What makes you want to play Angry Birds over and over?

I had avoided the Angry Birds game until two very good friends of mine told me: “Just play it! You will see…”

So I did. To give you an idea of how hooked I got, I will admit to being stuck on one level (Level 3-5, in case you’re curious) for half of the flight back from Boston a couple of months ago.

A few weeks ago, I was chatting with my son (who also loves the game in all of its variations) about what makes Angry Birds so special. We jointly came to these two conclusions:

  • Simplicity: the premise of the game is SUPER-simple. You don’t have to think to play it. You don’t really even have to do much but play it… By the time you start Googling how to proceed within the game (am I the only one that has done it?) it’s simply because the game gets progressively more complex, but the basic principles are the same: you got a bunch of (angry) birds to help you get rid of a bunch of pigs by knocking down the hideout they are in.
  • Strategy: you can’t play all levels of the game the same way, much like you can’t apply a one-size-fits-all tactic to all situations in life. You have to assess your resources (birds) vs. the goal you’re faced with (the # of pigs and how they are spread out through their hideout). Then you have to plan: not as in “Project Plan” but as in “OK, here’s what I am going to try this time around!” If your plan doesn’t work, you go back to the drawing board and try another plan.

Today, I ran into an amazing post titled “Why Angry Birds Gets More Play Than Health Apps” and the whole conversation with my son about Angry Birds came back. This time, it made me think about health applications… and I realized that the reality about making a user go back and want to keep on using a health application (0r web site) is not so distant from the reasons that make Angry Birds so addictive. This phrases sums up the concept:

If we are going to use a new website or device or program, we want it to be easy. We want it to save time, not take time.

How cool is that? Being addicted to doing healthy things, huh? What is your experience with health applications that work or don’t work? What makes them tick?

Hipmunk for iPhone: making nonpainful travel possible!

Here’s my friend Danilo Campos, as he introduced Hipmunk for iPhone, an amazing app that makes finding non-painful travel options (minimize agony while booking a trip and traveling) a breeze.

I am happy to have found out about this app, but I am even HAPPIER and proud to see Danilo delivering such an amazing pitch to these VCs at Launch 2011. WAY TO GO, Dude!