depth. But not now. I have just worked out how to get the final pig on level 2-15. Talk to you later.


John Ambrose is a communications consultant, editor and copywriter. After a career in newspapers in Australia and London, he has concentrated on writing about telecom, technology, travel and banking over the past ten years with customers including Ericsson.

JG Communication är Sveriges största och, tycker vi, ledande kommunikationsbyrå. Vi hjälper våra kunder att skapa relevanta konversationer med de som betyder mest för dem. Vi gör det genom att använda de verktyg som betyder mest för oss, ord, ljud och b

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Christine said...

I've lost my husband completely to this game. At least the theme song is great!

Isabella said...

This is OH so true.. Truly addictive. I love it!