Attracting millions of users, including even Prime Minister David Cameron, because of its addictive gameplay and comical characters, Angry Birds is the biggest selling iPhone app of all time.
Now makers of the all-conquering game are hoping its fans will want to take a ride at its latest money-making spin-off.
While an Angry Birds Land is already open in Tampere, Finland, the home country of the game’s developers Rovio Mobile, people in the UK have not been able to ride the Angry Birds here – until now.
The UK’s first Angry Birds Activity Park has officially opened at Sundown Adventureland in Nottinghamshire.
Sundown, specially designed for the under 10s, is the first place in Britain to feature Angry Birds playground equipment.
And, not content with the theme parks standing alone, Rovio is fusing reality with the virtual world. By playing on the Angry rides, which will include spring riders, climbing towers, slides, swings and sandpits, children and their parents will be able to access exclusive new features in the smartphone game.
Paul Tomlinson, park manager at Sundown said he was “tremendously excited” about the opening of the Angry Birds rides.
“People of all ages seem to relate to the Angry Birds theme and we are thrilled to be bringing this digital phenomenon to life with the help of Lappset and Rovio,” he added. “The younger generation is living in a world where technology rules so using that to encourage activity must be a positive move.”
While playing virtual games is clearly not the healthiest way to spend your spare time, Peter Vesterbacka, chief marketing officer at Rovio, said the company was firmly committed to changing that perception.
“There is a big problem with childhood obesity in Western countries with children spending a lot of time playing computer games and watching TV,” he conceded. But he said the Angry Birds parks would make exercise fun.
“All the Angry Birds Activity Parks will be Magic Places which means that when people go there, they will gain access to additional content, rewards and special features such as the latest bird,” he explained. There will also be local leader boards so there will be a real incentive to go to the park and exercise. Modern mobile phones have many sensors so the more activity a person does, the more they will be rewarded.”
And, while the play equipment in the UK firmly appeals to younger visitors at the moment, there are moves afoot to add more rides geared towards older children and their parents soon. A further series of Angry Birds-themed rides and a rollercoaster is due to be added to Sundown by next summer and more Angry Birds activity parks are expected to launch across the UK throughout the next year.
One thing’s for sure, if the Angry Birds parks are even a fraction as popular as the downloadable game, then its developers are definitely onto a winner.
Angry Birds has been downloaded an astonishing 700m times and has a huge following in the US, closely followed by the number of supporters in China. The game is played by more than 30m people every day for a collective total of 300m minutes.
Who would ever have imagined a game which essentially involves catapulting destructive birds at hidden pigs would have such wide-ranging and enduring appeal?