A BIG thanks to @E-Star for the awesome new logo!
It’s hard to believe that Angry Birds Nest has turned three! I wanted to celebrate by sharing a quick story of how ABN came to be, as well as thank those who helped us get here.
The Origins of ABN
It all began around May 2010 with a harmless addiction that my then two-year-old son and I had to — you guessed it — Angry Birds. As we progressed through the game our addiction only increased and we — alright I — set our sights on 3-starring every level and finding all those yummy Golden Eggs. At the time there was really no single source of Angry Birds information and walkthroughs, so to get the help I needed to impress my son I had to bounce all over the web. My goals to begin with were simple: offer a one stop shop of Angry Birds information, guides and walkthroughs.
I could have simply starting building ABN, but I really wanted to go about things the right way, so I sought Rovio’s blessing. I emailed them asking if they would allow me to create a fan site. In the email I included some examples of my past work, a bit about my background, and most importantly, a picture of my son wearing an Angry Birds shirt at Disneyland (marketing at its finest!).
The email address I sent my query to was generic, so I honestly never expected a reply. Fortunately, to my surprise I actually received a nice response from Peter Vesterbacka, Rovio’s CMO and Mighty Eagle (@pvesterbacka). He basically said, “Go for it”. A week or so later I sent him mockups of the first iteration of AngryBirdsNest, and a week or two after that, it was live. The screenshot below is one of the first iterations of ABN.
We’ve come along way!
Now a Thriving Community
In the three years since we first launched we’ve obviously grown quite a bit. While we are still a site of fans — and always will be — we are most definitely a full-fledged community (and one of the largest gaming communities on the web). We now cover all of Rovio’s games and offer a lot of really cool features, including: leaderboards, challenges, ranking, badges, and so on. We are a true interactive gaming community.
A Heartfelt Thanks
Before I go on I want to take a moment to thank all of you. Quite often we thank Rovio for all the support they’ve shown us over the years, but it’s rare for us to thank the entire community. That’s actually sort of odd, because without all of you the site would be rather boring. In addition, I also want to thank our loyal admins and moderators who have stuck with us through thick and thin. Each admin has a fun bio on our team page, but let’s call them out in order of appearance.
Thanks to you all! Thanks to all you loyal flingers! And thanks again to Rovio.
With the story now told I thought it would be fun to finish off this article with a short Q&A between myself and my alter ego @birdleader (BL).
BL: How did you first come across Angry Birds? How much do you/did you play it?
Simple. One day I was browsing the Apple App Store looking for some family-friendly games that my son and I could play together. I noticed this silly looking icon with a bird on it and thought I’d give it a go. We loved the gameplay and fell in love with the characters. Angry Birds was a game my two year old son could play easily on his own, but also had a level of difficulty that I enjoyed. The Golden Eggs were also an ingenious touch, as they added an additional layer of depth that required the player to actively seek answers. This increased engagement and when found offered a satisfying reward. Now my 3-year old daughter is playing the game, so you know Angry Birds is truely something unique.
BL: For all the top players on ABN, do you notice any common trends? gender, age, location? Or are they from all walks of life and interests?
You would think so, but Angry Birds really transcends generations and borders. Some of our most dedicated players are a bit older and have established careers: doctors, lawyers, you name it. That is not to say we don’t see a ton of amazing players who are a younger. We do! All of us share a common bond and it shows on The Nest. Our moderators work very hard to maintain a family-friendly site that is open to people of all ages and backgrounds. We also strive to keep the site accessible to both seasoned Angry Birds players and newcomers alike.
BL: How do you ensure real scores on ABN, where Game Center is so full of cheats?
At the time of writing we have about 2.2 million scores entered on Angry Birds Nest — all of which were entered by hand. The power of our site is we have the ability to build in many checks and balances that more automated leaderboard systems can’t. Users also have the ability to flag scores that looks suspicious. The power of community enforcement can’t be underestimated. It doesn’t hurt that many of the best players from around the world frequent Angry Birds Nest and have their scores entered. This allows us to set benchmarks and more easily compare scores across individual levels. No system is perfect, but we work very hard to keep a level playing field.
Takin’ it Back to the Old School
- The very first post on ABN still lives! It was actually our Complete Golden Eggs Guide.
- Our first set of freebies came from Rovio. Remember these wallpapers?
- The first “update” post was when Angry Birds v1.4 was released.
Below is an interview with Peter Vesterbacka from way back in August 2010. It’s a long interview, but it’s a neat retrospective on how far things have come. He talks about the Mighty Eagle, IAPs, Mario, toys, and much more.