EXTRA CREDIT Critical Play: Theme Only Games

In this critical play, I choose two physics-based games: Cut the Rope and Angry Birds.

Fig: Cut the Rope


Fig: Angry Birds

Cut the Rope. Created by ReptoLab. I played this on my iPad too.
In Cut the Rope, the player must cut ropes and use various objects to cut the rope in order to help Om Nom collect sweets. The game’s central concept revolves around fulfilling Om Nom’s sweet desires and difficult situations in order to get the candy in Om Nom’s mouth.

Angry Birds. Created by Rovio Entertainment. I played it on my iPad.
The game centers on several birds that are attempting to recover their eggs which green pigs had stolen. In an effort to destroy the pigs’ constructions, the player shoots birds at them with a slingshot. Each level is won by destroying the pigs’ establishments before the birds available are finished.

The core mechanics of both games involve using the touch screen to maneuver ropes. In Angry Birds, a bird has to be used in a slingshot for launch. The launch is important and has high stakes—if the pigs are not destroyed, they will cause hard to the future generation of the birds. There is a certain kind of destructive joy in Angry Birds when you see and hear the destruction of pig life and property. Wins are celebrated by the birds chirping.

In Cut the Rope, the player can either cut the rope or use bubbles to position the candy to fall in the mouth of the character. In this case, the stakes are much lower and the objective is rather jovial: to get candy for Om Nom who, when you succeed, puts on a huge grin. But when you fail to get the candy for the character, you see a big frown on its face.


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