Bird Brains

Before I get into the meat of today's post, I wanted to say that this is somewhat of a landmark day in the history of my blog. Ever since I started writing back in February of last year, I've been using WordPress's browser-based interface to type in. While no doubt serviceable, I was secretly wishing for a better way because, frankly, their implementation is ugly and quite cluttered. So after doing a little research -- and I do mean little -- I found MarsEdit by Red Sweater on the Mac App Store. It's $40 so it isn't cheap, but I so trust Gruber's endorsements (especially after Tweetbot) that I decided to pay up and download it. And I must say, using it is very liberating: the app is elegant, clean, and focused. It's a winner. So yes, May 8, 2011 marks a new era for my blog. Hats not included.

But I'm seriously digressing...

The real reason I wanted to post tonight is that I downloaded a new game last night called Air Penguin by Gamevil. It's yet another one of those 99-cent, insanely addicting yet totally fun games that've taken the App Store by storm. The game's basic premise is this: using your iPhone (or iPod touch's) accelerometer, try to get the cute little penguin to save his family from the effects of global warming, meaning melting icecaps. So far, I suck at everything, but (A LOT) of practice makes perfect, right?

Playing the game in the wee hours of the morning got me thinking that Air Penguin is another great iOS game that involves birds. Which, at least for me, begged the question as to why birds make such damn fine protagonists. Surely developers aren't aiming to be realistic; penguins can't fly. And certainly birds don't hurl themselves kamikaze-style towards a group of little pigs, pissed or not. And, of course, birds don't have until sundown to fly. That's just crazy talk. So why is it that birds make great games? Are developers closet ornithologists? 'd love for someone to let me in on the secret.

Whatever the allure of these games may be, one thing I know for sure is that I pretty much suck at all of them: Angry Birds, Tiny Wings, and now Air Penguin. You'd think with all the advanced sensors in the iPhone -- 5 in all -- that somebody at Apple would come up with a "don't suck at games" API or something.

Unfortunately, that isn't likely to come anytime soon, so I better go practice some more.