I’m playing Angry Birds a lot. Well it’s a lot by my 21st Century standards – nothing like the 1990 Tetris life-takeover, I’m certainly not dreaming about flinging birds from a catapult… yet.
However, this lovely little (read highly addictive) game is reminding me a lot about how play helps us think about life. Here are a few things (insights and prejudices confirmed) that have zipped through my head while playing.
- you work out your strategy by just firing stuff off. You can think and think and think but until you try something, you really don’t know what’s going to happen.
- sometimes you have to keep doing steps 1, 2 and 3 in order to get to 4, because you keep screwing 4 up royally.
- things are rarely exactly repeatable, some things can be just close enough, other patterns are highly dependent on a previous state.
- lessons learned in one stage might or might not be applicable in another – the corollary of this (I think) is that use of tools can be context dependent.
- there are elegant and beautiful solutions to most situations, but sometimes it’s most fun just to use brute force.
- sometimes you have to let go and stop thinking, let your body do the work without head or heart. This is a gaming lesson I learned in about 1978, playing Star Wars on a Commodore Pet and hearing Obi Wan Kenobi’s voice saying “Use the force, Lloyd”.
- patience is a virtue. you can sometimes just wait for a structure to crumble from a little undermining tap in the right place.
- if you do hit a structure at just the right/wrong spot, the results can be catastrophic (for the structure.
- there’s nothing so ugly as a smiling pig.