I almost can’t believe my eyes as I sit here looking at a press release titled:
Rovio Announces “Angry Birds Universe: The Art and Science of a Global Phenomenon” Traveling Exhibit
Angry Birds…in a museum? My mind reels. First off, wow! Second off, thank goodness for United We Game, because how can I NOT write about this?
You can check out the full press release here, but yes, it’s true. Sometime in 2014 a traveling Angry Birds exhibit will be headed out to select American museums and science centers. The announcement came direct from Rovio at this week’s International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions’ annual meeting. Rovio summed up the venture as follows:
The exhibit, which will be designed, produced and toured by Imagine Exhibitions and JRA (Jack Rouse Associates), invites guests to explore the world of Rovio’s Angry Birds and will feature a variety of immersive environments and interactive media activities. Angry Birds fans will not only learn about a wide variety of educational concepts in an entertaining manner, but will also have the chance to experience Angry Birds in real life.
At this point, I can only imagine what “the chance to experience Angry Birds in real life” will mean, but I’m pretty sure it won’t involve flinging children across a room…maybe. Okay, so the exhibit won’t be ALL fun and games; in fact, physics and engineering are at the crux of the whole thing, so visitors will experience some actual science as they explore the world of Angry Birds. This makes perfect sense given the important roles both disciplines play in the Angry Birds games.
Do you remember how everyone got at least a little excited over the physics of Angry Birds when it first came out? The game was unique, though physics in games wasn’t anything new. In fact, it was kind of this “holy grail” of gaming engines for awhile. It’s one thing to set up great environments with great stories and great characters, it’s another to make it truly seem like the players have any impact on that world. Angry Birds told the story of literal “impact” through birds and pigs. I’m sure it might have sounded kind of silly to the game’s inventors and investors early on, but it worked! Angry Birds is all about formulating the right trajectories to create the right amount of destruction. It’s perfectly akin to what engineers do when they’re razing buildings. Except we got to do it with cartoon birds and the haphazard construction of swines. Cause it’s safer that way. Also, pigs are terrible builders, except for the third pig of the Three Little Pigs. Bricks, y’know – smart.
The new Angry Birds exhibition won’t be first time we’ve seen video games take center stage in museums. In fact, there are a number of centers devoted to the subject, and the recent Art of Video Games exhibition at the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum saw rousing successes throughout its run. My hope is that Angry Birds will be just one in a long line of games that get their chances to reach the wider population of museum-goers. Whether viewed through the lens of art, the lens of science, or the lens of general culture, we all, gamers (yes, you) and non-gamers can learn a lot from video games.