Dr. Skinner, your birds are angry

Rovio has announced that Angry Birds Space was downloaded 10 million times in less than three days. In fact, the game has been downloaded half a billion times since it was released three years ago. It’s amazing that the Angry Birds phenomenon is still so powerful, but not surprising when viewed through the lens of behavioral psychology.

Shortly after the original Angry Birds iPhone game was released in December, 2009, IGN posted a review:

“It’s a very simple formula, but thanks to precise controls (you drag your bird back in the slingshot to determine power and throw angle), great puzzle designs, and excellent atmosphere, Angry Birds is outrageously addictive. (Really, I am sleepy today because I played this until three in the morning.)”

The thing that kept reviewer Levi Buchanan awake until 3:00 wasn’t flying birds, but an intermittent, unpredictable schedule of positive reinforcement.

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Big thanks to Chicken Out! for iPhone

Big thanks to Chicken Out! for iPhone for sponsoring the site this week. This fun puzzle game from  Podotree is one of those “just one more try” titles that you can’t put down. You’re presented with a grid and two chickens, and your job is to eliminate all but one. The trick is that you must slide the chickens into each other. They can move horizontally and vertically only, and only once per chicken.

It sounds easy but gets challenging when more chickens appear. As you play, you unlock special chickens with unique moves and abilities plus other bonuses, like chicken-blasting bombs. I had fun playing it as did my kids. For the price of free, you can’t go wrong.

Give Chicken Out! a whirl today.

Here’s how you can become a sponsor.

Chicken Out! is a fun puzzle game for iPhone

Big thanks to Podotree‘s Chicken Out! for iPhone and iPod touch (free) for sponsoring the site this week. I love puzzle games and Chicken Out! had me playing all weekend. Its good looks and simple gameplay make it one of those games you pull out when you’ve got some time to kill.

A Fun Puzzler

You’re presented with a grid and two chickens. Your job is to eliminate all but one by sliding them into each other. Chickens can only side left-to-right and top-to-bottom (no diagonal slides allowed). Plus, each chicken can only be moved once.

The first few rounds are simple but eventually the number of chickens increases and careful planning is required. Play long enough and unlock special chickens like the wrestler who hurls chickens and lands a square ahead of the others. Each has a signature move that clears out the chickens but also adds a unique challenge. Get really good an unlock arcade mode, bombs and more.

Game Center, Sharing

Each of the game’s ten levels features many puzzles to beat, so there’s a good amount of play time available. Game Center is supported, as well as bragging via Facebook and Twitter. For the price of free, you can’t go wrong.

Go Get It!

Download a Chicken Out! and have fun. [1. Plus, your patronage helps keep the pirate ship afloat.] Just don’t blame me if you find yourself humming the song. Click below for more screenshots.

Here’s how you can become a sponsor.

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New Monopoly uses iPhone-readable debit cards instead of cash

Hasbro’s Monopoly line of board games keeps expanding like hotels on Boardwalk. You can buy themed editions, variations for kids and even “Scrantonopoly,” which features landmarks from my beloved Scranton, Pa. Now Hasbro has announced Monopoly zAPPed, which swaps paper money for debit cards that can be read by iOS devices.

The cards are coated with a special “conductive paint” developed by Volumique (NFC or RFID are not used). Once the companion app is installed on the iPhone or iPod touch, each card is “tapped” against the device to register the transaction and free players from the burden of simple arithmetic. Progress!

Expect Monopoly zAPPed to hit stores this fall for $25 (the iOS app will be free).

A brief history of click wheel iPod games

Last week, Apple pulled its Texas Hold’em game from the App Store. Ten years after the first iPod game appeared as an Easter Egg on the original 5 GB iPod, Apple has all but stopped producing games for the music devices [2. Note: three games still ship with the iPod Classic: iQuiz, Klondike and Vortex. But none are distributed via iTunes any more.].

As of this writing, Apple has 17 iPod touch/iPhone titles in the App Store, and none of them are games. To think that the App Store we know today started with a nice collection of simple yet fun games for the click wheel iPods. Here’s a look at the history of Apple’s early iPod games, from Brick to Texas Hold’em and everything in between.

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Apple pulls Texas Hold’em from App Store

Apple has pulled Texas Hold’em, its only iOS game, from the App Store. It debuted as a non-iOS game in 2006 and was reworked in 2008 when the App Store was opened to 3rd-party iOS developers. It hasn’t been updated for a while and never even got Game Center integration.

I long suspected that Jobs had little interest in games and that Apple featured Hold’em in ’08 mainly to show big name game developers what could be done with iOS.

So long, Texas Hold’em. Fold.

Glider Pro coming to iOS

Glider Pro, one of my all-time favorite vintage Mac games, is coming to iOS devices.

First released as shareware in 1988 by John Calhoun, Glider Pro gained commercial distribution with Casady & Greene Inc. (C&G), a software company that built Mac titles in the late 80’s and 90’s. Glider Pro was a scrolling game that required you to pilot a paper airplane through a house, room by room, while avoiding obstacles and solving puzzles. A level builder was also released, allowing users to create their own houses and obstacles to navigate.

I spent countless hours on that game between 1994 – 1996. Unfortunately, C&G went out of business in 2003. That’s when the rights to Glider Pro went back to Calhoun, who’s been distributing a free Mac OS X version of the game since then (minus the level builder).

This week, Touch Arcade reports that Calhoun recently left Apple to bring Glider to iOS. Having worked with Casady & Green and Apple, John hasn’t lost the vision of an independent developer:

“Calhoun told me that, from the view of an old-school designer, he absolutely loves iOS as a game platform. He got out of game writing way back when largely because the ‘big guys’ came in and basically stole the show from indie developers like himself. He sees iOS as an excellent opportunity for indies to get their work out there and embraced by gamers, and it’s a notion backed up by so many one-man home runs we’ve seen since the App Store went live. “

Here’s a sneak preview. I simply cannot wait for this app to drop. Look for it in the App Store later this year for $0.99.

[Via Daring Fireball]