This article was published on May 3, 2011

Angry Birds Achievements – another app opportunity?

Angry Birds Achievements – another app opportunity?
David Reinhardt
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David Reinhardt

David is a London based technologist working for BSG (UK). He likes to think about how people and organisations get the most out of emerging David is a London based technologist working for BSG (UK). He likes to think about how people and organisations get the most out of emerging technologies. You can find him on his blog and Twitter.

According to my Achievements page I am a True Angry Birds fan (I’ve played for at least 15 hours). I’ve even got the very smiley face badge to prove my love. Before you wire a telegram of congratulations, note that I could still progress to Angry Birds Addict (30 hours). In fact, I suspect that if South African Airways hadn’t barred me from using my phone inflight, I’d be there already.

I like the Angry Birds Achievements page. It adds a meta-perspective that is not available in similar games. The in-play popups are a nice touch and the Achievements badges are elegantly illustrated (like the rest of the game). 

A recent Wired UK article revealed how explicitly engineered the game is in order to appeal to a wide target market. It got me thinking about the various dimensions of the game and whether the Achievements feature might be a lost opportunity for another dimension.

Be specific

Earning badges at milestones is all very well and good, but I could doubtlessly be better motivated if I knew how that I needed to smash another 253 stone blocks before achieving my Stonecutter badge. At the moment I know that I’ve played more than 15 hours and less than 30 hours – I’d like to know if it is 23 or 25 hours.

Get analytical

Once you provide better information it seems natural to contextualise that information. Don’t just tell me I’ve collected 67 of the 100 features required to be a Feather Collector, show me some bar charts which indicate progress towards the next set of Achievements.

You could even throw in some comparative insights. Where there are apples v. apples comparisons, demonstrate them (e.g. number of each wooden blocks smashed v. stone blocks).

Consider how analysis of other in-game actions might be insightful

There are also some statistics that aren’t revealed in the Achievements page. I’d love to see

  • How many times I’ve reset a level after throwing only 1 bird
  • Average number of times I’ve score 1 star, 2 star or 3 stars
  • Average number of attempts to complete a level
  • Average number of attempts to achieve 3 stars on a level
  • Average time to complete a level

Celebrate the breadth of the Angry Birds estate

For much less than the price of a coffee, I could have 3 Angry Birds games (Original, Seasons and Rio). It would be interesting to compare similar stats across the 3 games that I may have on my device.

Go social

This seems like the lowest hanging fruit. Allow folk to either automate publishing to Facebook and Twitter (“share as you earn”) or post individual achievements (once earned) as and when they choose to do so. Going social can drive competition among friends and connections to play towards achievements and hopefully increase engagement with the game.

Bringing it all together

TNW’s Badgeville demonstrates some of these ideas quite elegantly (look at the “Community” widget to your right of this article). If you look at my profile badge you can see a graphical indicator of progress to the next level and some stats. Elsewhere in the widget I can share my “achievements” with my social networks, I can view what I’d need to do to achieve additional badges and compare my progress with friends.

I feel like I want to run a whiteboard session with the Angry Birds guys and some infographic experts. How amazing would it be for Angry Birds to be able to generate comparative infographics based on my own gameplay which I can share across my various social networks?

I’d pay another 59p for that functionality.

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