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back to article Rovio chucks up Angry Birds successor, hopes it will fly

Rovio has launched its follow-up to mobile gaming phenomenon Angry Birds, but this time even Android users will have to cough up to play. The game is called Amazing Alex, and it will set you back 64 pence (99 cents) on iOS or Android, but it used to be called Casey's Contraptions when it was sold to Rovio by game devs Mystery …

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Silver badge

Looks like The Incredible Machine... a sort of Heath Robinson / Rube Goldberg / Tom and Jerry Mousetrap simulator.

Was lots of fun on the PC, and seems well suited to a finger-driven UI.

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Silver badge

Yeah, but those kind of games are ten-a-penny. I have at least three or four just on my Steam account this second.

Even Angry Birds is really just a souped up "Stair Dismount" physics, or a tank-clone (the game where you shoot little bombs at tanks over random hills - went on to inspire everything from this to the Worms franchise). You could literally write an Angry Birds clone in an afternoon with Box2D or similar free physics engine. The chances of it being as successful as slim and NOT because of any quality issue.

Rovio got lucky (and why do I confuse them with Roxio?) with an app that was nothing particularly special but happened to catch on just as people were starting on touch-based smartphones en-masse. The chances of them getting lucky again is slim, especially given previous "successes". It's a bit like the PopCap games: lots of junk and then they release a couple of blinders that you can't put down (despite being Pinball / Boggle clones) and they are suddenly worth millions (and get bought out by EA, IIRC). Then silence for years afterwards and a slide into obscurity.

Rovio will probably make money by riding on the coat-tails of Angry Birds for a few years but they really need more than a 60p clone of some tired old genre if they are to keep up. You only get lucky once in a million times so being lucky twice is incredibly, incredibly unlikely.

But, to be honest, if I was in their position, I'd have probably milked it for all it was worth too - knowing that one day it will be a distant memory and they'll never be able to hit that salespoint again no matter how much they throw at development.

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Silver badge

I first played The Incredible Machine when bulletin boards were all the rage (in the US)... Now in these more interconnected times, something that Rovio might do to extend the concept would be a level editor so you can create puzzles for your mates and the wider web, a la Little Big Planet.

Even if the game is mediocre, the name 'Rovio' will make it stand out from the crowds of similar games.

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the video says you can create and share you own levels.

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Silver badge

Er... again, you could do that back in The Incredible Machine. DOS days, people. Maybe it's easier to share them but not exactly a killer feature (and I can tell you that it's hard to create one of those levels if you actually expect your friends to be able to solve it, a lot harder than it looks).

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Thumb Up

I'm totally buying this.

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Paid for Angry Birds also on Android

Well, space at least.

ISTR I paid about 64p for that too, so it's not their first foray into paid apps in the Googlesque world. Presumably enough of us put our money up front to nix the ads that they reckon the market conditions are right.

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Re: Paid for Angry Birds also on Android

I didn't pay for space.

(perhaps b/c I have a Samsung handset?)

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MrT
Bronze badge

Re: Paid for Angry Birds also on Android

There's a free version and a paid one that's ad-free, with another difference for the Space Eagles - the free version only gives one per login per day (plus 10 for hitting 3 stars on sell levels). Given someone needs about 150 eagles to clear each level by that method, you can see why folk will shell out 69p (or whatever) to take a short cut in time...

Just got a Sammie GS3 so have had fun getting 3 stars in all levels on the last 'world' on Space, plus the extra Golden Asteroid level. Some things are still locked on Space Free on Samsung...

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Meh

They said on the BBC that Angry Birds had a billion downloads. That's a lot. A viral video on YouTube wouldn't have that kind of reach - even Charlie bit my finger has had less than half a billion views.

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Remake

Seems that Amazing Alex is just a remake of the good old The The Incredible Machine...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Incredible_Machine_%28series%29

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NB
FAIL

"It also begs the question of how much..."

No, no it doesn't. To 'beg the question' is to assume that it has already been answered. What you meant was that it "raises the question" which something different altogether.

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Anonymous Coward

Live by the sword...

Your pedantry would have been somewhat more effective if you had actually replied to the relevant post; rather than leaving a random, orphaned reply...

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NB

Re: Live by the sword...

I was replying to the article and not any other poster.

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Wrong!

No, you are wrong. That is the definition when the phrase is used in a philosophical or rhetorical context. As such, it is a term of art.

However, when used in normal communication, as the article does, it is not a term of art; it means exactly what the English words would mean in that sentence: raise a point that has not been dealt with; invite an obvious question.

When being pedantic, it helps to read actual reliable reference sources and not, say, Slashdot--where your complaint is usually thrown about rather vociferously. The definition above, for instance, comes from the Oxford Dictionary, which also includes the definition to which you alluded.

dZ.

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Anonymous Coward

Casey's Contraptions

I bought Casey's Contraptions for my iPad, and I was very impressed. Clearly a huge amount of work had gone into it. Yet it was waaay down the league tables, so they really can't have been selling many copies. So on that basis, maybe this is the right thing to do: exploit the Rovio marketing machine. It doesn't bode well for independent app developers, though; even a very good app fails to sell without some billionaire marketing budget behind it.

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Silver badge

Re: Casey's Contraptions

That's your problem right there - or rather, that's the problem all developers have.

Maybe 10-20% of the population can write something halfway decent for iOS or Android. It's a little tricky to get started, but it's not *that* hard.

But the App Store power curve means that a handful of titles will go viral and/or be marketed into virality and will grab all the cash.

The vast majority of developers won't see much return at all, even on quality product.

There's far more money to be made by consulting on iOS or doing bespoke work for existing brands than in trying to punt your own projects and hoping they magically beat the odds and catch on.

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WTF?

Re: Casey's Contraptions

Between 6 and 12m people in this country can code!!!!!!!!

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Stop

Permissions

Can anyone explain why a paid game (not the ad-supported version) needs permissions to read the phone status and identity, get physical location information and access NFC features?

I can understand the first two of those being useful on the ad-supported version, but NFC?

Too many developers are extracting the urine when it comes to permissions requests on their apps, and far to many punters are blithely accepting them.

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Re: Permissions

Have a look at "Permissions Denied". You'll need root.

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gorilla.bas

Angry Birds is just a souped up "gorilla.bas"

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Anonymous Coward

Re: gorilla.bas

I modified gorilla.bas so a single hit wouldn't take out a gorilla - rather, the bananas blew chunks out of them (perhaps a bad phrase to use); they wouldn't succumb until a significant percentage had been amputated, flesh-eating-bacteria style.

When you're 12, this is good fun.

I also changed up the background drawing a bit, added smoothly-sloped hills rather than just a city, etc. Starting with stuff like that is a great way to cut your teeth on programming - obviously, you cut your teeth before you blow chunks.

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gorilla.bas

You can play it online here: www.kongregate.com/games/Moly/gorillas-bas !

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Thumb Up

Re: gorilla.bas

I love you fourThirty. You have made me young again.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Anonymous Coward

Mr Pedant writes...

"but this time even Android users will have to cough up to play."

There's a free version over here in septic-land via Amazon...

http://iam.a2w.at/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/aa_free.jpg

Funnily enough, "not compatible" with Kindle Fire.

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Re: Mr Pedant writes...

Indeed there's a free version on the Android Market.

It seems to be just a bog standard puzzle game.. got half a dozen of them already.

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Silver badge

Re: Mr Pedant writes...

That free version on Amazon is only a 16-level trial.

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Happy

Angry Birds

don't see the point of that game myself, but was rather impressed at a Maker's Faire to see a real-life rubber catapult used to launch Roxio-branded plush birds at some plastic blocks.

Certainly kept my 8 yr old anchored and out of trouble for an hour :-)

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Happy

It's all about the frills...

What made Angry Birds so popular had little to do with the gameplay.

As someone has already pointed out, it can be crafted relatively easily.

What endeared it to the masses - obviously - was the characters, the animations, the sound effects and the simple underlying story.

The chortling pigs when you lose, the chirpy birds when you win, the little splat of feathers - all those touches make it a great game.

It's slick, smooth throwaway gameplay.

And ultimately, it's *not* easy to replicate success like that, there's more than a little luck and timing behind it, regardless of how slick it is.

Now Rovio are wealthy and famous, it's time for that difficult 'second album' - they've got the kudos, they've got the marketing muscle, they've got the audience.

And they've almost certainly got the frills - but is the gameplay going to hit the mark?

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FAIL

Re: It's all about the frills...hmmm...

Looks like a big FAIL already.

Picked through the reviews - general consensus, it's just a copy of incredible machine (and the same ilk), with better graphics - pretty much as this article states and comments voice.

Will be avoiding - you could *never* beat cartoon physics for sheer originality and fun gameplay, or incredible machine.

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FAIL

Is this the same Rovio that runs eMusic? If so, and despite the joy of Angry Birds, I find it hard to wish them success, as they have royally fucked up the eMusic website, of which I have been a regular user and subscriber since 2005. Their ineptitude has been pointed out to them in choicer terms than mine, via countless emails and forum comments, but do they take any notice? No, because they Cannot Admit to Making a Mistake. Tossers.

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Pretty sure Rovio don't own eMusic.

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Anonymous Coward

Bitching that Amazing Alex is "just The Incredible Machine" is kind of pointless. Most things are derived from other things at some point down the line; do you bitch that the WhateverBridge I7 is "just an 8088" because it's the same architecture, or that a 2012 3-series is "Just a BMW 2002"? Or that football (european) is just hockey, with feet and a ball instead of sticks and a puck? Do you complain that any given record album is just Elvis since it has drums, bass, vocals, and a guitar? Or Rally because it's just driving faster in the woods? Or a portrait by Titian because it's just another head-and-shoulders on canvas?

It doesn't matter 'what it is'; it matters whether it's a fun game. I don't know if it is or not, but whining that someone already made a Rube Goldberg game is absurd. Chances are, somebody has always made something.

If they ripped the gameplay down to every detail, the graphics, the look-and-feel, etc, that's one thing. As I said, maybe it's a good game and maybe it's not, but its just being in the same general genre is hardly a reason to condemn it. And, as has been pointed out, there are a huge number of things other than basic gameplay execution that matter to the overall game experience. DOOM is a good example of that - the textures, menu feel, 'story' (part of what made it work was how little there was, actually), the audio, etc. You could make precisely the same gameplay with a bunch of squares and solid colors, and it would pretty much suck. But if DOOM had come along later, saying, "Oh, it's just Blank Square Shooter with different graphics" would be nutty.

Give it a chance on its own merits rather than dismissing it because of what someone did 25 years ago. Maybe it sucks and maybe it doesn't (and I have my doubts about its potential if for no other reason than the character name being too specific; the birds are just generic enough to let people project their own ideas onto them). At least judge it on -that-.

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