Thursday, 5 May 2011

Angry Birds and Moomintrolls

When I was in Finland this spring, a friend of mine asked if I'd ever heard of Angry Birds. I had no idea what she was talking about. When she told me it was a computer game I was even more surprised: I didn't think she played them, let alone knew the names of such games.

'It's a world-wide success, you know, ' she said.

I just didn't know what to say - during the thirty or so years we'd known each other I'd never discussed computers with her, let alone games to play on them.

'It's Finnish,' she said proudly.

Then she told me the whole story of this addictive game where, using a touch screen you fire wingless birds as bombs into a fortified camp of evil pigs. Jaakko Iisalo, a games designer, came up with the design and idea of Angry Birds when bored during a business conference. The company, Rovio Mobile, which developed the software and has since sold 12 million copies of the game, has been lauded in Finland as 'The New Nokia'.

I admit to now being one of the addicts of this game. It's another brilliant way of whiling away hours of writing time. (I'm always on the look-out for new ways to procrastinate.)

But I was also struck by the similarities between the design of the characters and that of the other Finnish graphic cartoon classics, the Moomintrolls. The simple and graceful characters have something so uniquely human about them and combined with the wry humour of Jansson's writing you cannot fail to love the Moomins. Angry Birds don't exactly do the same, I agree, still I'm sure if Tove Jansson was alive now she'd be developing a Moomintroll game. (Don't tell me there already is one in existence?)

Moomintroll and Snufkin by Tove Jansson
I've been a fan of the Moomins forever - I grew up reading Tove Jansson's books and watching the cartoons on TV. Now I am addicted to buying all Moomin related merchandise - from mugs to cartoon strips. I'm not sure I will be buying any Angry Birds mugs, but you never know they might be the classic of the next generation.

My mug collection

The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip - Volume Five


Olli Miekka said...

Oh yes, Angry Birds is a major source of pride in Finland, it seems. Did you see the Conan O'Brien tribute? I have it embedded in the blog I wrote on Angry Birds a month or so ago:

It's hilarious!

Mwa said...

I must try that. Or maybe not - I'm already addicted to Cut the Rope after one day of playing it.

Helena Halme said...

Olli, that was really funny! Thank you for sending me the link.

Mwa, I'm not going to go anywhere near the rope game...xx

Alison Cross said...

Angry birds - utterly addictive.

Ali x

Rose said...

I am one of the few people in the world who doesn't have Angry Birds... but I adore the Moomins, I mean truly, just looking at one makes me feel better

Metropolitan Mum said...

A friend of mine had to explain to me the concept of angry birds recently. Can you believe that I had never ever heard of them? And this here is actually the first picture I've seen of them. Funny how I can be completely oblivious to some things :)
But I love the Moomins, of course.