Angry Birds "Crushed" The Castle
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×

Like this? Share it with your network

Share

Angry Birds "Crushed" The Castle

  • 773 views
Uploaded on

Rarely does an imitation become more successful than an original. Angry Birds has become one of the most popular multiplatform videogame franchises. However the foundation of their gameplay was......

Rarely does an imitation become more successful than an original. Angry Birds has become one of the most popular multiplatform videogame franchises. However the foundation of their gameplay was quite similar to a previously released game, Crush The Castle.
There were plenty of similarities between the two games, however Angry Birds tweaked some characteristics and became a sensation.
This essay focuses on a comparison between both games to figure out why Angry Birds “Crushed” the Castle.

  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
    Be the first to comment
    Be the first to like this
No Downloads

Views

Total Views
773
On Slideshare
773
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
0

Actions

Shares
Downloads
2
Comments
0
Likes
0

Embeds 0

No embeds

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
    No notes for slide

Transcript

  • 1. Module: Psychology Of Design Assignment 2: Angry Birds “Crushed” The Castle M.Des 1.1 Name: Harshal Desai Lecturer: Filip Fransen Date of Submission 06/12/2011 Word Count: 2092
  • 2. TABLE OF CONTENTS Executive Summary.................................................................................................................... 2 Introduction ............................................................................................................................... 3 Gameplay ................................................................................................................................... 4 Graphics ..................................................................................................................................... 6 Aggression and dark humor ....................................................................................................... 7 Reward system ........................................................................................................................... 9 Conclusion ................................................................................................................................ 12 Works Cited .............................................................................................................................. 13 1|Page
  • 3. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Rarely does an imitation become more successful than an original. Angry Birds has become one of the most popular multiplatform videogame franchises. However the foundation of their gameplay was quite similar to a previously released game, Crush The Castle. There were plenty of similarities between the two games, however Angry Birds tweaked some characteristics and became a sensation. This essay focuses on a comparison between both games to figure out why Angry Birds “Crushed” the Castle. 2|Page
  • 4. INTRODUCTION Crush The Castle is a popular casual strategy and physics based videogame that transports you back to the days of yore, where a trebuchet – a medieval engine of war, is loaded with a variety of rocks to decimate the resistance. The premise of the game is there are two kingdoms, Redvonia and Arcturia. The player, under the orders of the Redvonian King, has to kill and conquer the lands of Arcturia by destroying all the castles in the rival kingdom. (Armorgames.com, 2009) Originally, a flash action game, the storyline has a medieval environment and versions of the game were made available for the iPhone in early 2010. The goal is to injure all inhabitants of various castles using a standard trebuchet to fling large rocks or bombs at their castles. Crush the Castle was released in 2009 and has been played more than 20 million times just through their website. However, the game never really took off to the level of success as Angry Birds managed to capture. While both games are quite similar, this essay analyses the key differences between both games to understand why Angry Birds “Crushed” The Castle. 3|Page
  • 5. GAMEPLAY The overall gameplay is slightly more complex. Players fling rocks by launching a trebuchet. In this case, unlike the slingshot from Angry Birds, the angle of the trebuchet is not controlled by the user and depends on split second clicking. It requires two clicks, one to launch the trebuchet in a swinging motion and another to fling the rocks off to cause destruction and damage on the fortified structures of the rival kingdom. It takes a few repetitions to get used to the timings and requires a certain degree of concentration. Figure 1: Gameplay instructions (Source: (Games Similar to Angry Birds, 2011)) With a level increase, the players can unlock an arsenal of eight rocks with unique properties, similar to the features of each bird. Players have more freedom here to choose the arrangement of the rocks, being able to switch between different types whereas Angry Birds made the game challenging by providing only a specific set of birds for each level. Also, the birds are animated when flung in the air, being able to activate certain traits mid-flight while clicking on them. The rocks in Crush The Castle have no special mid-flight capabilities, leading the players to not focus enough on the flight path, and not having a traced trajectory line makes it harder for the player to correct his aim. All these factors make the 4|Page
  • 6. game quite difficult to play and could result in the player just losing interest in the game after a couple of failed attempts. Crush The Castle does not have “last resort” strategy for players who are stuck on a level. The only way to pass through is to kill the resistance and move forward whereas Angry Birds has the mighty eagle that can decimate the entire landscape in one blow. To make the game slightly easier however, one does not have to kill all the enemies in order to proceed to the next level. As long as 85-90% of the scene is destroyed, its considered as ‘conquered’ and the player moves on to the next battleground. What makes Crush the Castle appealing (and addictive) is its medieval setting. This was a time when other similar role playing games were quite popular: Age of Mythology, Heroes of Sparta etc. There was a repetitive medieval theme to these games and Crush the Castle followed suit, trying to stand out by making their game more casual and simple for the players. However, the realistic graphics paired with a monotonous gameplay, and dedicated focus resulted in hampering Crush The Castle to become a franchise success. 5|Page
  • 7. GRAPHICS Niklas Hed, COO of Rovio had mentioned about the bright colors and the cartoonish appearance of birds and pigs, explaining the reason behind the characters as a satirical reference to the Swine Flu Epidemic. (Kendall, 2011) Crush the Castle however, had no similar connotations. The graphics were just kept under a realistic medieval setting, using forests and mountains in the background and having characters such as knights, maidens, commanders, princes etc. The colors used are toned down, almost resembling the effect of dusk. The lack of bright vivid colors could have affected gameplay since one of the reasons behind Angry Birds’ popularity depends on its usage of vibrant hues to make the game appear more active and appealing. (Mauro, 2011) Though the arrangement of the structures is quite similar, with both games sharing a realistic breaking effect, the complex gameplay and dull environment are a definitive factor in the downfall of Crush The Castle. Figure 2: Comparison of graphics (Source: Google images, Search : Crush the Castle) 6|Page
  • 8. AGGRESSION AND DARK HUMOR Crush the Castle is quite open with its aggressive gameplay and sadistic humor. According to the storyline, the king has ordered the play to destroy all the bases in the rival kingdom and expand his own empire. The primary goal of the player is follow the king’s orders to kill and conquer the opposition. Konrad Lorenz talks about this aggressive behavior as instinctual aggressiveness. He had combined Freud’s theories on aggression with Darwin’s theory of evolution talking about how the survival and success of a species depends on the violent tendencies they exhibit in order to survive or eliminate their competition. (Lorenz, 2002) Crush The Castle follows through this theory by the primal urge of eliminating the other group in order to grow larger and expand to other territories. Such violence has been observed throughout history from great conquerors like Julius Caesar, Genghis Khan Etc. Figure 3: Blood spurts in CTC (Source: http://blog.addictinggames.com/tag/crush-the-castle/ ) Unlike Angry Birds, when the enemy is defeated in Crush the Castle, the visual imagery shows a lot of bloodshed and corpses lying lifeless against the broken walls. While Angry Birds resembles a more cartoonish nature, Crush The Castle is more realistic, showing glimpses of an actual war where none of the characters are spared, not even the maidens in the game. 7|Page
  • 9. Regarding the players, Crush the Castle does provide a release to a player’s aggressive tendencies. It is due to the primitive connection of man being able to use rocks as weapons. Dr Tomas Chamorro Premuzic further proved it in his research, stating, “Players may not realize it but violent videogames provides a cathartic effect”. (Goldsmith University of London) Another key difference is in Angry birds, the players legitimized the actions of tossing kamikaze birds at diseased looking pigs because the overall theme was based on a fictional cartoon environment, making it less realistic. This gave the player free reign to cause as much damage and destruction as they pleased without feeling guilt or empathy. The storyline also provides a positive reason for the player to retaliate. After all, what parent wouldn’t fight back if their children’s life was at risk (Svetlik, 2011) However, for Crush the Castle, there is no legitimate reason for launching rocks at neighboring countries other than saying that one was ordered to do so. The aggressive tendencies portrayed in the game follow the simple rule of merciless killing in order to dominate, and that appeals to the player because of our fascination with combat, the desire to rule, and the greed of always wanting more, irrespective of whether it rightfully belongs to someone else. The events in Crush the Castle mirror modern reality where the brutality of a country’s military is overlooked by just saying, “we were following orders”. 8|Page
  • 10. REWARD SYSTEM The reward system of Crush The Castle is based on just scores and auditory/visual elements. There are no hidden bonus rounds within the game, and the overall reward system is quite basic compared to Angry Birds. It can best be explained using B.F. Skinner’s radical behaviorism theory of operant conditioning, specifically reinforcement and extinction (O'Donohue & Ferguson, 2001) According to the theory, operant conditioning has two basic purposes, to either increase or decrease the probability of repeating a certain behavior. Stimulus Type Effect: Increases Behavior Effect: Decreases Behavior Positive Stimulus Negative Stimulus Positive Reinforcer Negative Punisher Negative Reinforcer Positive Punisher Figure 4: Operant Condition. Derived from: (Skinner, 2011) Angry Birds had studied operant condition on the players and focused on positive and negative reinforcers, making sure they aren’t too derogatory towards the player. They ensured their game doesn’t have any punishers. Crush The Castle followed a slightly different approach. If we base Operant Conditioning on Crush The Castle, the positive reinforcer is a simple message stating the mission was successful along with the words “you are a royal success” written as subtext below. The player also hears three quick bursts of a trumpet signifying a victory. In Angry Birds, this is more elaborate with a military parade audio and the birds jumping and cheering at their victory. Crush The Castle has no typical bonus levels or hidden items to unlock. The game is relatively straightforward and only has the one positive reinforcer. 9|Page
  • 11. Figure 5: Crush the Castle Victory Screen (Source: Self screenshot) Negative reinforcers in the game include a mission-failed message, written in bold font, with the subtext telling the player they are a royal failure, along with two slow trumpet blasts signifying defeat. While Angry birds has pigs grinning and sniggering at the player, almost mocking the player, Crush The Castle is less friendly and more direct in tone. By telling the player they are a royal failure could trigger their addictive impulse to try the levels again in order to prove their superiority in battle. The player could actually relate to the characters in the game, feeling self-satisfaction by defeating the enemy. Figure 6: Crush The Castle Defeat Screen (Source: Self screenshot) 10 | P a g e
  • 12. Unlike Angry Birds, Crush The Castle also has Positive Punishers. The bloodied carcasses of the victims along with the number of kills at the bottom of the screen would theoretically be considered as positive reinforcers. It is assumed the goal was to get the player excited to see the resistance lying lifeless, covered in their own blood. While it is effective for a select few, for the most part the excessive blood matched with realistic anguished screams eventually creates a sense of guilt within the player’s subconscious and they stop playing the game. Counting the number of “killed” people only adds to the negative stimulus, causing more guilt on a subconscious level. An adverse effect could also be the desensitization of violence in real life, as shown in many other violent games depicting murder. The lack of a more positive reward system adds to the reasons behind the game not reaching a franchise-level success. 11 | P a g e
  • 13. CONCLUSION While violent games are pretty popular in their own right, Crush The Castle wasn’t so successful since it was originally meant to be a casual game. The reward system made the game popular on the internet, where a player could focus on the game for hours. However, for casual gameplay such as during commuting, the game proved to be less effective since it requires a higher degree of focus. The killing of other characters with realistic blood and screams also turns off most audiences due to their perceived negativity. Unlike Angry Birds, the storyline behind Crush The Castle wasn’t justified enough and didn’t connect with most players on an emotional level. While Angry Birds emphasized paternal emotions, Crush The Castle focused on the player being commanded by a king to destroy rival factions in order to grow. Nobody likes being ordered around for extended periods. The graphics within the game, although realistic, were not dynamic enough and generic among all the scenes, eventually causing the player to ignore the details. Angry Birds had subtle changes in the backgrounds that always captured the player’s attention, keeping them active and alert. One needs to remember that Crush The Castle was released first. Angry Birds might have ripped off the original idea in terms of physics based gameplay, but it was a significant improvement. It could be considered that Angry Birds is theoretically a refined version of Crush The Castle. The addictive nature of Angry Birds stems from its simplicity and its reward system that subconsciously keeps the player wanting to interact with the game repeatedly, like a slot machine at a casino. Crush The Castle was supposed to have a simplistic gameplay, however the creators added too much realism and focused less on the actual backstory. All these factors contributed to the game being a big hit on the internet, but it failed to successfully transition into a multiplatform franchise. A newer version of the game is currently in development and it is possible the creators will significantly alter it to match the gameplay of Angry Birds. It remains to be seen if Crush The Castle and still reach the level of fame as Angry Birds. 12 | P a g e
  • 14. WORKS CITED (n.d.). Retrieved November 17, 2011, from Goldsmith http://www.gold.ac.uk/psychology/staff/premuzic/ University of Armorgames.com. (2009). Retrieved December http://armorgames.com/play/3614/crush-the-castle 06, London: 2011, from Games Similar to Angry Birds. (2011, February 20). Retrieved December 06, 2011, from Hardiannazief.com: http://hardiannazief.com/02/6-flash-based-game-similar-toangry-birds/ Chorost, M. (2011, January 4). How I kicked my addction to the iphone game Angry Birds. Retrieved November 16, 2011, from PsychologyToday.com: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/world-wide-mind/201101/how-i-kicked-myaddiction-the-iphone-game-angry-birds Harrigan, K. A., Collins, K., & Dixon, M. J. (2010). Addictive Gameplay: What Casual Game Designers can Learn from Slot Machine Research. Vancouver, British Columbia: International Conference on the Future of GAme Design and Technology. Kendall, P. (2011, February 07). Angry Birds: The story behind iPhone's gaming Phenomenon. Retrieved November 15, 2011, from The Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/video-games/8303173/Angry-Birds-thestory-behind-iPhones-gaming-phenomenon.html Lorenz, K. (2002). On Aggression. Routledge. Mauro, C. (2011, February 6). Why angry birds is so successful and popular: A Cognitive teardown of the User Experience. Retrieved November 12, 2011, from MauroNewMedia.com: http://www.mauronewmedia.com/blog/2011/02/whyangry-birds-is-so-successful-a-cognitive-teardown-of-the-user-experience/ Miller, D. (2011, August). Angry Birds: A psychiatrist explains the addiiction. Retrieved November 17, 2011, from Kevinmd.com: http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2011/08/angry-birds-psychiatrist-explainsaddiction.html O'Donohue, W., & Ferguson, K. (2001). Operant Conditioning and the Experimental Analysis of behavior. In W. O'Donohue, & K. Ferguson, The psychology of B.F. Skinner (pp. 73100). California: Sage Publications Inc. Skinner, B. (2011). About Behaviorism. New york: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Svetlik, J. (2011, March 9). Angry Birds: The psychology of its success. 13 | P a g e