It wasn’t the hardware that made the iPhone a hit, or even iOS, it was the potential unlocked by the introduction of the App Store, and one of the earliest must-have apps for Apple’s smartphone was a game about slingshotting enraged fowl that, almost 14 years later, will be the branding focus of a new cafe coming to New York, iSwii by Angry Birds.
Even before apps like Instagram arrived on iOS, Angry Birds, which was first released back in December of 2009, had users glued to their iPhones as they obsessively swiped at their screens in an attempt to destroy green pigs ensconced in fortifications using birds launched from a slingshot. It’s hard to convey just how popular Angry Birds was in the early twenty-tens — everyone seemed to be talking about it, and if you had a smartphone, you probably had a copy of the game — and over the years its creator, Rovio Entertainment, would go on to capitalise on its popularity with countless sequels, spin-offs, and even animated movies and streaming series.
Today, with smartphones capable of playing complex 3D games that rival those released for dedicated consoles, Angry Birds is no where near as popular as it once was, but that’s not stopping “global licensing agency” IMG, Rovio Entertainment, and SCG America from creating what seems like it could be the ultimate destination for what’s left of Angry Birds’ fan base. The app no longer ranks anywhere near the top 10 in Apple’s App Store or Google’s Play Store.
This Saturday, a 3,300-square foot iSwii by Angry Birds is opening in the food court of a new 275,000 square foot multi-level retail centre in Flushing, Queens. With “a collection of Instagrammable NYC-themed statue installations outside the entrance” and “an eye-catching bright mural ceiling” featuring Angry Birds artwork, photos of the cafe will probably be finding their way onto your favourite social networks this weekend. The cafe’s menu will include “custom-decorated yummy seasonal holiday cakes & pastries” and while you shouldn’t expect a relaxing sit down restaurant experience, there is a private room for birthday parties and other longer events that includes the ability to play the VR versions of the game.
The cafe will also be stacked with all manner of Angry Birds merchandise, according to the company. It mostly seems like an enter and exit through the gift shop experience, without out much else in terms of substance. Where’s the Angry Bird-themed axe throwing experience? Or a rage room where people can smash ceramic pigs with bats? We would have even lined up for some decent fried chicken dyed red.