WASHINGTON — For nearly three years, millions of gamers have used physics in the battle between birds and pigs in the video game Angry Birds. In cooperation with NASA, Finland-based Rovio Entertainment, creator of the Angry Birds franchise, announced its newest game, “Angry Birds Space,” on Thursday, March 8. NASA and Rovio are working together to teach people about physics and space exploration through the internationally successful puzzle game.
Game developers have incorporated concepts of human space exploration into the new game. From the weightlessness of space to the gravity wells of nearby planets, players use physics as they explore the various levels of the game set both on planets and in microgravity.
“This collaboration began with a simple Twitter exchange about birds and pigs in space, and it has grown into a tremendous outreach and education opportunity,” said David Weaver, associate administrator for communications at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “Games are fun and entertaining, but they also can be inspirational and informative. This ongoing collaboration with Rovio and Angry Birds is an exciting way to get people engaged with NASA’s missions of exploration and discovery, and get students energized about future careers in science and technology.”
Aboard the International Space Station, Flight Engineer Don Pettit of NASA created a video using Angry Birds Space to explain how physics works in space, including demonstrating trajectories in microgravity by catapulting an Angry Bird through the space station. The video was shown this week to an audience at the South by Southwest Conferences and Festivals, an annual convention of original music, independent films, and emerging technologies in Austin, Texas. It is also available on NASA’s website at http://www.nasa.gov.
“We focused on every detail in development of Angry Birds Space to build a special experience for our fans,” said Peter Vesterbacka, chief marketing officer and mighty eagle of Rovio Entertainment. “I believe we have succeeded well with the game, and we wanted to create something as unique around our launch events. NASA has been the perfect partner for our Angry Birds Space program, and we can’t wait to work with them on creating more compelling educational experiences.”