Angry Birds Isn’t Worth $40, but at Least it’s Physical

Angry Birds has made an appearance on consoles. It’s a trilogy pack pulling from Angry Birds, Rio, and Space, a three-fer that somehow warrants a $40 price tag ($30 for the 3DS). That’s outrageous, especially when you consider the game runs you $1 (or even free) on your phone/table.

But, it’s preserved. At this point in its existence, Angry Birds is ingrained in our culture. Where Mario and Sonic once adorned lunchboxes, blankets, and shower heads (and in some cases they still do), Angry Birds has done much the same. Much as an older generation has a deep, intense nostalgia stomping on Goombas, this generation will share those feelings, only to the tune of knocking things over.

In a world slowly being dominated by digital, mainstream consumers oblivious to how fragile an ecosystem it is, Angry Birds could have been lost. Smartphones have a short lifespan as our key devices, and new editions don’t always offer the same software line-up. It’s even worse when you consider the infancy of mobile gaming. Many of those early sprite-based action titles – even a God of War – are lost or forgotten to the ages. You can’t play them on modern devices, and in some cases, they’re locked to specific, antiquated flip phones.

That’s where Angry Birds got lucky, capturing such a wide breadth of the market, it deserved a special place. In cartridge or disc form, even at a bloated price, there are few worries of it disappearing into a digital mobile future. Who is taking the time to make sure Doodle Jump is locked for the ages? Who ensures these free-to-play money suckers are preserved and their code can live on?

We’ve rushed into this era of devices without considering the hard questions. The money is great and the platforms are open to all, but all of this seems for naught if nostalgia can’t breathe in a broken, mutilated digital future. Growth of a sub-section of this industry, or maybe even THE industry someday, will be hard to follow.

Don’t think this is a singular problem: Consoles and PC games will suffer from this impact too, but to a lesser extent. Where emulation is great and focused in those areas after the system’s life span (DOSBox is a savior), the sheer scale of managing Android apps via emulation – across all of those phones, carries, and specs – is unfathomable. There are dedicated communities, but it’s a hobbyist endeavor. Google undoubtedly doesn’t care, nor does Apple.

Soon, someone has to.