It’s no secret that Angry Birds is one of the most popular cell phone games ever created. It’s bright colors, simple yet challenging gameplay, upbeat music, and its cult following have allowed it to become a pop culture staple. If you don’t believe me, check out what cell phone service provider T-Mobile did with the game in Barcelona.
The other day I was thinking about the success of Angry Birds and how iconic each of its various “characters” are. I realized that there are quite a few analogies that can be drawn from the game and used to help kids understand and internalize business. The birds, the pigs, the points, the stars, and even the breakable objects seen in the game can all be connected to various aspects of business.
Each level has a unique layout along with specific combinations of birds and pigs. These levels are like different business markets, which have companies that try to win by being better, cheaper, or faster than their competition. Markets also have different external factors that impact how firms can interact with one another as well as challenges they must overcome.
They come in different shapes and sizes and all have unique skills that allow you to be effective against different breakable objects. For example, you have all-purpose red birds which can pretty much be used for anything and black birds which turn into bombs the second they touch something. Although those aren’t the only types of birds in the game, the point is that each bird has a special purpose and may only be effective against certain types of objects. The same can be said about the various departments or divisions of a business. They all have unique functions and specific purposes.
The basic goal of every Angry Birds level is to eliminate the evil pigs. Whenever a bird is launched and it hits a pig, the players is awarded points. If they eliminate all of the pigs without running out of birds, the player wins the level. These pigs represent the various goals or objectives of a business. Every company must hit its goals in order to earn a profit and be successful.
In Angry Birds, you can pick up points when you break objects in the process of hitting each of the pigs. If you leave a lot of objects untouched at the end of the game, you failed to capitalize on opportunities for earning more points. Likewise, businesses sometimes miss opportunities to generate additional revenue. This can come in the form of failing to learn lessons for later, wasting resources, or just not being efficient. Think of the objects left behind at the end of the game as a metaphor for resources a company has wasted or inefficiencies within that company.
The points in Angry Birds are reflective of how well a player does on a particular level. If you hit all the pigs and break plenty of objects, you can earn quite a few points. In business, if you minimize waste and meet all of your goals, you typically earn a profit.
The stars in Angry Birds are awarded based on how well you play the game. The more points you earn, the more stars you receive. It’s that simple. These stars are just like awards and recognition businesses receive for doing well. The most profitable businesses in the world are included on lists like Fortune 500 and often recognized for specific accomplishments too.
Although Angry Birds can be a great analogy for certain facets of business, it isn’t all encompassing. There are other facets of business such as taxes or research and development that don’t have obvious metaphors found in the game. However, the basic principles remain the same and that is why the game is a great tool for teaching kids about business.