Oh, those New York Times Magazine folks–they’re so edgy these days. In a think piece about the rise of “Angry Birds, Farmville and other hyperaddictive ‘stupid games,'” the Times proves how truly addictive the Zynga canon is by embedding their own version of a “stupid” game as an illustrative complement to the story. The game allows you to destroy pieces of the website with your arrow keys and space bar–for example, we took the liberty of destroying the Style section, and automatically the Times became 10x less pretentious and assholey. If only every article offered this kind of catharsis.
It’s hard to focus on the content of the article with a browser game embedded above it and cute illustrations of famous game characters to the left, but we’re guessing that was their point.
“Tetris and its offspring (Angry Birds, Bejeweled, Fruit Ninja, etc.) have colonized our pockets and our brains and shifted the entire economic model of the video-game industry,” wrote author Sam Anderson. “Today we are living, for better and worse, in a world of stupid games.”
The Times game was designed by Jon Huang, a multimedia producer at the Times and former IBM developer. As Poynter notes, he’s also a beekeeper, which is vaguely scary but also awesome.
The article itself is actually very interesting, in a “we’re knowingly intellectualizing Angry Birds” kind of way. With the rise of big hits like Draw Something and the continued extension of Zynga’s “With Friends” brand, it’s hard to argue against the fact that we live in the age of distracting, artificial entertainment designed solely to keep our brains tied to our mobile devices.
Stupid games, wrote Mr. Anderson, “are designed to push their way through the cracks of other occasions. We play them incidentally, ambivalently, compulsively, almost accidentally. They’re less an activity in our day than a blank space in our day; less a pursuit than a distraction from other pursuits.”
Interesting point. We really only break out Draw Something when waiting for the bus, or during a TV commercial. But in our world of stupid games, who even cares what Mr. Anderson has to say? Back to destroying the Times!