5 Reasons Angry Birds Is So Damn Addictive

Dave Parrack 07-03-2012

why is angry birds so addictingMy name is Dave Parrack, I’m a 34-year-old freelance writer from England, and I have a problem. I’m addicted to playing Angry Birds. Being hooked on catapulting feathered weapons of mass destruction into smug pigs may not be as bad as addictions to cigarettes, alcohol, or hard drugs, but it’s an addiction nonetheless.


I’ve admitted I have a problem. Which is the first sign on the road to recovery, or so they say. But I’d still like to get to the heart of the issue and know how and why I’m addicted to such a stupid little game. I think I’ve figured it out, determining the five biggest reasons why Angry Birds is so damn addictive. Whether this knowledge will help me, and possibly you too, to kick the habit remains to be seen.

1. Simplicity

why is angry birds so addicting

Angry Birds is as simple as simple gets. The basic concept is so easy that everyone, no matter what their age or mental faculty, can understand it. There isn’t even a need for words, taking language barriers out of the equation. A couple of frames sets the tone for the chapter and off you go. You control the slingshot, and you’re using birds to destroy pigs in order to retake the birds’ eggs. Simple.

Why is simplicity addictive? Because your brain equates simplicity with ease. That means you know you should be able to beat the game. There is no real skill involved, just using angles of attack and working out where each variety of bird should be deployed. This harkens back to gameplay of old. Think Frogger, Pacman, Tetris, Space Invaders. All of which were also highly addictive.

2. Success/Failure

why is angry birds so popular


There is a fine line between success and failure in Angry Birds. The difference between destroying all the pigs and scenery with the first bird, and leaving everything intact after three birds is a matter of adjusting the angles ever so slightly. Or even using the same angles but deploying a bird’s special ability at precisely the right moment.

Why is success/failure addictive? Because it keeps you playing, quite simply. Get it wrong once and you immediately want to try again, just tweaking the angle or point of delivery by a tiny increment in order to affect the outcome. And you’ll keep trying until you succeed, and move on to the next level.

3. Progress

why is angry birds so popular

There is a clear and obvious line of progression in Angry Birds. The levels are small, and you always feel that you’re making progress. After each level you’re immediately taken to the next, and you never want to stop playing. At least not until you get well and truly stuck. Even when you beat all the levels, an insatiable thirst builds for beating your best score and getting a three star rating.


Why is progress addictive? Because you’re always working your way towards a conclusion. With modern video games it’s often hard to see any progress being made; the levels are long, and the markers are few and far between. Angry Birds rejects that concept completely and returns us to a time when games comprised of dozens of separate levels.

4. Satisfaction

why is angry birds so popular

I hate to admit it but there is a certain level of satisfaction felt in playing Angry Birds. Launching a bird into a wall and seeing the death and destruction rain down as a result is compelling. Getting it just right and seeing the whole level implode in one hit often elicits a smile or even a laugh. Which is more than usually happens when I’m playing the latest Call of Duty. Possibly because I’m crap at Call of Duty.

Why is satisfaction addictive? Because it makes you happy, releasing endorphins into the system. It’s really no wonder you want, or even need, to keep on playing and keep those feelings rolling in. The more you play the more you laugh, the more you laugh, the more you feel a rush, the more of a rush you feel, the more you want to keep on playing!


5. Competition

angry birds addiction

I’m now playing Angry Birds on Facebook, which has rapidly become my favorite way of playing it. I’m pretty choosy who I befriend on Facebook, and for that reason it’s only people I really want to talk to who make the cut. Who have I been battling on Angry Birds over the last two weeks? My boss at MakeUseOf, and my girlfriend. And they’re both kicking my butt. Even with me utilizing these hints and tips The Top 7 Angry Birds Hints & Tips To Help You With Your Frustration Even though I love computer games, there's a very good reason why I'm not keen on trying on new games. It's because I love games too much that it's hard for me to stop once... Read More .

Why is competition addictive? Because no one wants to be beaten, no matter how uncompetitive and non-combative they may be. You play a level and finish it fine, but you’re still only number two or number three in the pecking order. You need to play again, to up your score, to overtake whichever friends are beating you on Angry Birds.

Save Me!!!

why is angry birds so addicting


OK, so they’re the five reasons I’m addicted to Angry Birds, and if you’re addicted to Angry Birds as well then they may apply to you too. Together we can beat this addiction. By uninstalling the game from the various places we have installed it. By refusing friend requests or notifications your score has been beaten. By refusing to care about those birds and their godforsaken eggs. Or am I taking it all a little too seriously?

Image Credit: Sarah G…

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  1. Anonymous
    March 28, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    I had uninstalled it a long time ago prior you post it... same reasons, you read my mind!

    At end i could have it to not be installed on any place... now Windows 10 pretends to make us additc to MineCraft, so best i can do, uninstall it and never try to start it anywhere, also look to another place if someone is playing it !!!

    Arrrggg... we are addict to GAMES !!! and that will not change !!! But some games are really bad to get addict to them, like Carmagedom !!!

  2. ashvindx
    May 12, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    Totally agree with you. You have to include the humour in your list.

    If you compare games that have copied Angry Birds, they often lack some of the ingredients that made Angry Birds addictive.

    • Dave Parrack
      May 12, 2012 at 1:45 pm

      There is something rather magical about Angry Birds. Which is why it's racked up 1 billion downloads in total.

  3. Christian Nilsson
    March 7, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    i'm pretty addicted too.. i do however have 3 stars on every level on all games so i'm not as addicted now as i was when i started playing

    and i do think you're taking it all a little to seriously.. :)

    • Dave Parrack
      March 7, 2012 at 8:44 pm

      You must have been more addicted than I am to have aced all levels! Angry Birds Space is launching soon...

      You're probably right about me taking it too seriously. It's definitely the behavior of an addict :S

      • Christian Nilsson
        March 8, 2012 at 1:10 pm

         well, i was, but i started playing last winter, a bit after Angry Birds Rio was released.

        At first like you wrote, you're just trying to actually get through all the levels no matter how many stars you get, but after you've done that you just want to go back and three star all levels, especially those really annoying ones where you not only need to aim very very precise, you also need luck so you get the right domino effect

        • Dave Parrack
          March 8, 2012 at 1:14 pm

          There is definitely an element of luck built in. Which can make it frustrating but keeps you playing even more!

  4. adeem
    March 7, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    m in love with this game.

  5. Kalpesh
    March 7, 2012 at 5:48 pm