When it was first released in late 2009, no one could have anticipated how popular the mobile game Angry Birds would become. Created by Rovio Entertainment (a computer game developer based out of Finland), Angry Birds was available for Apple's iOS devices first and then spread to a number of other platforms, including Android, Windows Phone, and Symbian. Angry Birds has been credited as being one of the first addictive touchscreen-based games and praised for its use of humor and creativity to enhance gameplay. After the success of the original game, Rovio began to create a number of spinoff games like Angry Birds Seasons, Angry Birds Space, and Bad Piggies. The company also partnered with movie studios for Angry Birds Rio and Angry Birds Star Wars, which put characters from hit films into their own Angry Birds games.
Once it was clear Angry Birds was a hit among smartphone owners around the world, its creators helped the franchise take a major step forward by featuring its characters on physical merchandise. Rovio also began to diversify its brand by signing on to make an Angry Birds television show and a 3D-animated film (set to be released in 2016). The franchise has even spread to theme parks, with attractions and lands based on the characters and the games being featured at parks around the world.
The main characters from Angry Birds--including the red, yellow, black, and blue birds as well as the evil green pigs--have been featured on all different kinds of merchandise. From Halloween costumes (for humans and pets) to plush toys to bouncy balls, you can easily stock up on products featuring your favorite character. A number of toy manufacturers have also released special editions of classic board games, card games, and playsets that have been re-themed to include the Angry Birds characters. Building blocks from K'Nex and racing sets from Telepods are other popular toys that combine older technology with a new franchise.
Beyond toys, you can also find all sorts of apparel and useful accessories for your child that feature these popular characters. Backpacks, folders, pencils, stickers, and other school supplies are available with Angry Birds prints. The brand is also represented on a wide range of graphic tees, pajamas, underwear, swimwear, shoes, hats, jackets, and more. Most products are either themed to the classic Angry Birds or feature one of the most popular spinoff series like Angry Birds Star Wars or Angry Birds Space.
Though you might be baffled by all the merchandise that has sprung up around the popular Angry Birds franchise, it's hard for any parent to deny how addictive the games can be (just download one on your smartphone and try to stop playing to see for yourself). Since these games are full of humor and good fun without any of the violence and gore prominent in so many other video games, many parents are happy to feed into their kids' love for these kooky characters. Though Angry Birds may seem like it's already lost some of its initial momentum, look for that to return once the movie is on the horizon. For its ability to thoroughly shape our culture over the last few years and its overall commitment to fun, we give Angry Birds 4.5 stars out of 5.
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