Angry birds, angry people?

Angry_Birds_SeasonsModeration is a fatal thing.  Nothing succeeds like excess. ~ Oscar Wilde

Moderation has never been my strong suit.  I can obsess over almost anything. When I read that Oscar Wilde, author of the quote above, died at the young age of 46,  I wondered if it might have been excesses rather than moderation that contributed to his early demise.

My latest obsession is Angry Birds.  I didn’t intend it to be an obsession.  It’s just that I had heard so many people mention playing the inane electronic game that I wondered if I were missing out on something really exciting and marvelous.  I can now say unequivocally that I wasn’t.  Will it contribute to my demise?  Not likely.  But possibly, in an indirect way.  If I sit on my duff and play too much I probably won’t clean my house or go for a walk as often as I would if I had not put those silly birds on my Nook.  As if I need more excuses for not doing those important things.

Actually, I don’t really think the lack of adequate exercise would be as much of a factor as would the stress the game creates in me.  Stress, you say.  It’s a game!  Games are fun, entertaining.  Aren’t they?

I have often wondered and worried about our children and the effect violent games might have on them.  Since the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook, I have heard several times that there are no studies to prove a correlation between violent television programs and/or video games, and violence in children or adults.  I’m still wondering.

I would imagine that some of you are thinking Angry Birds?  Violent?  I’ll try to explain.

In case you don’t know, the goal of this seemingly harmless game is to fire your angry bird(s) from a slingshot in an effort to detonate/explode/kill little round green pigs, or other birds who are placid and not angry, or monkeys.  Did I say KILL?  I don’t kill things.  Why am I killing birds and pigs and monkeys — even in a game?

When I started playing I thought it was fun.  As I progressed through the easier levels and started to find it difficult to “kill” all the creatures I was supposed to kill, I got very antsy and unsettled and yes, angry.  My eyebrows started to look like those on the bird in the picture above and I would find myself saying, “Damn you, monkey, I’ll get you next time around!”  My muscles tensed.

A few nights ago I made the mistake of playing a kill-the-monkeys game shortly before going to bed.  Not smart for one who suffers from insomnia once or twice a week.  I went to bed and, of course, could not sleep.  Not only could I not sleep but I kept seeing buildings and cages and critters detonating into thousands of pieces.  And the worst image of all was the evil monkey with its Groucho Marx eyebrows taunting me.  Nightmares without the sleep.  What a stupid thing to do to myself.

I’m happy to announce that I’m finished with those Angry Birds.  It’s about self-defense.  I’m afraid they will finish me.

I would be interested in your comments.  Do you play video games?  Which ones?  Have you had an experience like mine?

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21 thoughts on “Angry birds, angry people?

  1. I play angry birds. You must realize that the pigs are evil and tried to steal the birds’ eggs. Angry birds can teach a lot of good things as well, such as standing up for yourself and what you believe in. As for the birds being shot at other birds, they are doing this to free the birds and aren’t harming them. Hope this helped clarify and happy angry bird playing!!

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    • Hi Randi. Thank you for reading my post and for taking the time to respond. I’m sitting here smiling at my ignorance and lack of research as I thank you sincerely for enlightening me. I confess that I am no longer playing Angry Birds but I may give it another shot (a little pun) now that I understand what it’s all about. Thanks again. I hope to hear from you again.

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  2. The first time a friend showed me Angry Birds, I asked “are you trying to free the pigs?” When he told me you’re supposed to KILL the pigs, I was immediately turned off. But, I did indulge just a little… enough to feel the hook taking hold, and then I backed off and haven’t touched the game since. On another note, I received an original Nintendo for Christmas and now I’ve re-invigorated my addiction to Super Mario Bros. I don’t seem to have an issue with the violence if I’m killing pixely imaginary creatures.

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  3. I love computer games. I was obsessive about them when they first came out, but I stay away from many of them now and just play Scramble on my iPhone. It’s fast and doesn’t interfere with my life. When Nintendo first came out, I had to save that princess!

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  4. Oooo I’m addicted to solitaire on the computer. I actually find it relaxing and I guess as I’m not killing things I tell myself it’s OK. However I have no idea to play the game with cards so, having considered your post I’m going to learn 🙂

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    • I learned solitaire as a child. I watched my dad play. I have to admit, though, that I haven’t used cards in years. Technology has changed how we live in ways I never could have imagined–some of it good, some not.

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  5. I liked this piece very much for starters. Re Oscar Wilde…I believe what hastened his death was the time he spent in prison where his health was quite compromised. He was only allowed one letter a week to write…imagine a writer like him not being able to do what he loves…always found his story heartbreaking…as far as computer games go, they can deaden your senses like a drug. I’m even talking cyber solitaire. It’s addicting. Again, I really enjoyed this essay.

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    • I think you’re right about the demise of OW. His incarceration would certainly have been a big factor.

      I’ve always hated video games, especially those with sound effects. I don’t know what came over me. I knew better than to try those stupid birds. I’m happy to say I can spend five minutes with Solitaire and find it relaxing.

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  6. You may be surprised to hear that I have never heard of “Angrybirds”, but it is the kind of mindless thing I can get sucked into if I am not careful. I too worry about teenagers spending too much time alone playing violent games without learning the socialising skills which i regard as all important. I know that loads of money has been spent trying to ascertain the results of this activity, without any conclusive results. More than anything I get bored, or have an urgent conversation with some passing sparrow and get distracted. It means I don’t get involved in the game, but it is a bit hard on the sparrow.

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    • (Giggle.) I am not at all surprised that you haven’t heard of Angry Birds. And to that I say, “Good for you!” I wish I hadn’t. But with so many grandchildren, I would have to keep my head in a paper sack to be unaware of all the electronic gadgets. In the future I shall try to avoid direct contact such as loading them onto my electronic devices. I, too, shall try to converse with some passing sparrow. She will be ever so much more soothing. Thanks for your comment.

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  7. Sudoku is my obsession of choice. Hmm…is that an oxymoron? I must admit that sometimes I see numbers when I close my eyes. My husband is the Angry Birds guy. I finally got his some earphones so that when he is in bed their laughter doesn’t wake me up.

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    • “obsession of choice” I guess we choose them initially. Where they go from there–not so much. I think it should have been obvious from the start that Birds wasn’t the game for me. The first thing I did was turn the sound off.

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  8. Hi NCMW. It sounds as if you react the same way I do. I’m back to Solitaire and Sudoku. Tame games.

    As for the kids–is it the forbidden fruit? You just never know, but I don’t blame you for not allowing them to play at an early age. If nothing else, it wastes a lot of time. Well, that’s my take. Not everyone would agree.

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  9. I do not play video games because I get very “nervous” and uptight. I wondered what these games did to my blood pressure so I took my b/p before playing. Then I played for only ten minutes and rechecked my b/p. It had risen significantly! So there is little doubt that video games are not good for my health, given my underlying hypertension. So I will stick with chess, FreeCell, and solitaire.

    I think these games truly cannot be done in moderation. They are designed to “hook” the player with increasingly elaborate displays and difficulties. The challenges compel the player to spend more and more time trying to win. I refused to allow my children to have video games, beginning with Atari, then refused to have each of the improved models as they became available. Not even a Gameboy. Now both of them have sophisticated Play Stations and love to play video games. Your figure.

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  10. I used to play video games, but I haven’t for some time. I didn’t find they impacted me greatly save on the days I’d decide I HAD to finish a given level; then I lost a lot of time and peace trying to meet a goal not really worth meeting . . .

    I kinda miss those days. Just kinda.

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    • You are probably not as obsessive-compulsive as I am. I was hooked from the first round, and then wasted lots of time. I still kinda want to play again but I’m going for a walk when the urge hits me. Thanks for your comment, Deb. I hope you’re well.

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